The Duke and Duchess of Sussex appear to be learning the hard way that Hollywood only defers to real institutions.
There has always been a grudging respect in California for the royals. Not just, as Harry and Meghan might have thought, because they have fancy titles and wear tiaras, but because they have a formal, constitutional role that transcends mere celebrity.
The Americans may not have a class system as such, but in Los Angeles, as with the rest of the United States, there is a hierarchy of fame and fortune. Those at the top of the tree tend to be the ones who walk the walk and talk the talk. Being superficially famous only gets you so far before people start asking: what is the point of you?
So, within days of being roasted by South Park as a “dumb prince and his stupid wife”, the Sussexes announced that their daughter “Princess Lilibet” had been christened in LA last week – in the process reaffirming their royalness, despite spending recent months trashing the institution to which their titles belong.
Yet as the satirical cartoon illustrated to such devastating effect, global audiences have a knack for quickly seeing through any attempts by Harry and Meghan to enjoy all the privileges of royal life without taking the responsibilities that come along with it.
What has been most striking since their move to the US is how inward-looking they have been in a land that values the promotion of hope and opportunity.
They spoke in their Megxit statement about carving out “a progressive new role” that was intended to put them on a par with the likes of the Gateses and the Obamas – and yet much of what we have heard from the couple so far has been self-serving rather than in the service of others.
They could therefore do worse than attending the Coronation, if only to show Tinseltown that they still have a part to play in British history rather than acting out in a way that has become as predictable as a script for The Crown.