Meghan Markle Doesn’t Need the Royals — She Has America
Last week, Meghan Markle shook the British Royal Family with a bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey, in which she described enduring racism within the royal family.
As a confident, self-assured and highly articulate woman, Markle was always going to find it hard to fit into the stodgy, conservative and uber-conformist culture of the royals. It’s no surprise that no love is lost between the two parties.
Although Meghan’s charges of racism against select members of the family are believable, the reason they disliked her is likely not due to her being bi-racial but rather her being American.
I lived for 11 years in Great Britain. Six of my nine children were born there. I ran a successful and renowned student organization in Oxford, and I know how many of the British students viewed me: They liked me as a person, but as an American, they found me loud, brash, moving too quickly and too ready to share my emotions.
We forget what an amazing culture clash there is between the United Kingdom and the United States, two countries separated — as George Bernard Shaw said — by a common language.
My own advice to Meghan is this: You don’t need them. You have the love and support of your husband. You live in beautiful California. So what if baby Archie doesn’t have a title? You yourself said the “firm” is stifling. So why burden him with the suffocating straightjacket of illusionary royal titles anyway?
Everything you’ve achieved as a professional and as an actress, Meghan, you’ve achieved on your own. We Americans believe in a meritocracy, where people are judged by their talent, effort and character. We reject the aristocracy of the British, where many people are judged by their birth. That’s why we sent King George III packing a quarter of a millennium ago when he had the insolence to try and tax our tea.
Like Meghan, we Americans have a strange love-hate relationship with British royals that is positively bizarre. When Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge came to New York in December 2014, they were roundly celebrated.
But because I’m an American, I don’t see them as any more special than the next person. In fact, that’s the very essence of being an American: a detestation of the divine right of kings, a revulsion at the idea that any man or woman is born superior to their fellows. President Biden sits in his chair because he earned it. Prince William, for all his decency, sits there because he was born into it.
Which begs the question: why are Americans — for all our history — so fascinated with this stuff? Why do royal visits dominate New York, which spent much of the war under royalist occupation?
WHY ARE AMERICANS — FOR ALL OUR HISTORY — SO FASCINATED WITH THIS STUFF?
I don’t quite know the answer. Is it a human need to deify humanity? Is it that in an increasingly godless age, we all require objects of worship, or perhaps it has something to do merely with celebrity. The royal family is famous. Or is it that in an age of flimsy and ephemeral novelty, we have nostalgia for something old, unbroken and ancient?
If I had to guess, I would say it’s something entirely different. The underlying attraction to royalty is the human desire for an effortless life, where all things are magical and where all beauty is innate. A meritocracy has its own rewards. It allows ordinary people to become extraordinary, but it always involves hard work: the entrepreneur who must burn the midnight oil to build his business; the rising politician who must travel around the country begging rich people for money to make his candidacy viable.
But then there are people who are all those things — rich, beautiful, wonderful — without any effort at all. They are angels who live among us. They are magical. And Disney, in giving us things like princesses and “enchanted forests” and “Neverland,” where no boys grow old, tapped into our sense of weariness at the constant struggle that life demands and gave us an escape.
Royalty is fantasy in the flesh. An impossible, effortless, wealthy, magical existence that seemingly requires no effort or struggle. I get it. And I’m drawn to that world as well.
But I would take an American hell of blood, sweat and tears over a royal heaven of effortless beauty, prosperity and success. Because the only thing really worthwhile about heaven is that it’s a place we have earned rather than it being handed to us on some magical platter.
So Meghan, let it be enough that Americans admire and appreciate you — an appreciation that is not given but earned. So enjoy your beautiful family and be happy that you’re an American who rejected the divine right of kings centuries ago, even as you married a prince whose real specialness is that he is a loving father and a great dad.
God bless you.