Markle Debacle. May 2018.

Dear Rowley,

Families, eh? Don’t say I didn’t warn you about Meghan Markle’s engagement and wedding to Prince Harry. Now it appears that Thomas Marlke, father of the bride, has been colluding with the paparazzi to provide images of his ostensibly lonely life. He was photographed being fitted for a suit and Googling the Royal Family in a bid to prepare for meeting them this month.

But isn’t there something fishy about this eleventh hour crisis which has seen Mr Markle decide not to attend the wedding and even going in for heart surgery three days before he was due to walk his daughter down the aisle? What were palace officials thinking allowing Mr Markle to remain out in the cold until the very last moment? He could have been managed.

Why had Mr Markle not being invited to London weeks ago where a palace flunkey could have escorted him to a decent tailor to have his correct morning tails schmutter cut for the wedding? Even Ms Markle’s mother isn’t due to fly in until today. If she does walk her daughter down the aisle – a precedent set by Queen Victoria and two of her daughters – she’ll be awfully jet lagged.

The main problem we have here, Houston, is the memory of Prince Harry demanding privacy for he and his bride-to-be then organising a wedding as fairytale as any Hollywood studio could muster. The guest list is rich with ‘slebrity’ guest actors and musicians who are friends of the couple at the cost of Ms Markle’s entire extended family and many minor royals.

We have a bitter half-sister who could have been de-fanged by being kept inside the tent and a half-brother who has been writing to Prince Harry warning what a little gold digger Ms Markle is behind the sparkly mask. Then we have Prince Harry not inviting the minor royals with whom he grew-up. Why are they excluded when the capacity for St George’s chapel Windsor is 800 and it is rumoured only 600 people have been invited?

One has to be suspicious of anyone who has alienated their entire family as Ms Markle appears to have done. There is also the jettisoned husband who was dropped like a hot brick while Ms Markle’s star rose in Toronto filming Suits. 

Did anyone actually believe Ms Markle in her engagement interview when she said she didn’t know much about the British Royal Family? Apparently, she was obsessed with the late Diana, Princess of Wales in her youth having been enchanted by the 1981 Royal Wedding. What better connection to the late Princess than marrying her second and admittedly more fun sun?

It is clear that Prince Harry is gaga about Meghan Markle. From what I have seen of them, her star power dominates the relationship. Never let us forget, Ms Markle is an actress and being a Royal Duchess is ostensibly the greatest role she could ever play.

I was particularly beady when it was announced Ms Markle would give up her acting career to marry Harry. Why? Princess Grace of Monaco was formerly the Oscar-winning actress Grace Kelly. The marriage with Prince Rainier was arranged to add lustre to the sunny place for shady people. Sadly, Princess Grace missed her career. I would imagine the ribbon-cutting and tree-planting would bore the pants off Ms Markle within a year or so.

It would have been so much more admirable for a modern Royal Duchess to continue her acting career with palace protocol in mind when considering parts. A Royal Duchess could not, after all, appear in a reboot of Pulp Fiction but could she add some sparkle to a Disney movie? I think so.

The wedding itself is all rather Disney. Though Prince Harry is no longer serving the armed forces, the odds are on that he will wear a uniform and that Ms Markle – though a divorcee – will wear white. It’s all terribly soap opera as is the guest list that is rumoured to include the Spice Girls (?!?!?!?!?), David Beckham and Elton John.

One has to question if the Prince and Ms Markle wanted privacy from the press and public so much then why have such an extravagant and divisive nuptials? On top of the ceremony and finger food back at Windsor Castle, there is an evening soiree at Frogmore House hosted by Prince Charles that does not include many members of the congregation.

Imagine being asked to the wedding and not to the after-party. You’d feel royally excluded. It is all beginning to look uncannily like the Channel 4 skit on the Royal Family, The Windsors, with Camilla plotting her path to power, Pippa Middleton chasing Prince Harry down the aisle and froideur between the Duchess of Cambridge and her new sister-in-law.

Where The Windsors is brilliant lies in keeping HM The Queen and Prince Philip off-stage bar foul-mouthed ranting letters from the grumpy Duke of Edinburgh threatening to assassinate Fergie if she comes within a mile radius of royal occasions. The programme is a hoot as was the Royal Wedding special.

I do wish Prince Harry and Ms Markle the very best but do feel the wedding has been much more controversial in the lead-up than it ever needed to be. If this is an example of the Kensington Palace young royals’ press office running the show then ‘must do better’ is the only response. The Royal Soap Opera continues. Until next time…