Magazine article The Spectator

The Trouble with Miss Markle

Magazine article The Spectator

The Trouble with Miss Markle

Article excerpt

Is Prince Harry's fiancée really such good news?

'The thing is,' said my friend, after the broadcast of the engagement interview with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, 'you can't imagine actually bowing or curtseying to her, can you?' That is pretty well the crux of the engagement issue: can you see yourself doing either in the case of the newest prospective member of the Windsor family? Personally, I would curtsey to the Queen and I have done to Prince Philip; I would draw the line at Camilla, and I wouldn't dream of curtseying to Meghan.

My friend was in fact A.N. Wilson, biographer of, inter alia, Queen Victoria. It was a blessed relief to talk to someone who wasn't swimming with the tide of inutterable drivel that's been spoken and written about the engagement since it happened. 'It was like being in a bloody Hollywood movie,' I said. 'Yes,' Mr Wilson said. 'A very bad one.' His view, one that I heartily subscribe to, is that in happier days, the royals would find their marriage partners from a pool of about 150 people, most of them relations of Queen Victoria. Chosen by their parents.

The more I think about it, the more I reckon we are, in fact, in the middle of a really bad version of Love Actually, only with Meghan a bit more of a Julia Roberts figure: same dewy look, same lips, same borderline goofiness cut with inner steel and an adorably wonky nose.

The improbable union of an American actress with British royalty has, in fact, a horrible congruity to it. Ever since Princess Diana, royalty has elided with celebrity; with Meghan Markle, we're now in Princess-theme territory. It's like that grisly Disney film Enchanted, where fairytale princess meets contemporary America: you've got all the trappings of monarchy only with white teeth, a glossy manicure and a Hollywood accent. Oh, plus the corgis. Meghan got on well with them, apparently.

Anyway. The tide of drivel that has greeted her arrival among the royal family does need unpicking, and you can select pretty well any pundit from the commentariat as a case in point; their views are identical, though some columns are prefaced with the face-saving formula: 'as an instinctive Republican...'

First off, Meghan Markle's ethnicity hardly seems relevant. Her mother is African-American. …

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