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Meghan: saviour of the royal family – or the ghost of Wallis Simpson? | Fashion


What’s going on with the royal family these days? Joe, London

Loads! To mark Prince Charles’ 70th birthday, the country gave him some increasingly pathetic PR. I particularly enjoyed the forelock-tugging photos that were released to prove how down to earth he is, which showed that he smiles when a servant gives him his tea in one of the 10m houses that he owns for no reason anyone can explain. My favourite part of this kind of Charles puffery is when someone claims that the man who has famously never worked, really does work terribly, terribly hard. This time that responsibility fell to Prince Harry, who described his father as “a workaholic”, to which you really can only respond, “Wow, imagine spending your life in such serious withdrawal! Poor chap!”

But Charles’ birthdays come and go. What the royal family needs is a storyline. For a long time the storyline was about Diana and the fallout thereof: the boys’ sadness, Charles’ guilt, the boys pulling away from their father, etc. Simultaneously there was Harry’s singleness and his pursuit of every blond woman in SW6. But both of those plotlines were resolved at Harry and Meghan’s wedding. Newspapers can’t just run articles saying, “Well, Charles seems fine, William seems happy, Harry seems happy. That’s all, folks!” You don’t sell any papers that way.

Happily, when it comes to royals, as anyone with a GCSE in history knows, the best storylines are the repeated ones. So let’s look at what we have here: Harry, a prince, is married to an American divorcee. Hmmm … Did someone say Schmallis Schmimpson?

You might recall that, around the wedding, it was generally agreed that Meghan nee Markle was A Good Thing. A Perfect Thing, even. So pretty – I bet frumpy Kate is jealous, crowed several actual articles. Meghan would save the royals, cheered the world’s media! Well, let’s see how things are going six months later: “Meghan Markle bombards aides with texts and gets up at 5am!” was the first shot thrown earlier this month in a widely circulated story.






The Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry leave St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle after their wedding. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA

Is this a news story or a Richard Curtis storyline, you might be thinking, about the HILARIOUS culture clash that ensues when a proactive American meets the slightly hopeless British establishment? Well, hold on to your fascinators, because we’re just getting started.

This then paved the way for this week’s shocking story: “Meghan’s aide who quit after just months ‘worked happily for Robbie Williams’”. Meghan: literally more of a nightmare than the man behind Rudebox. And finally, we got the cherry on top with the news that Harry and Meghan have opted out of an “apartment” (with 21 rooms) in Kensington Palace and will instead move into a soi-disant “cottage” in Windsor (with 35 acres).

But … why? Never fear, the storyline is already in play: “Does a froideur between Kate and Meghan explain why the Sussexes are moving to Windsor?” asked the headlines, to which the answer from various “royal insiders” was an enthusiastic YES and more so.

Meghan, we are told, is a woman who “gets what she wants”, “has an opinionated personality” and has “shaken things up”. As a result, Harry “has got very dictatorial of late”. She has “hastened the brothers to go their separate ways”. And just in case the point wasn’t made clear enough, allow the royal press to guide you to the inevitable conclusion: “It’s as if the painful history of George VI and his brother Edward VIII is being played out all over again.” Yes! Meghan is LITERALLY the ghost of Wallis Simpson, the American upstart, here not to save the monarchy but destroy it.

You really have to admire the tenacity of the press in this country to pretend the royal family are anything but a bunch of spoilt Sloanes. Let’s all just enjoy the suggestion that the bossy one in this relationship is likely to be, not Harry, the man who was raised in palaces by servants, but Meghan, the mixed-race American raised by a single mother. Honestly, ’e was Mr ’umble until that American turned up! But in a world where Charles is a “workaholic” you have to accept that some royal correspondents have grown accustomed to self-lobotomising before filing their copy.

So welcome to Britain, Meghan. We loved you and now we think you’re the worst thing that’s happened to this country since the bubonic plague. But don’t worry, when you pose in front of the hospital a few hours after giving birth in a few months’ time, we’ll love you again. Except if you look anything less than perfect and then we’ll drive you from this country with burning pitchforks.



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