‘Why I believe Meghan will be a bad royal’

When Harry met Markle: Their first encounter was on a blind date in early July, 2016. © Getty
by Rachel Johnson

A journalist, editor and television presenter who writes a column for the Mail on Sunday, she is a regular on shows such as the BBC’s Question Time and Sky’s The Pledge. She was evicted from Celebrity Big Brother in January.

Royal women are known for being beautiful, kind, and not saying much, says Rachel Johnson. Enter Meghan Markle, an American who is on her way to being the “first feminist-activist princess”…

As I’m unlikely to score an invite to the People’s Wedding in May, I can talk about the elephant in the room. I know Prince Harry spotted it too, as he went a funny colour and chewed his lip.

It was at a Royal Foundation event last week when the founding members of Britain’s hottest new band, i.e. Harry, Kate and William, were introducing the new addition to the line-up.

The Fab Four sat in their safe smart casuals in front of a bright blue backdrop burbling “making a difference together”. Headliner William said his few words, then the interviewer turned to the stunning brunette in a navy silky dress with statement epaulettes.

As a nation, we prefer royal women who don’t really speak, like the Queen

It was time to put hands together and give a massive shout out to… Meghan Markle! The new band member used her moment in the spotlight to significant, and to my mind deafening, effect. Women don’t need to “find” a voice, Meghan replied (and I got the feeling that this would be the answer, whatever the question).

Women already HAD a voice. The problem was they didn’t feel “empowered” to use it, and people (i.e. men) had to be “encouraged” to listen.

“There is no better time to shine a light on women feeling empowered, and people really helping to support them,” she said, namechecking the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements.

Wow. I’m all for women being empowered and using their voices, and people (i.e. men) “hearing” them. But this was risky.

Over here, we secretly don’t like women who speak out too loudly and often, let alone women who order other women to speak out and men to listen.

As a nation, we prefer royal women who don’t really speak, like the Queen, or the Duchess of Cambridge, as demonstrated by that No 1 hit about a perfect girlfriend with the lyric “you say it best when you say nothing at all”.

Here’s the New Deal then: instead of getting a silent Stepford wife, we are welcoming an American woman brimming with beauty and brains and beans who is going to make women’s rights her own personal mission.

The Royal Foundation divvies things up: Harry is armed forces, Kate is young people and mental health, and William is conservation. Meghan — mark my words — will be banging the drum for wimmin. We will have our first feminist-activist princess. Which could be fine, but equally it could end up with tensions in the band — and royalty is a far harder show to keep on the road than rock ’n’ roll.

Meghan would do well to remember she is becoming a member of a constitutional hierarchy, which depends on everyone knowing their exact place in the pecking order, and toeing endless invisible lines.

In theory, the Royal Wives don’t do politics: they accept posies from little girls, they produce heirs and spares, they don’t go around using their romantic entrées into the Firm as a platform to lobby for lasting and much-needed change in the patriarchal power structures of society — in a country they haven’t even lived in for more than a few months.

It just isn’t done… or at least it hasn’t been done, yet.

Meghan even dismissed her own nuptials as something to get out of the way before her real work begins. Harry muttered “Wedding first, eh” but his dynamic fiancée had already powered on about “hitting the ground running”.

The Windsor wedding will team an English Prince with an American Ms in a culture clash with the potential for discordance in the months and years ahead.

Popcorn, please (and maybe some earplugs too).

This article was originally published by The Mail on Sunday. You can find the original article under Become An Expert.

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Word Watch

People’s Wedding
Prince Harry will marry Meghan Markle on May 19 at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle.
Royal Foundation
Officially “The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry”, this is a charity set up by the three young royals in 2009. It includes the “Heads Together” campaign on mental health, and the Invictus Games for wounded veterans.
Decorative shoulder flaps.
A hashtag which gained prominence after accusations of sexual assault against film producer Harvey Weinstein were made public last year. It encourages people to share personal stories of harassment and abuse.
Time’s Up
A movement founded by Hollywood celebrities in January, inspired by #MeToo. It includes a legal defence fund for victims of sexual harassment in all industries.
No 1 hit
“When You Say Nothing At All” was a cover by Ronan Keating. It reached the top of UK charts in August 1999.
The Stepford Wives is a 1972 novel about seemingly perfect housewives. It was adapted into a film.
The Firm
A nickname for the royal family.

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