Once upon a time, as all good fairytales start, there was a British family. There wasn't anything particularly special about them.
In fact they were distinctly average, living in an average street in an average house.
But one thing was different about them, made them feel special and was treasured by them.
It was their old Rolls-Royce. It has been in the family for a very long time - several generations - and was the apple of their eye.
It was carefully maintained and polished by Mum, Dad and even the kids, who were occasionally dragooned into lending a hand so, year by year, it was kept in running order, even though it cost an arm and a leg for spares.
It was kept well-oiled by Dad, although the oil cost more each year.
And once or twice a year it was taken out for a run and the whole family gathered to watch it pull out and join the other old crocks on the run to Brighton or a gathering of other vintage owners clubs.
But year on year it became more expensive to run and Dad's job just didn't pay enough to finance it.
But it was special to the family, so they sacrificed all their luxuries and clubbed together to keep it going.
After all, it impressed the neighbours, separated out the family from their peers - at least in their own estimation - and was a part of the history of Britain.
Somehow, this little story seems appropriate for the Queen's diamond jubilee and we offer it in that spirit.
After all, the British people keep the monarchy in just that manner.
It's impractical, unserviceable and when it gets well-oiled it costs us all a fortune.
We keep the old banger in the style it is accustomed to, cherish it and pay a fortune to keep it running.
And, boy, when we take it out for a run, all heads turn to watch.
And when the owners' club jamboree comes around, don't we all have fun watching all the other redundant old crocks gathering to be admired.
Royals from around the world were invited to Windsor castle for the last vintage rally to mark the jamboree a week or so ago and there was a fair selection of obsolete old relics on view.
A few familiar models were missing from the parasitic line-up, of course.
Hampstead resident and king without a kingdom Constantine of Greece was barred from the event because officials did not want to upset the government of the Greek republic - as if they weren't upset enough already.
Queen Sofia of Spain didn't turn up because of the ongoing diplomatic row over Gibraltar.
Queen Sofia is the great-great granddaughter of Queen Victoria and is also a first cousin of Prince Philip, a really good vintage pedigree.
Constantine is the Duke of Cambridge's godfather and Queen Sophia's brother.
Sophia's husband King Juan Carlos didn't attend either because he injured himself while shooting elephants in Botswana recently.
That, incidentally, was a safari which he was forced to apologise for after howls of rage from a population suffering a 23 per cent unemployment rate, a shrinking economy and the ominous possibility of having to go cap-in-hand to the EU for a quick bailout as the country's banks go tits-up.
However, it was suggested that everything was OK and no Spanish cash was spent because the king was freeloading as the guest of Mohamed Eyad Kayali, a Syrian-born Saudi businessman and right-hand man of Saudi Defence Minister Prince Salman.
Things unfortunate seem to run in that family because, over Easter, the king's 13-year-old grandson shot himself in the foot with a shotgun.
Like granddad, like grandson, perhaps.
Or perhaps it's fate's revenge on the king who is, after all, honorary president of the Spanish branch of the World Wildlife Fund.
But, despite all this, there were still enough shiny and expensive old models to satisfy the most ardent of royalists.
There was the King of Bahrain, for example, fresh from the triumph of having his very own Grand Prix. Now that's really appropriate, and one up from a Scalextric, isn't it?
Never mind that King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa presides over a country which has seen at least 60 deaths in democracy protests since February last year.
That's relatively petty in the context of the others on show.
The Sultan of Brunei for example. This old banger is almost not roadworthy any more.
His country is notorious as a destination for men and women who are subjected to trafficking into forced labour and forced prostitution.
Men and women from all over the developing world migrate to Brunei for domestic work and face conditions of involuntary servitude.
There are over 90,000 migrant workers, some of whom face debt bondage, non-payment of wages, passport confiscation and confinement to the home.
Brunei has never prosecuted anyone for human trafficking.
The monarch is both the chief of state and head of government and the last elections were held in March 1962. Now that sounds like a stable old vehicle, doesn't it?
Well deserving of a place as a monarchistic sideshow.
He was joined by King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud of Saudi Arabia, a relative newcomer to the old crocks' rally.
He's just completed seven years on the throne even though he's 88, but he's no slouch at the kinging game.
His country ranked the least democratic country in the Middle East in the Economist Intelligence Unit's 2010 Democracy Index and that's quite an achievement.
Even the US criticises it, listing torture and physical abuse, poor prison conditions, arbitrary arrest and incommunicado detention, denial of fair and public trials and lack of due process in the judicial system, restrictions on civil liberties such as freedoms of speech, assembly, association, movement, with severe restrictions on religious freedom.
Violence against women and a lack of equal rights for them, violations of the rights of children, trafficking in people and discrimination on the basis of gender, religion and ethnicity also figure in the log book.
But he probably gets on quite well with another perennial, King Mswati of Swaziland.
Let's just quote Action for Southern Africa director Tony Dykes during the recent gathering: "While King Mswati and his entourage of 30-plus are staying in luxury in London, two-thirds of the Swazi people are living in desperate poverty, under a state of emergency in force since 1973, with human rights denied, political parties banned and freedom of association and expression curtailed."
We've talked a lot about this parasite elsewhere in this paper over recent months, but his regime bears closer examination.
The man's a luxury addict and seems to have little or no regard for the people of his poverty-ridden and insanely discriminatory country.
While his entourage is cosily ensconced in the Savoy in London, where room prices start at £400 a night, his subjects aren't so cosy at all.
Swaziland Vigil co-ordinator Thobile Gwebu says that HIV-positive people in the country have been reduced to eating cow dung to make sure they fill their stomachs as required for Aids medicines provided by NGOs. And there's more. But let's not go there.
The details of this mob of subhuman parasites are enough to turn anyone's stomach.
It's enough to say that no decent person could bear to share a vintage rally with this tatty ensemble.
Our domestic variety may not be quite as visibly debauched as her oppos from elsewhere, but take a quick look at the poverty around this country.
Have a butchers at the disabled being deprived of benefits, the pensioners making a choice between heating and eating, unemployed claimants having their benefits capped.
Then consider Elizabeth II, her multiple castles and palaces, her seemingly endless family lunching off the public purse and her claimed £310 million of private wealth.
Then we can turn our attention to finding a republican pooper-scooper big enough to clear the lot of them off the pavements and into the dustbin where they all belong.
And how did the fairytale end, I hear you ask?
Oh, that's simple. The family finally got tired of keeping the old banger going and flogged it to a museum.
They were miles better off without it, Dad and Mum's wages went a lot further and they lived happily ever after.