Any bride who manages to glide down the aisle without at least one mishap is a lucky woman. Be it an embarrassing uncle who’s overindulged on the wine, a catering catastrophe or an overbearing in-law, there are likely to be some hazards that hinder your happily ever after moment.
Yet most take it in their stride, content in the knowledge that they have finally got their fairy-tale ending. What happens though, when your wedding is played out on the most public of stages, the predatory press devouring every detail and the world awaiting your every move?
That is the situation that American actress Meghan Markle is in. She has found herself in the unique position of marrying a real-life royal and Prince Harry is not just any old member of ‘the firm’ – he is the lovable rogue that the nation adores, the cheeky-chappy they have watched grow up and become Britain’s most eligible bachelor. Whoever he married was going to face intense public scrutiny. Ms Markle may have experience of the persevering press in Hollywood, but nothing could prepare her or her family for the wave of public attention that would be shifted on them once a ring was on her finger.
What has become clear since the engagement, and more specifically in recent days, is that the tabloids are relentless in their pursuit of gossip and unashamed in exploiting every means possible to spawn a salacious story. Whilst Meghan’s half-sister is proud to promote her resentment towards her sibling and her father undoubtedly made an error in agreeing to a paparazzi set-up, in reality it should be the publications who pursue these stories that feel the most shame.
They have preyed on her father’s vulnerabilities and used his lack of knowledge about the media to create an unfavourable opinion of him. Was he foolish? Yes. Should he have staged those now infamous photographs? Certainly not. However, is he entirely to blame? I don’t think so. Meghan’s family and Meghan herself have been hunted, harassed and hounded by the tabloids in a way not seen since the time of Princess Diana. And we all know how that story ended.
It is accepted that part of the role of a royal is to be a public figure. I imagine Meghan Markle is very aware of the image she now must convey and the limitations that will now be placed on her. She will always be scrutinised by the public and her everyday life will never be the same again. However, no one should have to face the torrent of racial abuse that has been spread about her online or be forced to defend her suitability as a royal wife of Windsor.
In all honesty, I think she has shown remarkable restraint in these last few months. She has not reacted in a way to embarrass the royal family and she has not faltered in her unwavering support for her husband-to-be. This, more than anything, illustrates her real devotion to Prince Harry and her desire to make this marriage work.
It is time for the public (and the press) to let them be happy. Come 19th May, I for one will be sitting back with a cream scone in one hand and a glass of fizz in the other, ready to toast the happy couple. Everyone deserves a happy ending, and I hope they get theirs.