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The First Duchess Of Sussex

The First Duchess Of Sussex

What a treat it was to see Prince Harry and Meghan Markle tie the knot in Windsor last month. Prior to their engagement, there had been much speculation about their relationship with many refusing to believe that the American actress would be allowed to marry into the British royal family. Not only was she mixed race, she’d also been married before – two facts which would have deemed the relationship impossible in the not too distant past.

Thankfully, time and attitudes have moved on and permission was granted for the two lovebirds to marry. There’s no denying that their upbringings could not have been more different but it’s good to know that in their particular case, love did indeed conquer all.

From the moment they announced their engagement, their love for each other was clear to see. It was evident in every smile, every glance and every gesture. Their happiness was infectious and it cheered the nation to see the obvious joy their union had brought, not only to the royal family, but to well wishers across the globe.

The fact that the wedding would take place on a Saturday was a hit with the general public. Street parties were planned, picnics were organised and day trips to Windsor were arranged. In the meantime, people began to contemplate who would design the dress, how many bridesmaids there would be and which celebrities would be invited. Great Britain was buzzing with excitement and, it seemed, couldn’t get enough of Meghan Markle.

But the bride-to-be’s popularity wasn’t just confined to the UK. Meghan was a big hit overseas too with people eager to see what changes, if any, she would introduce to the roles traditionally associated with those marrying into the royal family. It’s fair to say that Catherine Middleton had already altered the public’s perception of the monarchy when she married Prince William in 2011. In fact, some would argue that it was Princess Diana who first captured the hearts of the general public by showing them there was more to the royal family than out-dated customs and pompous attitudes. Certainly, it is widely believed that she would be exceptionally proud of her two sons and their respective choice of brides.

Diana’s genuine compassion and tireless work with charities is what set her apart from other members of the royal family. She was approachable, selfless and without prejudice. What better legacy to leave behind than one of love and respect? William and Harry have certainly taken up the baton and continued to devote time and energy into helping others and raising awareness of important issues, in particular, mental health. This honest humanity is shared by the Duchess of Cambridge and, even before her involvement with Harry, was clearly equally important to Meghan Markle.
Meghan’s previous charity work included a campaign to bring clean drinking water to Rwanda, plus issues of modern day slavery and menstrual health. She worked with the United Nations in connection with gender equality and empowerment of women. She also travelled to Afghanistan as part of the United Services Organizations and is proud to call herself a feminist. No wonder Harry was attracted to her! He was also very protective of her and was forced to take action when the press began to report on their relationship in 2016. An official statement was released referring to the ‘wave of abuse and harassment’ directed towards Meghan in terms of racism, sexism and defamation.

Charity work aside, it’s reasonable to assume that the glamour associated with both Kate and Meghan (and Diana before them) is one of the main attractions when it comes to their popularity. Style is, after all, a prerequisite when betrothed to a prince. Thankfully, lessons were learned in the aftermath of Diana’s death and whilst still very much in the public eye, the younger members of today’s royal family are allowed a greater degree of privacy and respect. That said, tabloid pictures are still scrutinized, hairstyles are copied and outfits are replicated. Everyone, it seems, wants to look like a princess!

But, of course, it was the wedding itself that everyone was waiting for and millions tuned in around the world to witness the ceremony at Windsor Castle – even the sunshine joined the party! With the bride’s father unable to attend for health reasons, the Prince of Wales stepped in to walk Meghan down the aisle. It was smiles all round (plus a few emotional tears from Harry) as the couple said their vows and exchanged rings. This wasn’t just a showcase event full of pomp and ceremony; it was a day to remember for a young couple very much in love.

I, for one, will be interested to see how her role within the royal family develops. The new Duchess of Sussex has already silenced her critics and proved that racial prejudice has no place in modern Britain, least of all in the monarchy; and with the eyes of the world watching, that’s not a bad start.

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