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It’s a conundrum for social experts like Debrett or the late etiquette expert Emily Post: you’re close friends with two royal princes and godfather to their sons. Which of the two do you take to your wedding, considering that if you have both, their obvious mutual dislike will be the only topic of conversation?

Of course, Hugh Grosvenor, the Duke of Westminster – for he is – has gone for the obvious option. He has invited the Prince of Wales to act as an usher at his wedding to Olivia Henson at Chester Cathedral on Friday, and it says a lot about the elegance of the event that William will be handing out the order of service and directing people to the appropriate side of the aisle. Harry understood this. He was also invited, on the grounds that he would decline because he lives far away in California.

The situation is, of course, endlessly fascinating for the rest of us, but it hardly sets a good example for humanity.

Problem solved. The lucky, lucky bride – for even the most gallant will hardly be able to fail to notice that she has made the catch of the century – will not be overshadowed on the big day. Princess Kate, another Marlborough girl, will sadly be absent due to ill health, and Meghan Markle, who, whatever one may say about her, can outshine any other woman on any stage, will not be there either. A win-win situation!

It is of course fortunate that the two brothers live on different continents and Harry on the other side of the USA, but that is starting to get boring. This wedding clearly shows that the brothers have many friends in common and also a father in common. They are united in their loss of their mother and a certain reluctance towards their stepmother who has pushed them out. Isn’t it time for a rapprochement, a diplomatic solution that will allow them to live in the same cathedral and mingle without bitterness with 400 guests in a stately home with a large garden?

The situation is of course endlessly fascinating to the rest of us, but it hardly sets a good example. Many Brits don’t care about their siblings and manage to remain polite for the sake of parents, family and mutual friends. With conflict resolution so fashionable, can’t they agree to a deal? It might mean Harry never speaks publicly about his family, William doesn’t hit him and their wives never meet, but it has to be possible.

This situation is not helping either of them. Just think of the fun they could have had with so many friends at this wedding. As for the happy event, it reminds us of the reality of birthright and our class obsession. Because no matter how we twist and turn it, that’s why we care about William and Harry in the first place.

Melanie McDonagh is a columnist for the Evening Standard

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