The Racing Card

The Bet - What will happen to the royal family?

Sophie to split with Edward: 7-1
Sophie and Edward to emigrate to Dubai: 50-1
Monarchy to be abolished within ten years: 50-1

(Source: William Hill)

Tony Blair is a natural royalist who was enraged when Gordon Brown "let it be known" that a new Labour government would not fork out £60m for a royal yacht. He calmed down only when the Sun announced that 80 per cent of its readers also thought spending taxpayers' money on this luxury was not on.

Up until now, however, No 10 has roundly repudiated any anti-royal utterances from the troops. Yet the Sophie saga seems to have changed Blair's attitude to the monarchy. This may have something to do with the Countess of Wessex being so rude about his wife, Cherie, known privately in royal circles as "Lady Macbeth". Attacking the monarchy has now become acceptable.

But the biggest loser in the Sophie saga has been the PR industry, which is why its house magazine, PR Week, was so scathing about her. Public relations already has a bad name, and the last thing it needed was a scandal involving the royal family. As Roger Haywood, the chairman of the PR Standards Council, said: "PR is about . . . winning the public's goodwill and nothing to do with fixing or sleaze or connections."

Another loser in this scandal has been the PCC, which went to the palace to advise the royal family how to get out of the mess, and later denied that it recommended a deal with the News of the World. What on earth was the PCC doing at the palace anyway? It should be looking after punters, not countesses. Meanwhile, the bookies, having made a fortune out of the Grand National, are cashing in on all the turmoil and offering odds on almost anything to do with the monarchy.