When Harry Met Meghan (II)

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Are you sick the British Royal Family, yet?  Yeah, me too, but I’m such a hopeless monarchist that I can’t help myself.  Here are a couple of things that may have just gotten lost in the ocean of wall-to-wall-to-wall -to-floor-to-ceiling Royal Wedding media coverage we’ve all been enduring.  If you haven’t heard these before, go to bed smarter than when you woke up.  If you have heard them, turn off the TV — you’re ODing on purple pageantry.

1 — Just because you marry a prince, you don’t automatically become a princess.  The Brits are very strict about this kind of thing.  For example, Diana (Harry’s mom) was Diana, Princess of Wales and her granddaughter (William’s daughter) is Princess Charlotte.  Notice the difference?  In the British Royal Family, the only way to be a real princess is to be born that way, so there’s a subtle difference in title if you merely marry into it.  Charlotte’s title comes before her name because she is a princess by birth; whereas, Diana’s title came after her name because it was only an honorific.  Meghan Markle isn’t even going to get that close.  After the wedding, she will become Her Royal Highness, Duchess of Something-or-other (probably Sussex) — not a princess, at all.  In fact, even the girl who will be queen, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge isn’t actually a princess.

2 — Meghan Markle might be marrying into one of the richest families in the world, but she’s never going to see any of that money.  In fact, by royal standards, Harry and Meghan will be living very low on the totem pole, indeed.  This was one of the chief complains that Sarah Ferguson (Fergie) had when she was married to Prince Andrew — champagne obligations on a beer budget.  It’s a popular misconception that all members of the Royal family are living large on the taxpayer’s shilling.  Not even close!  Since 2012, when Parliament abolished the Civil List, the Queen and Prince Philip are the only ones who get any government money.  All the other royals, from Prince Charles to Princess Alexandra (61st in line to the throne) may have some of their “official” expenses paid for, but generally they have to fend for themselves.  This puts Harry in a precarious position.  Since he doesn’t actually have a job, the Duchy of Cornwall (Prince Charles’ estate) picks up the tab for him — everything from paying the servants to the cost of a new tuxedo.  So essentially, if Harry wants any extra pocket money, he’s got to go ask daddy for it.  This has led to wild speculation that, given Ms. Markle’s acting career, she may actually have more walking-around money than her husband.

And finally, something silly:

3 — Everyone knows that the Queen loves corgis and her last one, Willow, died very recently.  However, most people don’t know that the Queen still has two dogs, Vulcan and Candy.  They’re dorgis, a mixed breed that came into the Royal household when one of the Queen’s corgis mated with one of her sister, Princess Margaret’s, dachshunds.

When Harry Met Meghan

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The date’s been set, the hall’s been booked, the dress has been selected and the invitations are being printed — even as we speak.  All I have to do now is watch the mail to make sure mine gets here in time.  Then it’s rent a tux and off to Jolly Olde England for The Wedding Of The Year! (Sorry, Celeste!)

Even if you’re a hopeless anti-monarchist, you know that Prince Harry is going to marry Meghan Markle on May 19th — and by all accounts, this is going to be quite the shindig.  First of all, the Brits do pomp and circumstance better than anyone, but, more importantly, this is Prince Harry.  This is the guy who punched a paparazzi in the face and split his lip.  The guy who wore a Nazi uniform to a costume party.  And the guy who was photographed playing strip billiards in Vegas (and obviously losing.)  Brother William might be the future king of England, Scotland, Wales, etc., etc., etc., but Harry’s the royal you want to drink tequila with.  Here’s a lad who knows how to party, and what better party than his own wedding reception?

Plus, when your grandma is Queen Elizabeth II — the richest, most prestigious woman on the planet — the sky’s the limit.  After all, rumour has it, that she’s the one who picked up the phone and got the Spice Girls back together just ’cause her grandson thought it would be cool.  Personally, if I was Harry, that would be the tip of the iceberg.  On my wedding day, I’d roll up to the church in a gold coach, pulled by panda bears — while the Vienna Boys Choir sang “Another One Bites The Dust.”  (But that’s just me!)

The thing is Harry is never going to be king, and everybody knows it.  (By the time the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge get finished in April, he’s going to be relegated to 7th in line to the British throne which, in royal terms, means he might as well be a pub owner from Putney!)  Essentially, he’s a royal nobody.  So, what do you do when your brother’s the heir and you’re the spare?  You don’t really have a job, but you can’t just wander off to the Cotswolds and grow vegetables, either.  I think it’s remarkable that Harry has carved himself out a place in the world — two military tours in Afghanistan, trekking to the North and South Poles and organizing the Invictus Games — and, he’s had a hell of a lot of fun doing it.

I approve of Harry.  He may go off the royal rails every now and again, but he does understand what it takes to make an irrelevant prince relevant in the 21st century.  Besides, I like it that — even though he’s obligated to wear the very straight strait-jacket of the House of Windsor — he still tends to go his own way.

The truth is I’m probably not going to get invited to the wedding of His Royal Highness, Prince Henry of Wales to Ms. Meghan Markle, but, that’s okay, because the invitation I’m actually waiting for is to Harry’s Stag Party.

Princess Charlotte: The Girl Who Won’t Be Queen

princess charlotteThere are a lot worse things in this world than being George Windsor’s little sister.  As jobs go, being the spare to the heir to the British throne is a pretty good gig.  Just ask Prince Harry.  You don’t have to do all that much and there are plenty of perks —  like palaces and polo.  Although, as a princess, you’re not actually going to be allowed to play polo — you’re just supposed to look good watching it.  Which brings us to the down side of the princess business.

Let’s be honest: being a baby is easy.  Everybody thinks you’re cute.  Nobody cares what you wear.  And you can, if necessary, throw up in public.  Besides, you’re portable and more experienced minds can simply keep you away from embarrassing situations.  Unfortunately, for Princess Charlotte, this isn’t going to last.  As she grows up, she is going to have to face one of the most ruthless bullies in the history of the world — the international media.

Every move she makes, every breath she takes, they’ll be watching her.  And, if history is any indication, there’s always going to be some bitchy somebody out there eager to call her down.  Every hair out of place, every too short/too long dress, every zit, every clumsy pause, every millimetre less than immaculate will be front page news.  And when that isn’t enough to satisfy the headline hunters, even immaculate will be scrutinized.  (Remember her mother was criticized for wearing the same outfit, twice.)  Plus, Princess Charlotte, like her mother before her, is going to be stalked to the limits of the telephoto lens and far beyond the limits of the law.  And when that awkward bikini photography goes viral (and it will) she will have no recourse but to shut up and take it.  At least you and I can sue.

But there’s more.  Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana is Princess Di’s granddaughter, and from now until the end of forever the media is never going to let anybody forget it.  Those are some awfully big Louboutins you’ve got to fill Your Royal Highness.

Personally, I’m glad Prince George has a sister.  Sisters are cool.  And as the years go on, these two are going to need each other.