Let's all channel Meghan and Harry this year
Set! Those! Boundaries! (And find a partner who will hold them with you)
|Jan 10|| 10|
I am not exactly a Royal Family watcher, but good God I love Meghan Markle and her handsome ginger husband. Watching them push the envelope — however gently — of royal tradition has been so exciting. The wedding with the gospel singers and that oh-my-goodness sermon from Michael Curry! That she insists on talking about menstruation taboos! That she was a baby feminist! I absolutely unabashedly love her. I love that you can tell how much Prince Harry loves her. I love her beautiful mom, who exudes warmth even through a television screen (I want to be her mom, or at least take a yoga class with her mom). I cried when she cried during that BBC interview. And of course I have the same dumb human response to ridiculous human beauty that so many of us do — I just love her perfect face and her perfect clothes, and literally every time I see a photo of her I actually pause to admire it. Never has a human being looked so great in taupe.
Meghan also seems very fundamentally decent, doesn’t she? Like she’s just a fundamentally kind and emotionally evolved person who wants to do the right thing? So it’s been so sad and depressing to see the British media go full-on racist at her. It’s been sad to see her life so systematically picked apart, even without the racism. In many ways, her life is privileged and charmed. But I wouldn’t want it — unable to speak your mind, hounded by paparazzi, your family under a microscope, everything you say granularly analyzed. Her clothes are beautiful and she gets to travel the world. But I’m not sure it’s all that enjoyable.
But it seems like Meghan isn’t having it. She knows she has to walk a tightrope here — that expectations for her are frankly higher than for even the few other women in similar positions; that there are legions just salivating for her to make a mistake; that she has to remain “likable” and properly respectful in face of tremendously bad behavior and disrespect.
She can’t assert what she wants all on her own — the public would never have it. And so that’s where her husband comes in. It’s been Harry who has raged at the press for their poor treatment of her. It’s been Harry who has been negotiating with his family over the decision to spend part of the year in North America. I would guess it was Harry to broached the no-royal-title for Archie thing with the Queen. They strike me as a true unit, where her voice and her desires factor in nearly as much as his family obligations — and given that his family is the literal House of Windsor, that’s a pretty big deal.
Just as big: He goes to bat for her, and the public knows it. He’s the one who deals with his family to get closer to what’s best for them as a couple.
That should be a marital basic, not something praise-worthy, but lemme tell you: As an avid reader of advice columns, it seems wives the world over are somehow tasked with being the whole-family logisticians and emotional mediators, including in disputes with their in-laws, while their husbands, I dunno, play Fortnite in the other room. This is obviously a bullshit way of doing things, and yet it persists. Which is another reason why it’s so gratifying to watch how Meghan and Harry are navigating this: They haven’t designated her the family’s Chief Relationships Officer. They made a decision together, they announced it publicly together, and they are maintaining this boundary together, as a single unified entity. And then he’s the one tasked with dealing with his angry family.
It’s telling, then, that the media has christened their departure “Megxit.” Maybe it’s not that women take on this relational and emotional mediator work all on their own volition.
In reality, the couple has stood hand in hand on this — it’s as much Harry stepping back from his duties as Meghan. What an absolute delight to watch an example of egalitarian-ish partnership on the world stage, in a family that represents one of the least egalitarian institutions on the planet. What an absolute delight to see a couple that seems really, truly happy together making an entirely reasonable decision — we’re going to move to a new city and support ourselves — and standing firm.
And what a lesson.
I’m really rooting for these kids.