IF YOU were a writer at Disney, you could hardly improve on the name Meghan Markle for your heroine. Like Peter Pan or Pinocchio, it belongs in that world of saccharine fairy tales which provides the most pervasive frame of reference for millions of ill-educated Americans. So it was no surprise to hear that Meghan thought of herself as the Little Mermaid. But that wasn’t the half of it. Her description of life in the British Royal Family drew more from Rapunzel.
Like Rapunzel, poor Meghan was a rightful princess locked up, in a palace rather than a tower, by an evil old woman. Only a true prince could save her.
It’s not clear why, exactly, she needed saving. In contrast with Princess Diana, who was a teenage ingenue pressured into marrying the heir to the throne, Meghan was a thirty-something divorcee who had been round the block, not least in the cut-throat milieu of screen acting in North America. Only in Hollywood would a pregnant, suicidal princess languish in a tower, unable to call a friend, or her influential husband who happens to be involved in promoting mental health. Only a movie would neglect to mention medication, or therapy, such as might benefit others in her situation. You can just see the scriptwriters conjuring up the evil old woman whose minions wouldn’t allow Rapunzel to see a doctor. The same writers who would think nothing of an instant recovery so complete she could attend a gig at the Albert Hall, smiling to all and sundry while holding hands with Prince Harry. Thank goodness for Prince Harry, who facilitated her escape from the evil empire.
Our hero too was trapped, though he didn’t realise it until Meghan told him so. ‘Then Meghan came along and I went into therapy,’ he told Oprah, with no irony intended. For truly, in this movie, no irony is intended.
Meghan is riding America’s liberal zeitgeist, a champion of President Biden’s much-touted ‘American values’. In that woke world of tinsel and twinkle, sparkle and markle, you must speak your truth, so long as you signal your virtue and serve identity politics. The funny thing about ‘your truth’ is its tendency to distort actual truth. Because life is about storytelling, right? So how about, having imprisoned Meghan, the evil old woman then removes the security detail from Meghan’s baby, Archie (as per the corrupt cop removing protection from a hospitalised Don Corleone in The Godfather)? And, in case that’s not wicked enough, the evil old woman refuses to allow Archie to be called ‘prince’ because his grandmother on his mother’s side is black.
Such was the story Meghan told a deeply credulous American public. That she did so without a single ‘um’, ‘er’ or any of the verbal tics that litter conversations in real life was a credit to her performance (and Oprah’s editors). Acting comes less naturally to Harry, who is still adapting to his role as senior disciple and has struggled to learn his lines – his recent ‘imagine if we were all raindrops’ soliloquy was particularly unconvincing.
But the main thing is: Harry is free from perfidious Albion. Enjoying his opulent indolence in sunny California, he must genuflect every night to the heroine whose kiss brought him back to life.