On May 19th, 2018, the British Royal Family will be welcoming a new member in the form of the glamorous Californian actress, Ms. Meghan Markle, as she marries our very own loveable ginger, Prince Harry. The future Duchess has a lot to look forward to marrying the 6th in line to the throne, but also has the major task of transitioning from the life of a celebrity actress to a royal bride. Having grown up and worked in Hollywood, Meghan is used to the spotlight, but now has to learn to abide by the strict rules that come as part of the package of being the wife of a Prince, and promoting the Monarchy and Royal Family, rather than herself. Meghan has a number of unique traits that could make her an asset to the monarchy, however as somebody who once said regarding her relationship with the Prince: “I’m still the same person that I am, and I’ve never defined myself by my relationship”, will she struggle adapting to this new life where a lot of her role is defined by others?
The first major change Meghan has had to make is taking a step away from her acting career to pursue her new life but has claimed that she will be focusing on her humanitarian work instead. Ms. Markle studied theatre at university but determined not to be a cliché girl from LA who wanted to become an actress changed her degree to study a double major in theatre and international relations. This political understanding Meghan has gained will hopefully help her in her adjustment to Royal life, and I believe will help her public image and lead to greater acceptance. She is by no means a total air-head with more style than substance; she is a woman who has a lot to offer and wants to be taken seriously, so although she is stepping out of the Hollywood limelight, with any luck Meghan will be making real changes in the world. Also, with her acting background, she should feel well prepared for the role of a lifetime she is about to undertake!
Meghan’s activist and humanitarian work makes her the perfect match for Prince Harry. At the age of 11, Meghan started making waves for gender equality after persuading a national brand to change their advertising campaign to remove a negative stereotype which implied women belonged in the kitchen. She gained support in this from First Lady, Hilary Clinton; news presenter, Linda Ellerbee; and lawyer, Gloria Allred. This clearly shows that even from a young age Meghan was an ambitious individual who knows her voice and is determined to be heard. This sort of characteristic activism should fit in well with the steps the monarchy has recently taken to provide greater gender equality, including the Succession to the Throne Act (2013) which recently made Princess Charlotte of Cambridge the first woman in line to the throne not to be usurped by the birth of her younger brother.
More recently, Meghan became a UN ambassador advocating equality between genders and female empowerment. In addition to this, Meghan is part of the international charity organisation ‘One Young World’ and has given speeches about gender equality and modern-day slavery. As well as this, the future Duchess is a global ambassador for ‘World Vision Canada’ and has travelled to India raising awareness about issues concerning women, and to Rwanda to see the impact the Clean Water Campaign is having out there. As well as brains and beauty, Meghan evidently has a big heart that wants to help others. She has already made a difference in the world, so hopefully the opportunities and resources that will be at her disposal after her marriage will only amplify this.
Meghan is a ‘commoner’ and describes herself as mixed-race with a father of British/European heritage, and an African American mother descended from the slavery movement in Georgia. Meghan may not be the first commoner to marry into the Royal Family which has become more acceptable over the years, with the likes of Kate Middleton and Camilla Parker-Bowles preceding her, but she is the first immediately biracial Royal in history which is a progressive step that the Family were much in need of taking. These factor could potentially mean Meghan invites interest from other cultures, as well as change attitudes towards the Family, and as part of an ethnically diverse Commonwealth, this can only help relations.
A fear I would have for Meghan is that Royal life may stifle her. She is clearly a woman with great ambition who knows who she is and what she wants to change in the world. Hopefully on the arm of Prince Harry who has a similar outlook on life they will prove a force for good, but the Royal Family is known for its strict rules and non-political stance, so will this hamper her efforts?
Meghan has been compared to Prince Harry’s late mother, Princess Diana. This could either be a positive or a negative though. On the one hand, Diana was a much beloved Royal by the public who reached out to communities and forced the Royal Family to change with the times. I can very much see Meghan being a similar breath of fresh air, coming from a commoner background with a different ethnicity and culture, but as someone who claims she doesn’t define herself by her relationship, could this lifestyle potentially restrain her? The former Princess of Wales became just that- former- after losing her Royal title following her divorce from Prince Charles. Diana was a progressive person who was stifled by the monarchy and became very unhappy; it would be a tragedy if Meghan experienced similar when she has so much potential to do good in this world. Hopefully now though, over 20 years on from Diana, the Family will have caught up enough to allow her to slot in seamlessly without being too constrained and they can have a harmonious relationship, both advancing the other effortlessly.
The effects of being a Windsor have already started to impact Meghan and the big day hasn’t even arrived yet. Meghan used to run a successful food and lifestyle blog, alongside other forms of social media; all of which had to be deleted as per Royal protocol, of course following a thank you for the support issued on her behalf. This may seem a small price to pay for the life she is entering into with the man she loves, but it is a step towards the control under which she will be placed. However, although many a modern-day person couldn’t comprehend life without a social media presence and the occasional selfie, Meghan doesn’t seem phased as she was quoted saying: “I don’t see it as giving anything up, I just see it as change. It’s a new chapter”. Probably the healthiest way you can view this sort of situation really! Not only is social media a big no-no, but there are strict rules regarding appearance, so Meghan may have to say goodbye to her classic Californian combination of flip-flops and cut-off shorts (at least in public anyway) in exchange for the smart and sophisticated style fashioned by the likes of the Duchess of Cambridge and the occasional tiara! Let’s face it though, she could wear a binbag and still look incredible.
So far Meghan seems to have been fitting in with her new family quite effortlessly, attending Royal engagements as well as being invited to spend Christmas Day with them, and has even reported that she has been welcomed in to not only the institution, but the family too. If Meghan carries on as she has begun then I see no reason why she cannot make the transition from celebrity to royal, and she definitely strikes me as the sort of person who will stand her ground against being stifled by the monarchy when it comes to matters she deems important and will use her new-found power and influence to make positive changes to the world. I think really we are not left questioning whether Meghan Markle will be good for the Royal Family, but will they be good for her?