Meghan Markle and Prince Harry got married yesterday in what can be agreed upon to be one of the most beautiful wedding ceremonies. Millions of people across the world watched as high-profile guests walked towards the St.George's Chapel to attend this highly anticipated function. They watched on as the choir sung some beautiful tunes - and they watched how Meghan began her journey down the aisle. Alone.
That's Meghan Markle for you. But we already knew that part. That Meghan will be walking down the first half of the aisle by herself, unescorted by anyone, is a decision that reiterates her image as an independent woman who has carved her own path and walks on it alone, standing tall. It also breaks away from an age old tradition.
Picture Credit: AFP
This again, doesn't come as too much of a surprise. When the news of Meghan and Harry dating broke out, the level of speculation around the couple and their love story was unparalleled. In the midst of that, there were news reports stating that Meghan Markle often hugs the staff at Kensington Palace. TV Executive Bonnie Hammer told NBC that when someone pointed out to Meghan that hugging palace guards wasn't part of the royal protocol, Markle responded with a simple "I am American, I hug".
When I read that post, I was starkly reminded of all those images I have seen over the years of Princess Diana hugging people - children, refugees, AIDS patients. All I have read and seen of Princess Diana showcases the compassion, exuberance and warmth she held inside of her. Paul Burrell in his book 'A Royal Duty' also wrote accounts of how Princess Diana was a consistent deviant when it came to the royal protocol.
Picture Credit: AFP
Meghan Markle is a reformist, an activist - she champions a number of causes including gender equality, menstrual health, human rights, environment et al. And this has been going on since she was 11 (remember that letter she wrote to Hillary Clinton on a sexist advert?). So for someone who is quite vocal about her thoughts and opinions about a lot of issues in the world, following the royal protocol of being "apolitical" may be a hard thing to do. As hard as it was for Diana to follow royal protocol - the woman freely spoke to the press, was an unequivocal advocate for many relevant causes, made bold fashion choices, and didn't give much thought to formal protocols.
Diana raised her sons differently - as kids both William and Harry enjoyed a childhood that included a lot of regular commonplace things. From going to adventure parks to getting a burger at cafes to riding a bus. Both the sons have gone on record to talk about how real their mother kept their lives.
Markle has her work cut out for her. Many are calling her the breath of modernity that the royal family needs. Keeping in touch with old traditions, values and rules is only so great when they are in line with the times and resonated with the ever-changing and evolving human psyche.
Diana was way ahead of her time. And as far as the royals are concerned, we hope Meghan is too. It is one of those moments in life when I wish Princess Diana were alive - it would have been quite a picture - her and Meghan hugging at the wedding, caring more about the moment, and not the royal rulebook they married into.