The long time readers of this blog, all five of you, might recall a post the author penned a couple years back entitled The Trouble With Prince Harry, in which he opined, given the run of bad luck His Royal Highness was having courting ruling class bachelorettes in his granny’s realm, who for the most part don’t seem to want to marry him, that he should cast his social net a bit wider if he wishes to catch the damsel of his dreams. One might also recall another post, Edward Vll’s Churchillian Mistress, in which the author hypothesized that should Harry one day find himself keeping amorous company with a socially ambitious American young lady, said hypothetical girlfriend should be prepared to be received into British society with open daggers drawn. Well, the author certainly doesn’t wish to congratulate himself on being a soothsayer, but the whirlwind romance Prince Harry has engaged in within the last year, and the reaction of certain elements of British society to it, have more than proven the conclusions reached at the end of the aforementioned posts were more than a little apt. Of course the author is referring to the increasingly serious romance Harry is currently engaged in with American television actress, Meghan Markle. And engaged appears to be the correct word to use given every one of the author’s friends in London, who travel in royal circles, have all confided to him that word coming out of both Buckingham and Kensington palaces, plus London’s branch of Soho House, the social club where Harry and Meghan are fondest of dining, and where it’s rumored most of their assignations have taken place, is that he’s already informally proposed, she’s informally accepted, the Queen has privately signaled she’ll approve the match, and the whole reason why engagement rumors are being constantly leaked to the press is because Her Majesty’s press office is building up excitement for the inevitable formal announcement that might occur as early as August, i.e. just before Meghan’s birthday and this year’s Invictus Games, which ironically enough will be held in Toronto where Meghan currently resides.
The greatest sign that this rumor is more than just idle gossip came on May 14 when a spokesman for Westminster Abbey suddenly announced, seemingly apropos of nothing, that Prince Harry and Ms. Markle could marry at Westminster Abbey despite her being a divorcée. The spokesman further stated that since 2002, thanks to a synod ruling, the Church of England, of which the Queen is the nominal head, has allowed divorced persons to wed within their auspices. If Harry hadn’t already privately popped the question to Meghan, albeit without a ring, and she hadn’t already said yes, why on earth would the higher ranking clergy at Westminster be jumping through hoops to clarify and sanction a wedding ceremony for a couple that have expressed no plans whatsoever to wed? The reality of the Court of St. James is that all press speculation concerning the betrothals of senior ranking royals doesn’t occur spontaneously, but rather is instigated by the court as a means of drumming up excitement in anticipation of a forthcoming formal engagement announcement. Word out of London is that, when it comes to press leaks concerning an impending engagement, all roads are leading back to the Prince of Wales’s press office at Kensington Palace where Prince Harry is notorious for taking a highly decisive role when it comes to the managing of his own press coverage. Of this, more in a moment.
As one might expect, given the politics of both households, opinions among courtiers concerning Miss Markle becoming a future royal duchess is sharply divided among staffs of Buckingham and Kensington palaces. As one might expect, the hidebound traditionalists of Buck House, who’d initially objected to Prince William’s burgeoning relationship with Kate Middleton, and later are rumored to have attempted to orchestrate an engagement between Harry and Cressida Bonas, are less than pleased at the prospect of the fifth in line to the throne plighting his troth with a half Black, half Jewish American actress whose previous husband is very much still among the living. Objections to the relationship are rumored to have become so virulent that last November, according to the author’s sources, it was a particularly nasty, old and aristocratic cabal of courtiers at Her Majesty’s official London residence that were behind the Daily Mail’s now notorious article,EXCLUSIVE: Harry’s girl is (almost) straight outta Compton: Gang scarred home of her mother revealed-so will he be dropping in for tea? The piece, though mildly laudatory of the fact that Miss Markle is largely a self made, obviously talented and independently successful young woman raised by a single African American mother who clearly struggled to make ends meet, but nonetheless triumphed against the odds, the article nonetheless emphasized her working class background and the fact that her mater still resides in an economically downtrodden community in Los Angeles notorious for its gang violence. The message of the article was clear: Meghan might be a nice young woman, but her background renders her completely unsuitable as a future royal. The author’s been told the piece was designed chiefly to turn the public against Prince Harry’s new girlfriend, and pressure him into ending the relationship.
Needless to write, these chinless wonders behind that piece might as well have attempted to put out a fire with gasoline. For there’s nothing His Royal Highness is alleged to hate more than being pressured by his family’s retainers. It’s now widely believed the real reason why he resigned his army commission a couple years ago was because the Queen’s, and also the Prince of Wales’s, men in gray wouldn’t allow him to continue serving as an apache helicopter pilot, for which it had taken him two years to qualify. Now they were pressuring a woman who, by all accounts, he’d fallen madly in love with at first sight when they’d been introduced by mutual friends the previous summer, either in London or Toronto, to leave him. Harry then decided to take the unprecedented step of issuing an official statement from Kensington Palace on November 8, less than a week after the Daily Mail article, not only officially declaring Meghan his girlfriend, a move no senior ranking royal had ever made before, but condemning the obvious racism characterizing both the tabloid press coverage of Miss Markle and the cyber bullying she’d recently been subjected to! While he didn’t name a specific tabloid, the cognoscenti instantly knew who he was talking about, as well as the message Harry was sending to the courtiers behind the piece. With HRH having all but declared war on the reputed tabloid of choice among the royals and their sycophants, the paper, and those same courtiers who are still hoping to change Harry’s mind about his increasingly not so secret alleged fiancé, have struck back by continuing to publish damaging stories concerning Meghan.
Their latest salvo came in the form of an interview with her older half sister entitled, I’m hurt she hasn’t reached out to me’: Meghan Markle’s wheelchair-bound half-sister slams Harry’s girl for charity work, saying ‘humanitarianism starts at home’-after revealing they haven’t spoken for NINE years. The April 4 article revealed that Meghan’s father, who was once a successful Hollywood television lighting designer, and brother had recently filed for bankruptcy, and that Meghan’s been obsessed with the Royal Family since childhood. The author certainly can’t blame her for that! But all biased criticism aside, there’s some legitimate concern that Meghan, with no previous background exposure to the Royals or realistic knowledge what life within their all too specific world is truly like, is getting in over her head and might prove the House of Windsor’s most disastrous in-law yet. There might’ve been less cause for alarm had Harry been wiling to move more slowly with this relationship, thus giving Meghan a step by step chance to become genuinely acquainted with the royal routine, but Harry’s impatient to marry and start a family, Meghan appears to be quite eager to do the same, and given that she’s about to turn 36, the quicker they commence with baby making, the more likely a baby or two will actually pop out of the oven. Then there’s the matter of Miss Markle easily being the most independently successful woman to ever become a potential English royal bride. If her marriage were to fail, she has the legitimate incentive of returning to a proven rewarding career. No previous maiden that wed a prince within the House of Windsor could boast that. While seemingly impressive, her resourcefulness and genuine power to decide her own destiny, and probable lack of reliance on her in-laws should she decide being a royal duchess just isn’t for her, is precisely what scares the Queen’s courtiers the most about Meghan.
The Prince of Wales’s staff over at Kensington Palace, on the other hand, are said to be highly enthusiastic about the alleged future match. Aside from her aforementioned qualities, Meghan’s work on behalf of global women’s equality initiatives with the United Nations and her genuine passion for humanitarian work, a passion she shares with her rumored fiancé, are all to the good as far as they’re concerned. Furthermore, her ethnic background is a plus to them, and particularly to Prince Charles, because it reflects the increasing cultural diversity of modern Britain. And let’s not forget she’s a stunningly beautiful woman whose multi-culti genes will hopefully offset the centuries of inbreeding that have wrought such havoc regarding the visage of many a Hanoverian descendant. She might be precisely the breath of fresh air that everyone was hoping the Duchess of Cambridge would be, but alas thus far hasn’t been.
The irony of much of the hoopla concerning Prince Harry’s romance with a half Jewish, half African American entertainer, aside from the ongoing historical debate concerning whether or not the immediate British royal family possesses a degree of African ancestry, is that this relationship is but the latest chapter in a long line of such romances to occur within the British Royal Family. One could argue that a romantic passion for black entertainers is seemingly a genetic trait within the House of Windsor. Karl Shaw writes in Royal Babylon that the late Prince George, Duke of Kent, conducted a brief affair with the African American cabaret star, Florence Mills, in the mid ’20s. It should be noted, however, that Mr. Shaw claims Prince George’s dalliance with Madam Mills continued during his marriage. Given that the unfortunate Florence died suddenly in 1927, and her favorite royal duke didn’t marry until 1934, it seems highly doubtful Mr. Shaw’s veracity can be trusted concerning the timeline of their relationship. George might’ve been bisexual and a drug addict, but the author has yet to uncover evidence he was a necrophiliac.
The next notable, albeit closeted, royal romance between a British royal and an African American celebrity occurred in the early ’30s when Lady Edwina Mountbatten, who’d recently married Lord Louis Mountbatten, formerly Prince Louis of Battenberg and a great-grandson of Queen Victoria, began keeping loving, passionate, and apparently prolonged, extramarital company with Leslie Hutchinson, a popular jazz musician. Unfortunately The People, a popular tabloid, caught wind of the affair, and published a blind item about it. Though not naming names, it was well known among the royal court who exactly the article was seemingly condemning. With British society being unapologetically racist at the time, King George V and Queen Mary stepped in and demanded Edwina take the tabloid to court. Lynn Picknett, Clive Prince and Stephen Prior write in War Of The Windsors, A Century of Unconstitutional Monarchy, that they interviewed Madeline Masson, a close friend of Edwina’s concerning this notorious libel case and she informed them how Edwina and her royal in-laws tricked a jury into awarding them damages. Edwina claimed under oath that the tabloid was accusing her, in so many words, of having had an affair with the actor Paul Robeson. Since she technically wasn’t bedding him, but another black man, she was able to successfully sue the paper for libel. Needless to write, her actual affair never came to light. Still, a harsh public light had been shown on her obvious lack of virtue regarding her marriage, and she developed a life long resentment for her in-laws for having forced her to go to trial in the first place. It was their reputation they were trying to save, not hers, and the experience helped eventually turn her into a virulent, though discreet, republican.
By the ’70s it was Prince Charles who was carrying on his family’s tradition of secretive miscegenation. Lady Colin Campbell writes in her now classic biography, Diana in Private, The Princess Nobody Knows, that early in the decade Charles met, and became utterly infatuated with, the voluptuous African American songstress Sheila Ferguson, part of the pop group, The Three Degrees. In between bedding Mrs. Parker Bowles and Dale, Lady Tryon he romped blissfully with Miss Ferguson throughout the decade until their amour came to an agreeable end by the early ’80s. Still, they continued to be friends and remain so to this day.
The difference, of course, between these aforementioned relationships and that of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle is that none of them were serious, conducted out in the open, and could’ve possibly ended in marriage. Harry and Meghan, on the other hand, are precisely the opposite of that. The world has come a long way within the past century, and now is as good a time as any for the British Royal Family to embrace cultural and ethnic diversity in a manner it never has before. As of this writing all indications are that the Queen will approve their betrothal, Meghan’s previous divorce notwithstanding. Harry’s father, after all, was a divorcée prior to his current marriage, and his current wife was the same. Just as the author began this post by disclaiming himself as a soothsayer, he must end it the same way. For, alas, everything he’s reported here coming from his friends in London is technically just hearsay, though at this point highly plausible hearsay. Only time will tell if Harry and Meghan actually tie the knot. The author, for one, is hoping they do!!!!!!