An old bf (a brief brief time it was too) published a piece about Meghan Markle in Tatler this week. Tatler is the top society mag in the world and one of the oldest magazines still in existence. David’s piece (read it here: https://www.tatler.com/article/meghan-markle-mania) pretty much has to be seen as definitive for now. “One Year of Meghanomania” is a masterful thrash round the nodes of royal gossip, which manages to demonstrate in all its awful grandeur just how the toffs are handling the incursion of Hollywood into their extremely special, special safe place.
Answer? Not Well. Not well at all. I do not think that, in the English-speaking world, there is any bunch of people more sharp-tongued and cruel than the British aristocracy. Their sense of entitlement is so hard-wired, they aren’t even aware it exists. Basically if they are after you, you are the fox and they are thundering across the field on two thousand pound highly trained animals. And they have guns.
Here’s the critical set up: “Was the tiara at the centre of that tantrum already promised to Princess Eugenie for her wedding, as some believe? (Harry and Meghan, don’t forget, queue-barged their way into the first Windsor wedding of 2018.) And did the Queen veto Meghan’s plans for a sleeveless wedding dress? The rumours may be false, but not as false as the speculation Meghan was pregnant on her wedding day – ‘that’s why the dress was so baggy,’ one young woman assured me – and certainly not as false as the rumour that theirs is an IVF baby.
Here’s what is happening to her because of the jealousy: “But it’s rumours like that, and the drip, drip, drip of stories about aides leaving Meghan’s employ and servants being upset by her manner, that are making their lives such a misery. The Prince of Wales’ enthusiasm for his daughter-in-law is being ignored, as is Meghan’s role as the catalyst for a new warmth between Harry and his father. People who’ve lunched with her have loved her; she’s beautiful; she’s clever; she’s made Harry happy. What’s not to like?”
Have the toffs brought her down yet? Not yet, but they’re having an effect.
“But are they happy as a couple? Harry’s circle has narrowed, and Meghan has shown how stung she’s been by letting her friends defend her in People magazine. George Clooney has stood up for her, invoking what happened to Diana, Princess of Wales as a warning. And it’s tough when her make-up chum, Daniel Martin, posts a picture of the tea she had laid out for him – avocado on toast, chocolates – and the line, ‘Thank you Meghan for being the consummate hostess this weekend and still being the #avocadotoastwhisperer’, and posh noses sniff; it’s just not on, they say – what sort of person is she having around? Meghan wants a doula; cue mockery. Even though Britain has ten times more interracial relationships than the rest of Europe, according to a study quoted by Afua Hirsch, author of Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging, some of the antipathy must be racist, as it was of the biracial President Obama. Which is hard to stomach. Some of it is anti-American, in the mocking Gwyneth Paltrow dynamic-5am-email sense. Some of it is captured in the Daily Express headline ‘Loving… but dominating’. Some of it reflects sadness at the passing of the Jack the Lad Harry, the roguish Harry, the roistering Harry, in favour of a more sober, duller version.”
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.