THE respect for the Queen and senior members of her family is such that district and parish councillors automatically fly the Union flag on Royal birthdays.
It is called civic pride. Yet the fact that a civil servant has sent out an official reminder ordering councils to do their duty on February 19 when the now disgraced Duke of York turns 60 is both crass and insensitive.
Not only does it further embarrass Her Majesty as gun salutes take place in York to mark the 68th anniversary of her accession, but such an order comes at a time when Prince Andrew remains mired in scandal over lurid links with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
Such an ill-timed and ill-judged intervention – even distraction – also flies in the face of the decision to strip Prince Andrew of his Royal responsibilities until the Epstein scandal is resolved. The claims are that serious. And until that time, the wisdom of individual councils should take precedence over protocol.