Although reporting royal news isn’t generally anywhere near the point and purpose of this website, I find myself unable to restrain from doing so. Because, friends, I practically came out of the womb in a royal-watching state! Though I was not quite four at the time, I remember Prince Charles’ 1981 wedding to Lady Diana Spencer. It was a great joke in my family because my parents’ names are Charles and Diane, and my father TO THIS DAY calls my mom “Lady Di.” From then on, I was hooked on the real-life princess. In junior high, I began devouring biographies of all the royal houses of Europe; another favorite was our first American princess, Grace Kelly, another actress, like Meghan Markle, who went on to marry a prince (in Kelly’s case, Rainier of Monaco.)
So through the years I’ve watched ALL the royal events with interest: from the terrible, seedy come-aparts of the marriages of Charles and Diana and Andrew and Fergie, to the beautiful births of the new generation of royals. I was spellbound by William and Kate’s wedding seven years ago, and welcomed their babies with joy. And NOW, I am UBER excited for the wedding of Prince Harry to American actress Meghan Markle. It’s so nice to see both William and Harry be able to marry for love, like their father was seemingly not able to do. It’s also nice to see the royal family welcome a very “regular” person to their fold; not only is Meghan American, she is bi-racial, divorced, and comes from divorced parents herself (though so does Harry, I’d like to point out.) And, her family, it seems, is rather complicated.
The fact of her complicated family makes Meghan Markle more like most of us than any other royal, perhaps; but most of us don’t have our family drama and our racial heritage discussed ad nauseum in 3-inch-high bold print on newspapers, magazines, and websites AROUND THE WORLD. Meghan’s father has done some questionable tabloid-y things this week, and apparently is having some serious heart problems. His behavior and the brou-ha-ha has undoubtedly cast a shadow on what SHOULD be the best week of her young life. The bottom line is, her dad won’t be at her wedding.
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In a royal first, Prince Charles is stepping in to walk his son’s bride down the aisle. He has said in a statement that he is, “pleased to welcome Ms. Markle to the family in this way.”
Obviously, I have SERIOUS emotional problems, because when I read this news, I cried. Why? I’m a creature of great empathy, I guess. I feel for this woman who, at the center of a HUGE spectacle, which she probably wishes could be far more private and intimate than it is going to be, was going to have to usher herself in to a new life, all alone. And it’s not that she’s not capable. Meghan Markle has proved herself through her activism and charity work long before she met Prince Harry, to be a strong, hard-working woman. What gets me about this story – about Prince Charles stepping in – is that he is doing what family does. When you get married, you become one, and your families become each other’s family, for better or for worse. Charles has jumped in to declare Meghan as his daughter, and to me, it’s beautiful. Unprecedented for a royal wedding, and terribly, terribly beautiful. Meghan’s natural father has for one reason or another, failed her, but another has stepped in to take his place and steady her and she enters her new life.
As a Christian I can’t help but think of the Father who has stepped in to intercede for me so many, many times. My earthly father has not failed me but I have failed myself over and over, and He has taken my hand and gently guided me back to the right aisle time and time again. He has steadied me as I have dusted off mistakes and failures and sins, He has propelled me down the path to new life. It is terribly, terribly, beautiful indeed.
So. Tomorrow is will all go down: England will gain an American princess, and Meghan Markle will gain both a husband and a father, as well as more royal titles than you can shake a stick at. And we ALL get to watch! As a royal geek, I TRULY cannot wait…and I love that Prince Charles has given us this extra-special royal moment to look forward to.