The Next Windsor Wife: From TV Star To Global Royal Celebrity:

Is it really worthwhile these days becoming famous? The main advantage, the British rock singer David Bowie once observed, is that it guarantees you a good seat in a restaurant. In the film “Notting Hill”, the American actress Julie Roberts told Hugh Grant’s character that “ The fame thing isn’t really real, you know”, which coincides with her own personal opinion that it isn’t the individual who changes with stardom, only the public perception of them. Meghan Markle, who will marry Prince Harry in Windsor’s Castle’s St. George’s Chapel on 19th May, has herself acknowledged that fame brings both opportunities and responsibilities.

However, in the view of some commentators, Meghan hasn’t yet fully grasped the extent to which her life will now be transformed – that being the focus of massive and constant world-wide attention will be on a completely different scale from the plaudits she has received for her performances over the past seven years as attorney Rachel Zane in the American legal drama series “Suits”. Her final appearance in the show was transmitted in the USA on Wednesday 25th April.

Rotem Atar, a “beauty influencer” for the cosmetics firm Estee Lauder, has listed on “Seven reasons why being famous isn’t that great”. First: It puts a tremendous amount of pressure on you to be simply perfect: “You can’t mess up, you have to be fit and you can’t make mistakes”. Second, you lose almost all your privacy: “There are people watching you, talking about you and writing about you every day.”. Third: The rumours: “The media tends to make things up that are untrue in order to make money”. Fourth: “Every magazine, TV show and social media site will be passing judgement on you”. In addition: The paparazzi will taking photos of you everywhere you go – including outside your house and even trying to block your car. You can’t have a normal lifestyle because you will be constantly under the spotlight.

Indeed, the outspoken UK-based Australian feminist author and convinced republican, Germaine Greer, has already predicted – on her country’s 60 Minute’s TV programme on April 15th – that the marriage won’t last. Meghan (says Greer) will eventually “bolt” and be “out of the door” (as she did with her first husband), the “sacrifice” of giving up her Hollywood career, her home in the US, her relaxed social life and her lifestyle blog “Tig” will seem too one-sided and she will rapidly chafe at the restrictions imposed on her as a member of the royal family.

The Sunday Times columnist, Camilla Long, queried in the newspaper on April 22nd whether “ if you don’t feel you can invite all the most appalling members of your close family to your wedding (specifically, Markle’s half-brother Thomas and half-sister Samantha) maybe you’re marrying the wrong person”. Long considers that “it’s unlikely that Meghan hasn’t already mapped out the big sit-down interview with the TV personality Oprah Winfrey after the divorce is over and she’s fled to America”. Until recently, notes Long, Markle was extremely fashionable; now “she dresses strangely”.

Likewise, in February, the former Conservative government minister, Ann Widdecombe, when interviewed on Channel 5 by the Mail On Sunday journalist, Rachel Johnson, expressed “unease” about a 36-year-old divorcee marrying into the “stuffy” royal family – that, due to her background and attitude, she would be “trouble”. The new biography titled “Meghan, A Hollywood Princess” by author Andrew Morton (who also wrote “Diana: Her True Story”) doesn’t do Markle any favours either. He quotes the jewellery designer Ninaki Priddy’s description of her as “very strategic in the way she cultivates circles of friends. Once she decides you’re not part of her life, she can be very cold”. The reason for the rift between Priddy and Markle after 30 year’s friendship is “a close-kept secret”.

By contrast, all these “doomy forecasts” have pushed the Spectator correspondent, Jenny McCartney, “firmly into the Markle camp”. In the magazine’s latest edition, McCartney points out that Meghan “brings with her qualities that speak to a changing Britain. Her mixed-race heritage – a black African-American mother and a white, Dutch-Irish father – places her among the fastest-growing ethnic minority group in the UK and alters the public profile of the royal family”. Equally significantly, “Markle’s combination of Hollywood glitz and campaigning zeal will help to innoculate the Royal family against criticism in a changing age”. McCartney wishes Markle good luck, especially if (as she seems to anticipate) the “cynical” British press “decides to turn vicious”.

Meanwhile: The Government has issued guidelines for anyone wanting to organise a street party to celebrate the royal wedding, which will take place at 12 noon on 19th May. TV coverage of the event will be from 11.30 am until around 2 pm – so won’t overlap with the cup final the same afternoon between Chelsea and Manchester United at Wembley Stadium, where kick-off will be at 4.15 pm. Street parties which are just for neighbours and residents don’t require a licence, even if music is being provided . The local council’s permission is needed for closing a road: “Some of them, advises the Daily Telegraph, will lend you metal signs and cones to help with this, or you can improvise your own. If your road is part of a bus route, the bus company should be informed in advance that it will be temporarily closed for through traffic”. Hanging out plenty of bunting, declares The Street Party website, will help create a festive atmosphere. The occasion will thereby offer the “traditional (but sometimes rare) chance of meeting your neighbours face to face and encouraging them to join in, even if they aren’t particularly fans of the royal family”.

Filed under: Media, Society | Posted on May 1st, 2018 by Colin D Gordon

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