What is it about the British Royal Family, anyway? Don't know, but I am hooked.
I am British, as I like to tell everyone who may or may not care. I ignore the fact that my father's side is Irish, because that does not fit into the narrative of my noble English lineage that I have traced back to my 17th great-grandfather, William Lord, b. 1440, d. 1465 – born 51 years before King Henry VIII.
I watched Charles and Diana marry in 1981. I was 12, Ronald Reagan was president, gas was $1.35 per gallon (which was considered - literally - highway robbery), and Dynasty would premier that fall, changing my name and my life. I was watching again in 1997 when Diana was in an automobile accident in Paris on August 31. I did not sleep that night, waiting for word on her condition in the hospital. I am not sure I slept again until after her funeral on September 6. I watched every minute, from people "queueing up" to sign the condolence books in London, to the boys walking behind her casket, to the long road trip to her family's estate in Althorp. I watched Princes William and Harry grow up, Prince Charles marry again (to the horse-faced woman he really loved, blah), and the amazing Queen Elizabeth II continue to show us what a monarch should be.
Harry did not have my whole heart past his mother's funeral. He was the spare, after all. William was the one who looked the most like a combination of his parents, and was the future King of England. Harry was adorable, but not crucial. I do not know, for example, if he tried to flush shoes down the "loo" like William did. I do not know if he was aware of his mother's fragile emotional state through most of her marriage to their father. William passed his mother tissues under the bathroom door. Did Harry even know his mother was unhappy? He has never said. He was the second son, and just like his Uncle Andrew before him, he spent his youth wooing women, drinking too much, and often making an ass of himself. Unlike "Randy Andy", Harry did publicly promote charities his mother favored, and the fact that he and his big brother seemed to grow up happy did much to redeem their father in the eyes of the world, but still - he was the spare, not the heir.
As a fan of American television, I have watched Suits. I saw the first season or two, and then lost interest. When it came out that the actress from the show was dating Harry, I thought it was cute. I did not think much beyond that. When the relationship carried on for over a year with frequent trips for both of them to see the other, I still did not think much of it. Speculation was rampant on what would happen if they married. I shrugged and hoped Harry was happy.
Then Monday, November 27 arrived. I had been happily shopping online since the day before Thanksgiving, making sure everyone outside my house received their gifts on time. I thought I could finish my shopping on Cyber-Monday, when everything changed.
Rachel Meghan Markle became the soon-to-be “Her Royal Highness Princess Henry of Wales”. Stop telling me she cannot be a princess. Technically, she will be a Duchess, if the Queen gives Harry the title Duke of Sussex, as expected, on his wedding day. This does not change her LEGAL TITLE, PEOPLE. Megan may officially be required to use her real first name – Rachel – but Meghan will be a real princess. Get over it.
Some are obsessed with her lineage because her mother is a black woman. I do not care. Some are obsessed because she is divorced. Never fazed me. Some are obsessed with the fact that she is an American from Los Angeles. I did not even know that, (I thought she was Canadian - that is where she lived five minutes ago). She will likely be the mother to the 7th, 8th and/or 9th heir to the throne of England, depending on how many kids they have, yet that is not what I am concerned with either.
I discovered while watching their engagement interview for the BBC that I want her to love him. I want her to make him happy. I want her to care more about the boy I have loved for over 30 years than his title, her title, the palaces, the Queen, the jewels, or even the legacy of his mother, Princess Diana. I want her to love him because he deserves it. I want her to understand the microscope he has survived under, and be his refuge. I did not realize it until I realized I was watching her micro expressions in the interview, waiting for any hint that she just wanted the Disney prize.
I will be watching when Harry marries Meghan. I will be watching, waiting and hoping they are happy. I want the same for William. So far, he seems to be just fine – and he makes very pretty babies. Diana cannot be here for her boys, but those of us who have watched and loved them all are here - and believe she is with them too. If they can do better than she did, we will all be happy for them.