A very chilly morning in Nottingham saw the debut of a new royal star – as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle began their first joint royal engagement since their announcement on Monday.
With the type of warm pizzazz not seen from a royal lady since 1997, Meghan approached the waiting crowds with a big smile and huge appreciation for their friendly welcome. Whether with Harry beside her, or dealing with the crowd alone, she oozed confidence and seemed like she had slipped in to the royal role just as easily as Cinderella’s dainty foot once slid in to her glass slipper.
Markle, however, is no fairytale maiden. She is already a self-made woman, who has travelled the world on humanitarian visits and spoken at the UN as a self-declared feminist. She does not need Harry to prop her up or lead the way. She has got it sorted, and her eagerness to get out there and meet the people already speaks volumes about her perception of her role and how she intends to go about her future work.
This royal fiancee is hands on, with her sleeves already metaphorically rolled up. She has said previously that she does not want to be a lady who lunches but a woman who works. Harry has chosen someone who will give him personal joy along with providing him with a professional team player. She has his way with people, his sense of fun and his determination to make a difference.
Their team is going to be the best thing to hit the royal family since Diana looked out from under her swept fringe and started shaking the hands of the people without wearing gloves. Her son has inherited that down to earth yet sparkling way with people -and he has chosen a partner who will join him in that mission.
While certain forums and parts of the media seem determined to dismiss Ms. Markle as a ‘princess pushy’ or unfit for royal life, she has answered that in the best way she can – by going out there, doing a first class job and winning people over. There can be no better way to answer critics than to silence them with your success. Just as her eleven year old self once wrote to the First Lady to complain about the sexist language used in a dish soap commercial, Meghan Markle’s clear self belief shows a predilection for doing what is right, doing what needs to be done and doing it with style.
In comparison to her future sister in law, Kate, who still seems nervous and unsure in her public role, Meghan’s professional capabilities are a refreshing change – and just what is needed from a modern woman coping with a very traditional family in a somewhat already defined role. Her ability to embrace tradition yet still sprinkle enough contemporary magic to appeal to old and young is what will help the monarchy to survive and evolve in the way it must, if it is to continue to play a part in our future as a nation. And for that, Her Majesty the Queen must be breathing a large sigh of welcome relief.