Grant Woodward: Sorry your Majesty, you can’t choose your family

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The Queen is the living embodiment of dignified service and quiet restraint – it’s just a shame the rest of them couldn’t have followed her example.

WHOEVER you are, getting to 90 is a pretty decent innings. A milestone well worth celebrating.

Of course, it’s a heck of a lot easier to get that far if you haven’t had to hold down a nine to five job for half your life.

But hey, it would be churlish to level that charge against the Queen on the day she becomes a nonogenarian.

Although, it did make me chuckle that the BBC website published a piece looking at what secrets she could impart when it comes to living a long life.

Um, be born into royalty perhaps? Live in a palace?

Still, you don’t have to be a barmy union jack-waving Royalist to admire Her Maj for the way she’s stuck to the task down the decades.

She’s been a constant in our lives and a source of calm reassurance – despite getting it badly wrong in the aftermath of Diana’s death.

Far from absence making the heart grow stronger, it seems to me we’ve come to like the Queen more the older she’s become.

As everything else seems to change in the blink of an eye, she just keeps on keeping on.

She’s actually a pretty good role model when you come to think of it. She genuinely seems to love her country and there’s a hefty chunk of self-sacrifice in the old girl.

I just wish – and I bet she does too – that more of her children and grandchildren could have followed her example.

And that, sadly, is where a lot of Liz’s hard work down the years comes undone.

She got married in 1947, in the midst of post-war austerity, so collected rationing coupons to pay for the materials from which her wedding dress was made.

Contrast that with the antics of Princess Beatrice, say, who left her £20,000 job working for a film company but despite having no personal income has got two homes – one of which was given a £250,000 taxpayer-funded makeover – and went on 11 money-no-object holidays in less than six months.

Her father, Prince Andrew, attracts scandal like Nicola Sturgeon attracts men with a Jimmy Krankie fetish.

He’s been forced to deny claims he sexually abused a 17-year-old who was loaned out by his pal, convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

There were the meetings with Colonel Gaddafi’s son. The holiday paid for by a convicted gun smuggler. The £100,000 private jet for a trip to the US. The nickname “Air Miles Andy” due to a fondness for using helicopters for journeys that would use half a tank of petrol.

His “job” as a “trade ambassador” has cost us taxpayers more than £15m in travel expenses and police protection.

And the last we heard from him he was reportedly ramming open the electric gates at Windsor Great Park with his Range Rover to avoid going a mile out of his way.

The gates were put out of action and his £80,000 car ended up with a £5,000 repair bill. You can guess who’ll cop for that.

Kate and William aren’t exactly covering themselves in glory either. Their trip to India was essentially an extended holiday. Kate’s wardrobe cost £35,000 and she took her hairdresser, personal assistant and stylist along for the ride.

Perhaps that explains why on the same day George Osborne announced more cuts to public services he told parliament he was giving more money to the monarchy.

The Queen’s annual grant is set to rise to a shade under £43m in 2016/17 – and that’s still only a small part of the estimated £334m annual cost of the monarchy, which critics claim is well beyond their needs.

I’m not sure. The way Kate and Beatrice are carrying on, they might need every penny.

It all makes me feel a bit sorry for dear old Lizzie. Her example of dignified service and quiet restraint isn’t one that’s being followed by too many of her nearest and dearest.

And maybe that’s reason enough to wish her well today. Because when she does finally go, a lot of lingering respect for the Royals will go with her.

Cam’s a comic star in waiting

WHEN David Cameron quits politics, I do hope he moves into comedy. He had me in stitches with his defence of “aspiration and wealth-creation” over this business about his £200,000 from dad’s offshore account.

The PM declared that these are “not dirty words” and that millions of people strive to better their lot in order to do something for the next generation.

I agree 100 per cent. Every one of us wants to get on and make a better life for ourselves and our children. The only drawback is that David Cameron and his Government aren’t helping us do it.

Zero hour contracts abound and the Tory-sponsored housing bubble means children from ordinary families are unlikely to even be able to afford their own home.

Social mobility has ground to a halt. Just last week a study found that graduates from richer families earn significantly more 10 years after leaving university than poorer students who study for the same degree at the same institution.

David Cameron’s parents paid his way through Eton and he got his first job at Conservative Central Office after a mystery Buckingham Palace caller put in a good word for him.

Next he landed a plum £90,000 job at Carlton Television because his girlfriend’s mum was mates with the chairman.

David Cameron is proof aspiration can get you a long way – just as long as the dice are stacked in your favour.

Hey celebs, please stop dying on us

DAVID Bowie was bad enough. Then it was Alan Rickman, closely followed by Terry Wogan, Paul Daniels, Ronnie Corbett and now Victoria Wood.

Some of those may not be in the right order, because to be honest I’m beginning to lose track.

What is it with all these big names dying on us? It’s like every cherished celeb from my childhood (and Paul Daniels) is being wiped away in one fell swoop.

Double the number of star names have died in the first three months of this year compared to 2015 – apparently because of the boom in the number of them born in the 1950s.

Either way, the demise of Wogan, Corbett, Daniels and now Wood has certainly made the world of light entertainment that bit darker.

At this rate, the tear-jerking section at next year’s Baftas on those who are no longer with us is in danger of taking over the whole show.

Seriously, enough now. Stop it.

Follow Grant on Tiwtter @woodwardworld.

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