We are a few weeks away from Prince Harry's wedding to Meghan Markle and I just heard the news that the British are not exactly overjoyed about Diana's second son marrying an American.
I get it. The last time a British royal married an American divorcée, things got discombobulated, throne-wise. Edward VIII was confined to a life of pugs, pins, and pained smiles.
But Harry is sixth in line and as likely to wear the crown as Sonny Purdue is to occupy the Oval Office.
Royal biographer Andrew Morton says that although Markle is also an American divorcée, that is where the similarities end. "Wallis Simpson and Meghan Markle are bookends to an era," says Morton.
Also, what's not to love about Meghan? She's an actress, which in this country is a kind of royalty. She is accustomed to the public eye. Her genetic profile is more diverse than any other member of the royal family. And she is reportedly as down to earth and relatable as her adorable future husband.
Plus, she happens to be a sorority sister of mine.
Not that we've ever met. In fact I've never met any member of royalty. But I did come close.
My husband and I were in London. This was back in 1994 when stuffy John Major held power, Kate Moss adorned the walls of every Tube tunnel, and the whole city was still vomiting in its mouth over Prince Charles's desire to be Camilla's tampon. My husband and I heard about an evening horse parade to be held outside of St. James's Palace, and in the hopes of a little pageantry, we walked to the Queen's stables and ponied up ten pounds each for nice seats.
We thought this would be like going to a rodeo.
It was cool out, so we bundled up in our matching Chicago Cubs sweatshirts, grabbed some fish and chips to go from a street vendor, and made our way toward the grandstands. Our first inkling that there would be no rodeo clowns came when we noticed that everyone around us was dressed in gowns and tuxedos with tails. And no one was carrying their dinner in a plastic bag.
I wanted to skip the parade and go eat our take-out on a quiet park bench but my husband chided me for being self-conscious. "They'll just think we're stupid Americans," he said. "They'll be right," I snapped back. As we squeezed our way through the grandstand, clutching our stinky fish and chips, I sheepishly muttered lame excuses like, "just off the plane," to no one in particular. The Brits are very polite. No one sneered. They just looked past us. Through us.
When we finally made it to our seats, my husband eagerly unwrapped the greasy newspaper-wrapped fish. It was still piping hot and its smell really drew more attention than I would have liked, but he was hungry and there is no stopping him when his stomach is empty.
As the horses began clomping into sight, the loudspeaker announced the presence of His Royal Highness, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. Not ten seats away, a tall lanky man wearing a military uniform rose to wave. As the Prince scanned the crowd, his eyes fell on my husband who was shoving a giant piece of fish into his mouth with his fingers. One of Prince Philip's famous eyebrows shot up while the other went down. His gaze intensified until my husband stopped chewing, swallowed his cod hard, and tucked away the rest of his dinner between his feet. The man sitting next to my husband leaned over and said... nothing. Like the Prince, he just looked at my husband and arched one eyebrow. Our humiliation was complete.
So my advice to my Kappa sister is this: "Dear Meaghan. You will be a wonderful princess if you remember that you serve at the behest of the the people of Great Britain. Put yourself into their shoes as much as you can. If you take a lover, make him or her sign a non-disclosure. And when, during the endless pomp and circumstance you will endure until your dying day, your stomach grows hungry, I suggest a discreet handful of shelled pistachios.
Photo of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle by Alexi Lubomirski.
INVITATION LOST IN THE MAIL?
If you aren't among the 800 invited to the May 19 wedding at St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle, take a gander through my shop instead. Click on photos for shopping information.