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30th Apr 2018

I watched ‘Harry & Meghan: A Very Modern Romance’ and now I’m embarrassingly excited about the Royal Wedding

Turns out they're charming as hell

Ciara Knight

Damn those charming Royals, damn them to h*ck.

An email appeared in my inbox about a rousing documentary called ‘Harry & Meghan: A Very Modern Romance’. At first, I chuckled at such a concept. Their romance isn’t modern, it’s a very standard coincidence. Eager to learn more, I accepted the offer of a preview of the documentary. Mostly, I wanted it for impure intentions, the usual snarky stuff about how the world is in turmoil and we’ve never strayed further from God’s light than right now in this very moment. To my absolute horror, reader, I enjoyed it. Furthermore, I think I might love Harry and Meghan Markle both individually and as a unit. I am a stranger to myself and those around me. This is not how I saw my day going.

The documentary starts with a voiceover reading excerpts from Meghan’s blog, The Tig, followed by a bunch of talking heads sharing tales of Meghan’s upbringing. Her mother was a yoga teacher and psychotherapist while her father was an Emmy-award winning lighting director. Between them, a very well lit yoga studio / psychotherapist’s office is surely in the works after the whole wedding thing calms down, thirty-one years divorced aside.

It’s clear from the beginning of the documentary that we’re going to get to know these two people before they met each other (Meghan more so than Harry), then learn how they fused their lives together from the moment they connected. I began to question whether I’d learn anything I didn’t already know about these two people, when the big guns were drawn like clockwork. Meghan Markle’s Dad won the lottery! He won $750,000, which is something I almost felt angry about not knowing before now. As this piece of trivia began to imprint itself into the useless information section of my brain, I could practically hear the tabloid headlines furiously scribbling themselves onto grubby napkins. ‘MEGHAN MARKLE WON THE LOTTERY, BUT SO DID HER DAD’, ‘JACKPOT: MARKLE FAMILY’S DOUBLE WIN’, ‘LUCK STRIKES AGAIN FOR THIS AMERICAN FAMILY’ etc. God I hate the media.

Surprisingly, it wasn’t until a respectable ten minutes into the documentary that the D word propped up. Divorced. Meghan Markle is divorced, in case you didn’t know. Yes, she has been married before, but is no longer married. Also she is mixed race, did you know that as well? Okay, just checking. She is also a human woman but that’s at the bottom of a long list of her attributes. David Lammy said “It’s hugely important that the first family of the nation looks like the nation”, which thankfully brought some logic back into the documentary. He speaks of how his own children, who are mixed race, will be watching the Royal Wedding and seeing a princess who looks like them, which had me on the brink of experiencing some sort of emotion. Meghan Markle marrying Prince Harry is actually quite a momentous thing.

Richard Kay, Royal commentator for the Daily Mail, mentions that The Queen must be quite pleased with Prince William and Harry’s “successes of their marriages in the way that her own children signally failed”, which is an incredibly catty yet valid statement. William and Harry, so far, have absolutely smashed the whole marriage thing and brought some credibility back to the sanctity of matrimony, especially at a time when locating and copulating with another person can be done in minutes using just a mobile phone. Three out of four of the Queen’s children are divorced, but her grandchildren are bringing it right back around. Elder millennials are more powerful than we ever truly imagined.

The best part of the documentary falls into a category which I like to call People Speculating As To Whether Diana Would’ve Liked Meghan Or Not. Unsurprisingly, the overwhelming consensus is that she would have adored Meghan. This is based on no knowledge whatsoever of Diana’s personal taste in suitors for her sons, but more on the few parallels that are continuously drawn between the two: charity work. Meghan does charity work, Diana did charity work, ergo they are kindred souls. Diana would’ve loved Meghan because they both have done good things. Case closed. For what it’s worth, I think Diana probably would’ve liked her, but there is literally no way to know so we can all quite literally just give up the ghost now.

Halfway through the documentary, we get to see a clip of Meghan Markle at the UN Women’s Conference in 2015 where she spoke about how she got the copy on a TV advert for dishwashing liquid changed from ‘Women all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans’ to ‘People all over America…’. At eleven years of age, Meghan recognised sexism and went about calling it out and achieving a higher standard from a company that should’ve known better, which is pretty fucking cool. This is the kind of information I want to hear, rather than how she’s been divorced or didn’t quite fit in at school. When people stop digging for dirt and describe her like a regular human, it turns out that Meghan Markle is a bit of a boss and has been for quite some time.

Meghan’s charity work involves providing water and sanitation in disadvantaged countries, which deservedly gets a strong mention in the documentary. She’s been at this work since long before she met Prince Harry and is expected to use her newfound platform to amplify these areas in which she feels incredibly passionate about improving. That’s what a 2018 princess looks like and if that’s something that young girls are looking up to, that’s a very decent thing. Harry is heavily involved in charity work overseas as well, founding Sentebale, a charity aimed at combatting the stigma attached to HIV and AIDS in developing countries. Between them, Harry and Meghan are hopefully going to do some incredible things for those less fortunate and that was rightfully a large focus of the documentary. At this point, I felt my shoulders loosening. Was I… enjoying myself?

William and Harry’s closeness is touched on as well, and how the previous threesome of them and Kate will now transform into a powerful foursome. Their recent appearance at the first ever Royal Foundation Forum showed a glimpse of how the ‘Fantastic Four’ are going to work together to inspire change in the world. It’s an exciting time for the Royal Family as we’re watching them enter a new era filled with younger spokespeople, activism and a genuine enthusiasm to make the world a slightly better place, using their power for far more than securing decent seats at Wimbledon.

We’re reminded that the main difference between Meghan and any other Royal-to-be is that she’s got experience in the fame department. She’s been dealing with the media since she was 23, and is well versed on how to conduct herself in the public eye. If anyone can handle the utterly insane lifestyle that is Royalty, surely it’s Meghan Markle. I found myself rooting for a couple that don’t require me to do so. They’ve got it all sewn up, which is likely the source of their appeal. They’re just two people in love that are very much together in themselves, but it’s nice to feel excited about something. They might not change the world, but they can set an example of the good that Royals have the power to do. Nobody knows what relevance the Royal Family has in society anymore, but they’re paving the way for something different than before.

Overall, the documentary is really endearing. I expected to hate it, as these made-for-TV shows are usually just a bunch of talking heads speculating the Royals’ every waking thought. While it was exactly that, the narrative was delightful. Rather than trying to dig up some pointless gossip about the time Meghan once forgot to clear her tray after eating at McDonalds, they gave her a fair chance. Goddamnit, I am excited for the Royal Wedding. I like Meghan and Prince Harry’s attitude towards being Royalty and ffs, I’m looking forward to this bloody wedding.

The UK television premiere of Harry & Meghan: A Very Modern Romance airs this Saturday, 12th May at 6:00pm on True Entertainment (Freeview 61, Sky 182, Freesat 142, Virgin 189)