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Feminism's Royal Pain

Meghan Markle's husband needs an overhaul?

By Hobbes  |  January 18, 2020

The world - or at least that portion of it that likes to read supermarket tabloids - is agog at the impending "Megxit" of the Duke and Duchess or Sussex, otherwise known as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, from the British royal family.

Strains have been building for awhile now; it seems to have been far longer than the 18 months that the unhappy couple has been married, both to us and perhaps to them as well.  Where Harry was once debonair, outgoing, brave, loved by the public, and inseparable from his brother and grandmother the Queen, he's now grumpy, frustrated, irritating to British taxpayers with his sense of entitlement, and, well, as his brother Prince William put it,

I've put my arm around my brother all our lives and I can't do that any more - we're separate entities.

What could cause such a striking change in such a relatively short period of time?  As the French say, "Cherchez la femme" - that is, "Look for the woman."

A Tale of Two Brides

The wives of both princes are as beautiful as one would expect any princess to be.  Apart from that, their backgrounds could not be more different.

Kate Middleton was the daughter of somewhat-well-off minor nobility, whose status increased along with their wealth and who moved in fairly exalted social circles.  Not so elite as Princess Diana, the Middletons nevertheless grew up familiar with Britain's upper-crust establishment, its mores, values, and expectations.  It could be said that Kate had one foot in the present, but the other foot in the past.  Downton Abey could have cast her in a heartbeat as one of the more conservative noble young ladies.

So, unlike previous princesses but like most ordinary Britons of her generation, she moved in with Prince William before their marriage and tolerated an on-again-off-again relationship for long enough to acquire the nickname "Waity Katie."

Her patience was rewarded in storybook fashion: she got her ring and her Prince, and to all appearances, their family and marriage is a happy one.  Kate is generally considered to be an upstanding Royal, worthy of her future throne and supportive of her husband in all the ways that count.  Her world and life is his.

Meghan Markle could not be more different.  A self-made American TV star from the wrong side of the tracks, her knowledge of the British upper class stems mostly from its portrayal in her world of stage and screen.  Like anyone else in Hollywood, her life has been "on the make," putting Number One first, and seeking her next great opportunity which turned out to be Prince Harry.

Now, this sort of all-American go-gettiveness doesn't make Meghan a bad person; it certainly makes her more typical of Americans than Kate Middleton would be.  But if you're married to a Prince of England, you're not supposed to be an American; you're supposed to be the best of British.

What's more, the Royal Family is not just a job, it's a way of life.  Most wives and girlfriends understand that their husband's job is a large part of who they are, and they challenge it at their peril. Gisele B√ľndchen was a hugely successful model and businesswoman in her own right, but when she married Tom Brady, she didn't try to make him quit playing football.  Instead, she took on the primary role of being Brady's supportive wife and mother to their children, and as far as anyone can tell, has done so splendidly to the full satisfaction of both parties.

Meghan, though, seems to have become quickly disillusioned with the life of a Princess that most little girls dream of.  Yes, the lifestyle is lavish, but there are such stifling restrictions - like, you're supposed to be apolitical.  And like most of Hollywood, the Duchess is somewhat to the left of Vladimir Lenin, showing her contempt for royal protocol when it required her to be civil to conservatives.

In nearly a century of life, Her Majesty the Queen has never once revealed her opinion on any political issue no matter how small, thus maintaining the love and loyalty of her entire nation.  William and Kate have earnestly followed her example, as largely did Harry before his marriage.  Following Meghan's lead, alas, the Sussexes have abandoned the constitutionally-mandated role of Royals, and now seek to abandon the job entirely.

Destroying What You Love

It's not as if the role of a royal, or the structure of Prince Harry's life, wasn't thoroughly reported years ago.  Meghan has to have known Harry's closeness to his family, his dedication to the country he risked his life for in combat, and his desire for a solid, stable family hearth of his own.

What sort of person would force the one they love to give up everything else in life that means anything to them?  Because that's what Meghan appears to be demanding.

His family?  At Meghan's behest, Harry publicly announced he's quitting his job as a senior royal in direct defiance of the request of his boss, sovereign, and grandmother the Queen - a shocking betrayal for anyone, but apparently nearly heart-stopping to Her Majesty.

His country?  The announced intention is for Harry and Megan to live mostly in Canada, half a world away, but at least a member of Her Majesty's Commonwealth.  It's been reported, though, that her true intention is to land in Los Angeles, the world's brightest and biggest celebrity fishbowl but one entirely independent of Queen and (his) country.  How's that for Harry's desire to raise his kids in a "normal" way, to say nothing of British tradition?

Unless Harry has become a completely different person inside of two years, what he's presented with is a wife demanding that he choose between her and everything else that means anything to him.

Gisele, Harry, and Kate all chose to marry prominent men with well-known public obligations.  All three ladies had reasonably adquate alternative career paths they could take; none were forced to the altar at the point of a gun, or by threat of starvation.  None would have had the slightest difficulty in finding any number of other loving husbands - but they chose the ones they did.  Two appear to be well satisfied with their men the way they are; one appears to want to make him into something else no matter the cost.

How far down this path will Harry follow his wife, in hopes of reaching a stable point where she's happy?  Will he actually succeed in reaching that point, as so many men with demanding wives have tried and failed to do?  And in particular, will he follow her to the United States?

Remember, while Meghan was granted UK citizenship by virtue of her marriage, she's still an American passport holder and thus a dual citizen. Therefore, her children are too.

Move to California - or even drive across the border from Canada - and suddenly an American court has jurisdiction over any dispute between Meghan and her husband over custody of their baby Archie, or any other children they might have.  Harry's royal status, powerful connections, and even money will avail him nothing, as countless other American men have found once divorce lawyers get involved.

Only a psychic or a shrink could fathom just why the erstwhile Duchess would destroy her storybook achievement.  At least Princess Diana had the excuse of her husband's unfaithfulness - not that even that is in the least unexpected for royalty, who've enjoyed a bit on the side since King David if not before.

So far as anyone publicly knows, Harry has been an exemplary husband.  And this is his reward?  It's enough to give modern women a bad reputation - to say nothing of trashing the institution of marriage.