A friend and I have been in a year-long discussion about the cable tv actress who has been elevated to Duchess-hood by marrying Harry Windsor. Megan Markle, from a broken, mixed-race family barely this side of trailer trash is notable for wanting to heal the world while wearing millions of pounds worth of couture. She is backed by the mixed-race aristocrats of the entertainment industry, and is correctly thought of as being the missing link/image that will carry the Royal Family and the largely black Commonwealth into the future. Thatsa lot of weight on one slim, toned, and decidedly pretty back.
A weight she seems capable of carrying. Dubbed Tungsten by Prince Charles, her compassionate yet delighted yet modest smile seems permanently fixed, without a hint of strain. She is emotionally labile, like Diana, but in contrast, her knowledge of herself appears to be deep; it also seems to have been absorbed from Gray’s Anatomy. Don’t mock, why else is that show the longest running evening soap on tv? Because it shows people (women) how to feel, and how to talk about their feelings. She seems to have won the first skirmish against the vicious largely queeny gay crowd that makes Buck House run on time. I find that impressive. Less impressive however is her insistence that there be more people of color teaching at universities (in fact the proportion of people of color teaching and the population of people of color in Britain is almost directly equivalent) and that they will raise their child gender-neutral, which is fine, I guess but worryingly batty. And that we peons should stop consuming so much, recycle and scale down our traveling. Ignore the fact that I spent $750,000 on clothing, my Hollywood friends gave me a $500,000 baby shower and we burned up many millions on travel last year.
My friend, English by descent, with a former Prime Minister in her background has a sharper interest in Sussex’s ascent and behavior. Her back is up. She suspects Sussex is a fraud interested only in self-glorification. And that this is not the point of the British monarchy. The point of the royals is to represent British culture and democracy. Not to prance around in $50,000 dresses smiling like you are a combination of Mother Teresa and Princess Diana and Julia Roberts in a Dior commercial.
I spent seven years as an occasional royal reporter in London. It was the price of admission for a woman at Time Inc., at the time, and for a while, it was pretty interesting. I met some of them, had lunch with a lady-in-waiting or two, went to the balls and Ascot and Cartier Polo and so eternally on, and I assure you there is nothing Hollywood about the family or its court. While every generation fields its Megan, its Margaret, or its Wallace Simpson, mostly the Windsors look like horses, dress like country-folk, and are never ever brainiacs. They are the most serviceable people alive. They survive by representing not the flashy, but the ordinary, the hurting, the weak. Their days are scheduled within an inch of their lives way past the time most of us have retired, and less than 10% of those occasions are opportunities to dress up. They survive through practicing discipline and restraint and humility that at least, appears genuine. Over the decades I’ve watched them, the glamour-puss is eventually relegated to the status of family embarrassment.
Catherine, in sharp contrast to Megan and despite her considerable beauty conforms to this virtuous path. She will certainly end her life as admired as the current Queen. It would behoove Miss Megan to sit at her feet. It is after all, her assigned role.