Week One of The Royal Engagement, and we’re suffering from Meghan overkill.
Is there anything left to know?
We’ve seen her teenage holiday snaps, read the Markle family tree, met her ‘inner circle’ and found out that’s she’s ‘a true humanitarian’ who rates Gwyneth Paltrow as a terrific role model.
Harry and Meghan are in love and want us all to know about it – perfectly normal, even if granny happens to be the Queen.
The ‘stars being in alignment’: Harry and Meghan are in love and want us all to know about it
Back in the real world, the gush about the ‘stars being in alignment’ when the couple met has been met with a traditional response from the British public.
When asked by pollsters, 39% said they were pleased, while 52% were ‘indifferent’.
Most of us couldn’t care less if Ms Markle was black, white, pink or blue, whether she comes from the USA or Timbuctoo, the reality is, a posh polo player with a £13 million trust fund, a free house and a regular allowance from Dad is getting married, and the result will have no impact whatsover on how the rest of us live.
Harry has only been allowed to marry Ms Markle because there is no chance whatsoever of him claiming the British throne and throwing a spanner in the works – I guarantee that Kate will be popping out more babies, to shunt Harry even further down the line of accession.
The Prince is extremely charming and media-friendly talking about his concern for those with mental health issues, about the young people in Lethoso and Botswana struggling with the stigma of HIV.
Likewise, Meghan has been associated with worthy causes, notably as Global Ambassador for World Wide Vision, bringing clean water and educational opportunities to young women in Africa and India.
With William, Harry and Kate, Meghan will become a patron of the Royal Foundation, their personal charity, which had an income of £10 million last year and spent £4.3 million helping projects involving cyberbullying, mental health and young people.
Not a very big budget, given the wealth of those involved – overall Prince Harry is said to be worth at least £30 million and will inherit a huge sum on the death of his father.
The big question is, how do Harry and Meghan usefully spend their lives?
The most important task Ms Markle has to undertake now is a reality check
Meghan and Harry’s main task is to help reinvent the Royal Brand and it cannot involve skipping off to Africa saving elephants at every opportunity
Is it going to consist of travelling around the Commonwealth for a series of photo opportunities?
I’ve always thought the notion of ‘Global Ambassadors’ a bit dodgy – they fly into a poverty zone, kick a football around with a band of villagers, visit a hospital and make some worthy statements about the need for more cash.
The true philanthropists of the modern era, the people who really put their money where their mouths are – Bill and Melinda Gates, for example – don’t do that.
They work quietly behind the scenes, on long term projects to ensure that the poor and sick can eventually support themselves, funding research into cures for disease.
Janet Street-Porter: Week One of The Royal Engagement, and we’re suffering from Meghan overkill
Their Giving Pledge campaign has seen hundreds of the wealthiest people in the USA (like Warren Buffet and Michael Bloomberg) donate billions to charitable causes.
Too often, charity is linked to PR – pictures of Royalty, pop stars, second division actresses and reality stars cuddling starving babies makes my stomach turn.
Meghan said that on their first date they talked about ‘all the different things we wanted to do in the world- that’s what got date two in the books’.
She wants to use her ‘voice’ to raise awareness for the causes she cares about – she’s been a UN women’s advocate for political participation and leadership.
The most important task Ms Markle has to undertake now is a reality check.
She will be married (the media would be far happier if there was a crown or at the very least a tiara involved) next May in Windsor.
By then, her transformation process will be underway – baptised and confirmed as a member of the Church of England. She will become a British citizen and take the fiendishly difficult test – which on present form, she would probably fail. (Mind you, so would intellectually challenged Harry).
She’ll be the latest member of the British Royal Family, an institution facing irrelevance and gradual extinction after the death of the Queen, given the poor popularity ratings for Charles and the bland nonentity that is Prince William.
Meghan and Harry’s main task is to help reinvent the Royal Brand and it cannot involve skipping off to Africa saving elephants at every opportunity.
Harry is undoubtedly popular- he seems cheeky and smiley, allegedly smoked dope and used to get drunk, served in the army and is passionate about injured servicemen. He’s spoken frankly about depression and the grieving process.
Now, he needs to confront life closer to home than those kids in Africa.
Right now, the Royal Romance is playing like an episode of Love Island, and at this rate, series three of the Crown will see the end of the Monarchy, reduced to pomp, ceremony and balcony appearances for tourists
All over Britain, young boys and girls from troubled backgrounds, with poor education and no income are being groomed by gangs to carry drugs from one city to another.
These kids are beneath the radar, pulled into an insidious form of modern slavery from which they cannot escape.
Over the last few years, a series of trials has exposed the extent to which very young women in major cities have been groomed and treated as sex slaves by gangs of men, the vast majority of which were of Asian descent.
Meghan should be devoting her time to helping youngsters across Britain from troubled backgrounds
If Meghan cares about women, she should be devoting her time and energy, to causes like this. Princess Diana went to hospitals unannounced and hugged patients who were HIV positive. She met the homeless and rough sleepers, without any photographers in tow. Harry needs to take inspiration from her example.
The newly-weds should move out of their cosy cottage in Kensington Palace, dump his Old Etonian pals, and go and live in a normal house in Manchester or Bristol. Meghan should be shopping at Lidl not Wholefoods, and queuing for the train or the bus.
If the Pope can wash the feet of the poor, be driven around in a secondhand car, and live in a hostel rather than a palace, then why can’t Harry and his bride?
Right now, the Royal Romance is playing like an episode of Love Island, and at this rate, series three of the Crown will see the end of the Monarchy, reduced to pomp, ceremony and balcony appearances for tourists.
The couple’s first public engagement will be a trip to Nottingham on World Aids Day and a visit to a charity fair – maybe they should have combined it with a spot of house hunting. It’s so easy to shake hands, pose for selfies, and ‘meet’ people if you’re a royal – but much harder to connect with how ordinary people actually live.
The young people who no jobs, no chance of a home, and the old people shunted off to die in care homes which have been condemned as inadequate.
It’s your choice, Harry and Meghan.