At 10am yesterday morning, after weeks of fevered speculation, a statement was finally released by the Prince of Wales, confirming what we had all hoped – that Prince Harry was engaged to marry Meghan Markle. On a very chilly, wintry November morning, the engaged couple made their way to Kensington Palace’s Sunken Garden to prove to the world that it was true – the world’s most eligible bachelor was off the market, and on the arm of a woman who is going to change the face of the royal family in the way that her soon to be mother in law once did. This girl has got charisma and heart in buckets.
With a photocall that proved their genuine connection and joy, Harry and Meghan brought a new sparkle to the House of Windsor – and not just with the three diamond sparkler on Ms Markle’s finger. If Charles and Diana’s engagement announcement can be remembered as awkward and formal, then this one will be remembered as natural, warm and full of promise. Not even William and Kate’s announcement can hold a flame to this dancing fire of cosy togetherness.
Meghan’s American easy nature and willingness to share brought anecdotes of the couple’s life to us all, from corgis lying on her feet at a tea with the Queen to the surprise proposal over a roast chicken. This exuberance and friendliness came through the television like that breath of fresh air we all talk about – the magic of being a people person just like Diana once was. Harry and Meghan brought us in to their Nottingham Cottage with tiny glimpses of the life they are sharing and the plans they make, in a way that makes us invest in them and their connection to us.
It is this connection with the people which makes the monarchy survive, and which some members of the family, in their eagerness to seek privacy, sometimes fail to see. It isn’t that we need to know the Queen uses Tupperware at breakfast. It is that we need to see the human side of their characters, and their willingness to share a small part of their ups and downs with us – their extended family and nation.
With her ‘boots on the ground’ mentality, Meghan has already engaged with the role she now must undertake – that of an ambassador for the country she will marry along with her prince. For we will all be metaphorically standing at the altar with Harry, as she walks up the aisle – and her promise to him is also a promise to us. As Diana embraced this role with natural warmth and dedication, Meghan also proves that, with her background in humanitarian and women’s rights work, she will do the same.
There may be those who feel it is Meghan’s career as an actor, her mixed race heritage or her divorced past that will have an impact on the royal family. But for me, none of that matters. As the lady herself said yesterday, this is just ‘noise’. The real truth is that she will impact the family with a new vigour – confidence, kindness and commitment.
And that can only be a good thing – for us for them and most importantly, for Harry.
You can watch the whole engagement interview here.