Why I fell in love with Meghan Markle

This is a purely platonic affaire d’amour that has nothing to do with our Megs’ looks, who she is, or her personality – it’s because of the trolls

James Moore
Thursday 17 May 2018 13:36 BST
Meghan Markle has been accused of being ‘a phoney’ by her half-brother
Meghan Markle has been accused of being ‘a phoney’ by her half-brother (PA)

I’m going to have to apologise to Independent readers, but I have a guilty secret to confess.

One of the reasons I was delighted to join this organisation was that once, in the days of print, it famously relegated the announcement of a royal baby to a single paragraph on an inside page.

I am, you see, a committed republican. Have been for years.

Despite all that I’ve fallen head over heels in love with Prince Harry’s bride-to-be, Meghan Markle.

I want to stress that his royalness doesn’t have anything to be concerned about, if a royal prince ever could be concerned over the feelings of a middle aged scribbler who is – charitably – carrying a couple of extra kilos.

This is a purely platonic affaire d’amour that has nothing to do with our Megs’ looks, who she is (I have only the vaguest idea of what she’s done to make her a celeb), or her personality.

Rather, it’s motivated by the reactions of people to her; by the bile being thrown at her by a legion of bitter trolls egged on by the poison pens of tabloid writers.

From her press, you’d think that Megs is some fairytale villainess dreamt up by Hans Christian Andersen; a spoiled and entitled social climber who has dug her claws into a good-natured but essentially innocent prince whom she clearly isn’t good enough for.

Her chief sins appear to be, in order, starting with the bronze medal position: she’s American. In silver: she has a career and opinions of her own. And of course, the elephant in the room, stand back because it’s trumpeting loudly, taking the gold medal, the FA Cup, and the Super Bowl, too, because some people think it would make her fair game even if she were a certified saint: she’s not white. The venomous band of people who enjoy leaving comments on stories in the press knocking Megs like to carefully skate around that final fact, but they still blow dog whistles at her. They are the sort of lowlifes who start sentences with “I’m not racist, but”.

To their mind, Harry is supposed to be with someone with a name like Lady Sophia Ponsonby-Smythe, whom he met at the Pony Club ball, a sensible “gel” capable of bearing an insurance policy should tragedy befall the family of his older brother.

It’s true that even a Lady Sophia has to undergo a little light hazing before being formally admitted to the firm. An earlier royal partner of that background – one Lady Diana Spencer – certainly did.

But the acid being thrown at Megs is of a lower PH than even Diana endured when it was an all-out war between her and the royal household.

John Oliver gives warning to Meghan Markle upon marrying into the Royal Family

It seems as if every couple of days there’s a new piece of tittle-tattle put out to cast her in a negative light, the latest being that “she’s not genuine” like the aforementioned Diana is supposed to have been. Her half-brother has been telling the tabloids that she’s “a phoney” who is tearing her family apart by not inviting them to the wedding.

He doesn’t appear to understand that this shouldn’t come as a terrible surprise if you have the sort of family that says horrible things about you to anyone who cares to listen.

I know, I know. Megs & Hazza are one percenters whose biggest challenge would appear to be getting caught passing the port in the wrong direction. (Have women finally been allowed to pass the port in those circles? I’m not sure.) And feeling sorry for them is like seeing the fan of a Championship club that never wins anything feeling sorry for Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United side because they’ve had to look up at the noisy neighbours from across the city this year.

But it’s not just that. It’s as much the fact that Meghan seems to get under the skin of all this country’s biggest arseholes, the “send ’em all back” Brexit brigade who are dragging us through the muck. That’s what really makes me want to cheer for her.

Not so much that I’m actually planning to watch the event. The way the BBC has otherwise respectable journalists fawning and slobbering on these occasions is too much to stomach (although I’ll forgive them this once because they’ll rile the haters even more).

But I might be inclined to buy one of those gloriously tasteless souvenir mugs to show my solidarity.

I’ll stand it next to the one my friend brought me back from the TUC conference that’s spectacularly rude about Margaret Thatcher, after I’ve toasted the bride.

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