Marriage & Life Partners

Meghan Markle — “The Arc of Progress
Bends Toward Love”

Queen Elizabeth called 1992 an “annus horribilis” referring specifically to a fire at Windsor Castle, and more obliquely, to the bad press she and the family received after revelations about marital troubles between her son, Prince Charles, and his wife, Princess Diana. Many think that the royal family’s rigid adherence to tradition, dictating that Charles marry a young, “virginal” woman from the appropriate social class, set in motion the tragic events that followed.

After a terrible year for his gender, Prince Harry showed he was one of the good ones, and stood as an independent man in marrying Meghan Markle. The sun shone bright and high in the sky over the restored Windsor Castle, and in one day brought the Royals deftly into the forefront of 21st century, culture, politics, and public sentiment.

The first and best thing about this union was that it was a love match. By discouraging, even blatantly preventing, such unions in the past, the Royal Family was not even up to date with 20th century norms until Prince William married Kate Middleton, his college sweetheart just a few years ago. King Edward VIII was forbidden to marry his lover Wallis Simpson in 1936, famously abdicating the throne to do so, allowing his brother (Queen Elizabeth’s father) to reign in his place. Simpson was considered entirely inappropriate because she was both American and a divorcee, characteristics shared by Meghan.

Two decades later, Queen Elizabeth’s sister, Princess Margaret, was barred from marrying her great love, also divorced, though socially appropriate in all other ways. Wedded to the approved choice of husband for her, Anthony Armstrong-Jones, she eventually divorced and some see Princess Margaret’s unhappy life, marked by excessive drinking, partying, and lack of ambition as a result of her heartbreak.

And everyone knows the true story behind Charles and Diana. Though he was in love with Camilla (whom he finally was allowed to marry in the end), Charles was directed to marry Diana, whom he had met with on only 13 occasions before the grand royal wedding. A shy girl who had just turned 20 when they married, Diana had not fully formed as a person. She also had little concept of the life that she was entering into, including the fact that her husband Charles would continue to love Camilla throughout.

The crumbling of that marriage, followed breathlessly by the public, fanned by press and paparazzi coverage, led ultimately to Princess Diana’s tragic death in Paris in August 1997. Those events, poignantly chronicled in the 2006 film “The Queen,” starring Helen Mirren, almost destroyed the monarchy.

In that film, the Queen is shown to be stubbornly unable to empathize with the public sentiment about Diana, the “people’s Princess.” Much of Diana’s popularity was due to her attempts to live as a modern woman, one who got into the “weeds” by visiting AIDS patients and war zones, considered at the time to be almost equally dangerous. The Royals, whose sense of tradition had almost eclipsed everything else about them, were hopelessly out of step.

Enter Meghan Markle, whose arrival on the scene has blasted almost every tradition of Royal marriages. In addition to her status as a divorced American, she is an actress, and she is biracial. Crucially, the wedding did not understate her heritage, it celebrated it. In contrast to the stuffy and pageantry-heavy occasions that Royals have always favored, this one was marked by a joyous  spirit of love.

Join the conversation

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • Richelle Jones May 24, 2018 at 10:25 am

    BRILLIANT perspective, Cecilia Ford, PhD… thank you for sharing! Wishing you EXTRAORDINARILY EPIC SUCCESS!
    Richelle D Jones, Life Coach