Meghan Markle and the Royals

Prince Harry’s intended, Meghan Markle, clearly has a complicated family. By royal tradition Meghan’s father will walk her down the aisle. Prince Harry has not yet met Mr. Markle. Hmmm…. suggestive of something, since the couple has been together for a long time.  Meghan has fought for her mother to have a role in the ceremony, which is new. Meghan’s mother — long divorced from Mr. Markle — will ride with her daughter to the wedding. Meghan’s estranged half-brother has apparently written Harry a letter telling him to call off the wedding, that Meghan isn’t who the Prince thinks she is. How dramatic.

Part of the mystique surrounding the royal family, I suspect, is the myth of perfection.  Have you ever seen a royal toddler throw a hissy fit in the presence of the Queen, like anyone else’s kid might do? Until Princess Diana, did we ever hear open discussion of royal infidelity? Maybe — I’m not enough of an historian to know. But it seems to me they all did better at pretending all was fine and ignoring the presence of hangers-on who floated around intimating an intimacy that may or may not have been true. Have we ever seen the Queen bat away Prince Philips’s hand in a gesture of royal annoyance, as we saw with Melania and Donald? In all the years the Queen and Philip have been married, I don’t ever remember a hint of boredom or irritation, no public sign of the normal variations in a long marriage.

Meghan’s parents are divorced, and apparently the half-brother didn’t get an invite to the wedding. No one’s pretending here, and perhaps that’s part of the attraction for Prince Harry, who’s so far down the line of succession it doesn’t really matter.

I admired Princess Diana, and thought Charles was a jerk for bringing this very young woman into a marriage when he really loved Camilla and had no intention of ending his relationship with her. Whatever Diana did later, affairs and all, surely had root in that original sin against the promise of marital fidelity. Diana was a wonderful mother, and an advocate for human rights. She also brought a stiff dose of reality to the royals, a tradition that Meghan Markle can surely continue.

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