In the beginning, there was the “Markle Sparkle.” And then, there was the “Markle Bombshell.”
This week, tens of millions were glued to their screens, whether big or small, to watch a biracial woman who married into genuine royalty (not just its metaphor) in a fairy-tale wedding three years ago, open up that once upon a time in a faraway land, she “just didn’t want to be alive anymore.”
Someone who lives in a Palace with an adoring, good-looking husband by her side and a tiara on her head — not happy?
“But I knew that if I didn’t say it, that I would do it — and I just didn’t want to be alive anymore,” said Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, who dropped bombshell after bombshell in a tell-all interview with “Queen of Talk” Oprah Winfrey on CBS aired in the US Sunday (March 8 in Manila). The bombshell included royal concerns about the color of her son’s skin and the decision not to give him the title of “prince” or official security.
I have not seen the interview in its entirety, just snippets of it here and there, though I downloaded the CBS app last Monday. That’s how much I wanted to see the purported tell-all (it wasn’t a dud). Perhaps, seeing a real-life episode of The Crown was just too much to resist.
Mea culpa. I guess I am one of those who are part of the vicious cycle of wanting more than a peek into the lives of stars, princes and princesses, thus fueling the drive of the press to report on them, to train the spotlight on them, to gain “scoops” and money shots from trailing them.
And ironically again, the very people these same stars shun when their privacy is violated are also the same people they seek when they need a platform and a pulpit. (We need each other, for crying out loud — we just have to curb our excesses — “we” being the subjects, the press, and the public. I belong to a subset that combines the latter two.)
According to CNN, “The interview had been relentlessly previewed in the media over recent days, drawing comparisons with a royal tell-all given by Harry’s mother, Princess Diana, in 1995, which shed light on the breakdown of her marriage to Charles.”
In the Oprah interview, Harry confessed his relationship with his father Prince Charles was also on the rocks, the latter refusing to take his calls after he stepped back from his royal duties last year. “There’s a lot to work through here,” Harry said. “I feel really let down, because he’s been through something similar. He knows what pain feels like, and Archie’s his grandson. At the same time, of course, I will always love him. But there’s a lot of hurt that’s happened.”
Of his brother, William, whom I imagine he was terribly close to growing up because they had to support and comfort each other after the death of their beloved mum in 1997 — sometimes I felt they had this “You and me against the world bond” — Harry admitted, “We’re on different paths.
“The relationship is space at the moment,” he continued, adding, “And time heals all things, hopefully.”
As much as I sympathize with Meghan and Harry and honor their truths, let me also say this of Prince William: He has shown admirable fidelity to duty. He is “Elizabeth III,” so to speak, in the way he stays the course, in the way he shows a detachment from drama, in the way he is acutely aware of how his devotion to his role will save the royal family, and ultimately, the monarchy.
Despite his travails, Harry seems to continue to enjoy a relationship with the Queen.
“My grandmother and I have a really good relationship, and an understanding, and I have a deep respect for her,” Harry said. Meghan told Oprah that she has spoken to the Queen often in the past year, including on the day that Prince Philip was admitted to hospital last month.
According to the New York Times, “While the British tabloids like to cast Meghan in the villainous role of the Duchess of Windsor — the American divorcée who lured away their king in 1936 and lived with him in bitter exile, causing an irreparable family rift — Harry and Meghan seem determined to position her instead as a latter-day Diana, a woman mistreated by her in-laws, more sinned against than sinning.”
“What I was seeing was history repeating itself,” Harry said.
“Touching back on when you asked me what my mom would think of this, I think she saw it coming. And I felt her presence throughout this whole process,” Harry told Oprah. “For me, I’m just really relieved and happy to be sitting here with you, with my wife by my side, because I can’t begin to imagine what it must’ve been like for her to go through this process by herself all those years ago.
“I’ve got all my mum left me and without that we would not be able to do this,” Harry said. According to BBC News, Harry and his brother, Prince William, received the bulk of the £13-million fortune left by their mother when she died.
One royal watcher commented that she believes that the real fairytale was not the razzmatazz that followed their wedding, it is that Harry and Meghan, against all odds, are still going strong together, and creating their own happily-after-after.
At the end of the day, my sister Dr. Geraldine Mayor, a psychiatrist who stresses she is speaking only in her capacity as someone who watched the show and not as a professional, says she believes that both Harry and Meghan “are being true to themselves.”
“Harry was asserting his role as his family’s protector,” she said.
As a professional, she says: “I will always root for the individual over the institution.” She also says anyone who has suicidal thoughts and cries for help should be given help.
After watching the interview along with millions of others, one royal watcher commented that she believes that the real fairytale was not the razzmatazz that followed Harry and Meghan’s wedding, the carriage ride, the little biracial girl winning her prince against all odds.
The real fairytale, she said, is that Harry and Meghan, against all odds, are still going strong together, and creating their own happily-after-after.
Following is the statement released by the Buckingham Palace on March 10, 2021:
“The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan. The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately.
“Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much-loved family members.”
Banner and thumbnail caption: Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle bare their heart and soul to Oprah Winfrey in a two-hour interview. AFP photo