It’s traditional to wish good luck to any couple getting married on what should be one of the happiest days of their lives. And today The Scotsman would like to do this on the occasion of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding.
This is mainly because Harry is sixth in line to the British throne – and the position of UK head of state – and partly because they do appear to be genuinely in love, no arranged wedding this. But we are also wishing them luck because they will need it more than most newlyweds.
For, while being a member of the Royal Family means one is highly unlikely to ever have to worry about money and life is about as privileged as it is possible to be, it has always been a gilded cage, with bars created by the public’s at-times obsessive interest in the minutiae of their lives. Meghan Markle and her family have only just started to discover the degree of scrutiny that the Royals have had to become used to dealing with, so they perhaps deserve a bit more sympathy than has been evident in the pages of some tabloid newspapers. How many ordinary families would cope happily and without the slightest hiccup on the sudden arrival of fame and all the media interest that this entails? And, have no doubt, this is fame on an international level. The British Royal Family has long fascinated much of the world and nowhere more so than the US, where Royal fever can eclipse our own. Hundreds of US journalists will be here to cover the wedding. The fact that one half of the happy couple is American will mean interest is higher than ever before.
At times, the Royal Family are treated like a reality TV show or a soap opera, their lives rendered fictional and so dehumanised. We, the press and the public, would do well to always remember they are human beings with ordinary emotions just like anyone else. And yet, in Britain, they are very much not like anyone else.
Theirs is a position of considerable influence and soft political power. And it is here that Meghan Markle could have a transformative effect on British society. As a result of her involvement with charities because of her profile as an actress, she has spoken out about gender equality, modern-day slavery and the need for clean water in developing countries. She could also be a powerful voice against racism.
So, with luck, she may just help change Britain for the better.