So Archie, darling, thou shalt not go to the Highland ball after all. Picture: AP

London - Poor baby Archie. His parents, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, have decided that he is too small to travel to Balmoral and so they will not be accepting the Queen’s invitation to join her there this year.

So Archie, darling, thou shalt not go to the Highland ball after all. Thou shalt miss the drizzle and the midges and the slow glory of the green Scottish highlands rusting into the crisp embrace of autumn.

Thou shalt also miss the thunder of the guns out on the moors, as the shooting season gets into full swing and the downed game-birds rain upon the heather bam-bam-bam like some bloody apocalypse amid a howling torrent of guts and gore.

Up on the killing fields of Balmoral, if it flies it dies, if it hops it drops and if it’s brown it’s down, boom.

Well. Not quite. Not at all, really.

Yet I suspect this is how the Californian duchess imagines a gentle afternoon of grouse-shooting or deer-stalking might be like. And I wonder if it is her aversion to hunting and bloodsports that is the reason behind this surprising Scottish no show?

After all, Archie was big enough to travel to Nice to see Uncle Elton John recently.

The four-month-old was also not too teeny-weeny to fly to Ibiza for a lovely break to celebrate mummy’s birthday over the summer.

Need I add that both of those trips are much farther afield than the 500-mile trek from the Sussexes’ home in Windsor to the Queen’s Scottish castle?

Yet Balmoral is suddenly a no-go zone, for reasons that remain unclear.

Prince Harry’s excuse that his son is below some hitherto unknown age/size restriction is laughable. What is Archie, some bit of luggage they had hoped to stow in the hold of their non-private jet because they don’t do that sort of thing any more?

And anyway, what is more portable than a little bub in a basket?

On the scale of travel hassle, Baby Sussex is right up there with a yoga mat and he’s less bothersome than a kitten. After all, royal babes in arms have been travelling to and from Balmoral for decades, with no hint of trouble or stress.

Yet - and this is the real problem - Harry is now so caught up in his own righteous storm and so contemptuous of those who dare to criticise him that he no longer bothers to give reasons that might stand up to scrutiny or understanding. Instead, he just says the first thing that comes into his head and to hell with it.

"I have to fly on private jets for family security! Ninety-nine percent of my life is spent on commercial airlines! Archie is too titchy for Balmoral! Don’t do as I do, do as I say," is what he seems to be saying.

He cannot even accept that he might be in the wrong. "No one is perfect. We could all do better," he said earlier this week, launching a global project to make the tourist industry more sustainable.

No, Harry. You could do better. A lot better. Leave us out of this.

Daily Mail