Royal summits are often lavish affairs shown to us lowly peasants through photo spreads in Us Weekly and People. Cockburn was surprised therefore to learn of a clandestine meeting between three members of the Californian aristocracy in the British tabloid the Sun.

According to the newspaper, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle had a video meeting with California governor Gavin Newsom two weeks before the 2020 election. The Sun points out that Newsom was ‘under pressure to replace California senator Kamala Harris…with another black woman.’

Perhaps the purpose of the Zoom chat was innocent enough — as podcasters, Harry and Meghan are essential workers in the Golden State and deserving of the governor’s thanks. The Sun, however, was keen to point out Meghan’s political ambitions: ‘It has long been rumored Meghan wants a career in politics, with some suggesting she has even set her sights on being president.’

It’s just over a year since Meghan and Harry renounced their royal duties and fled across the Atlantic, apparently because they wanted a more private life. For any celebrity couple hoping for peace and quiet, California, with its dense population of paparazzi and its status as the global headquarters of the entertainment industry, is a natural choice. After launching a media company, the only logical step to secure further seclusion is to lobby the state’s governor to appoint you senator — everyone knows elections are for proles.

Newsom ultimately appointed Alex Padilla to replace Kamala Harris — but Cockburn thinks Meghan may be onto something. If you want to be totally unscrutinized and live a life free of consequences, there is no better job than being a California politician. You can dine indoors at French Laundry, get a blowout behind closed doors, ignore reports of sexual misconduct in your office, sleep your way up the chain of command, conceive a lovechild, stumble dick-first into a Chinese Communist party honeypot — it doesn’t matter. Public officials don’t get held to account in Cali because repercussions are for rubes.