EVERY once in a while, I forget we have a Royal Family.

It’s surprisingly easy.

It’s not easy to forget they’re there, of course.

Every detail of their lives is splashed over screens, beamed into living rooms and dropped on the breakfast table with the paper – whether or not we care.

Only this week I covered a story about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle buying an £11 million Santa Barbara home.

It was said to have nine bedrooms, a spa, a gym, a tennis court, a games room, a home theatre, and a swimming pool. Not a bad place to see out a pandemic.

Journalists often have to write stories they don’t feel personally invested in. There was a public interest in knowing how the pair are spending their cash, but I couldn’t muster much excitement myself.

Still, I did like the thought of the Sussexes, miles and miles away from Sussex, dipping their toes in a pool on some distant Californian shore.

The physical separation felt reassuring.

But writing the story brought home an important truth, even if we don’t feel like hearing it again.

The way we talk and think about the royals makes it seem as though they are our friends. We hear their gossip, follow their love lives and even get to feel like we share in their fortunes.

It’s a sham.

They’ve done a marvellous PR job on us and pulled the wool over our eyes.

We shouldn’t have a Royal Family. If anyone sat down to think about it for five minutes they’d agree.

Who voted them in? Is it really OK that the head of state sits on her throne without anyone’s backing and without proper accountability?

We should have someone we choose ourselves. Politicians aren’t popular, but at least we can vote them out or tell them when we’re not happy.

Instead, we have a remote bunch in positions of power purely because of their bloodline, leeching off the public purse from palaces and manors around the county.

Dip your toes in that.

If we should care about the Royal Family at all, it’s the injustice of the institution – not the cosy, friendly, outer lives they project.

They say the interest doesn’t make them happy. Harry and Meghan plunged the Royal Family into crisis when they announced they wanted to step back as senior royals and become financially independent.

A summit of senior royals was called by the Queen earlier this year, and our Harry sat down to discuss the matter with his grandmother, father the Prince of Wales and brother the Duke of Cambridge at Sandringham.

My invite never arrived, but from the statements they kindly put out, we almost got to feel like we were there. It was later announced the pair would no longer be working members of the monarchy. They vowed to spend most of their time in America and would no longer go by the title HRH.

They say they fled to evade the spotlight.

But it sometimes feels like the spotlight isn’t where it should be. I’d like to wrench it back from the gossip pages so the beam falls on the cold hard fact that we still have an unelected crew with a nasty past at the helm.

But how important can that be? I used to feel more strongly about it. Over time, I’ve become more accepting.

I’ve succumbed to the daze and only occasionally now do I wake in the middle of the night, grinding my teeth and seething as Prince Harry pops another coal on his sauna, or whatever.

These issues used to feel more pressing. In the 1600s, we almost got rid of the monarchy in a bloody revolution.

Things don’t feel so urgent any more – and why would we bother taking the Queen to the scaffold? We’ve all formed such a close friendship with Her Majesty, and she always says hello at Christmas. It would feel like sending your own grandmother to the guillotine.

She’s got no real power anyway – except that’s another royal myth.

Her “royal prerogative powers” – sending troops abroad, signing international treaties and small matters like that – may be exercised by the Government now, but because they have been transferred from the monarch to the Prime Minister, they don’t need Parliament’s approval. People are effectively shut out from important decisions.

And when kings, queens and other dictators around the world are brutalising their own people, and politicians who are supposed to have been elected democratically seize undue power, the royals having a tiff, or Harry and Meghan buying a house, or a swollen behemoth of a Royal Family quietly shoring up its interests behind closed doors doesn’t seem all that important.

God save the Queen.

And Harry – have another piña colada on us.