The Way We Live Now, Monarchy Edition

The number one story in the news in Great Britain (and a major story around the world) is the apparent abandonment of the Royal Family by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, better known as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. The story obviously has a strong personal element, but it also strikes me as emblematic of our time.

The British monarchy is not just ancient, but profoundly old-fashioned. It is founded on a concept of duty, exemplified by Queen Elizabeth II, that is utterly at odds with the 21st century. Being a Royal is a great job, most would say, but it inherently involves sacrifice. The major Royals devote a great deal of time to public service, and the Royal Family is supposed to be above politics.

Meghan Markle, on the other hand, is a perfect exemplar of the 21st century. An American actress, she is, to begin with, a woman, this century’s favored sex. And not only is she very good-looking, she is–the golden ticket of the 21st century–multi-racial. And, a child of a time in which nothing is above politics, she is a highly political animal.

Thus, Meghan is a long time admirer of Hillary Clinton:

Markle has admired Clinton from a young age and even wrote to her when she was just 11 years old to demand her help with getting a “sexist” ad for dishwasher soap taken off TV. At the time, Clinton was the first lady.

That relationship has been resumed now that Meghan is famous:

After Markle opened up about the struggles of being a new mom in the public eye, Clinton expressed her sympathy and respect for the royal.

“Oh my God, I want to hug her. I feel as a mother I just want to put my arms around her,” Clinton recently told the BBC.

She continued, “I want to tell her to hang in there, don’t let those bad guys get you down. Keep going, do what you think is right.”

Who are the “bad guys”? Queen Elizabeth? Prince William? Hillary isn’t just making up the relationship; Meghan reportedly invited Clinton to Frogmore to see baby Archie:

Now this week, the Sussexes’ son reportedly spent time with former first lady and secretary of state Hillary Clinton.

According to the Daily Mail’s Rebecca English, Clinton came to visit Meghan and Archie at Frogmore Cottage on Tuesday.

“Both women have a lot of admiration for each other and it was a very sweet, warm meeting,” a source told English. “They are mutual fan girls!”

It has also been reported that Barack and Michelle Obama have been “advising” Meghan. Oprah Winfrey, too. Once the current controversy broke, however, they all backed off and now deny playing a role. Who knows.

What we do know for sure is that Meghan is a “woke” liberal. She is especially concerned about the environment, of course. So people like Hillary Clinton, the Obamas and Oprah Winfrey may have seen her as a way of importing left-wing politics into the Royal Family. Which isn’t supposed to be political–an impossibility, some would say, in our century.

Prince Harry’s role in this story is unclear. His brother William was quoted today as saying, “I’ve put my arm around my brother all our lives. I can’t do it any more.” Prince William, who with his wife Catherine carries the royal tradition into the next generation, says that he is “sad” that his family is no longer a “team,” but hopes that someday, the current rift can be healed.

Until recently, Harry seemed like anything but a leftist. His scrapes as a young man led to many comparisons with Prince Hal. Later, he became a soldier and fought with distinction in Afghanistan. In conventional ways he is a formidable guy, but most reports suggest that the Duchess is calling the shots these days. Which makes sense, given the modern alignment of forces.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex say they are exploring ways to make money and thereby liberate themselves from the monarchy. This, too, is a classic modern phenomenon. It is also where the Obamas and Oprah Winfrey reportedly came in–advising Harry and Meghan about how to cash in on their “brand.” But they now deny these reports. Be that as it may, I have no doubt that if Harry and Meghan want to get rich, they can do it. As liberals, they have access to the unlimited financial resources of the Left. They can sell their “story.” They can dish the once in a millennium “truth” about the British monarchy, while at the same time cashing in on their status as Duke and Duchess of Sussex. For a left-wing, multi-racial Duchess/actress/activist in the 21st Century, the sky is the limit.

I recently re-read the seven volumes of Proust’s In Search of Lost Time. Proust chronicles the decline of the French aristocracy from the late 19th century through the years following the Great War. In Proust’s vast narrative, the thrusting, middle-class Madame Verdurin winds up, shockingly, as the Princess de Guermantes. In today’s world, that rise is not so surprising. Similarly, the middle-class actress Meghan Markle became the Duchess of Sussex. The 21st century wrinkle is that being a Duchess is by no means the end point of social climbing. Rather, renouncing (more or less) that status in favor of one’s freedom to be a leftist spokesman on behalf of causes like “climate change” is the modern twist on Proust. A twist of which today’s establishment entirely approves.

I don’t know how badly Meghan Markle and her consort Harry have damaged the British monarchy. Not too badly, I hope–the monarchy has been around for something like 1,300 years, give or take. But this meme is a nice commentary on the damage that Meghan and Harry have done:

Twenty-first liberalism is no respecter of history, or of institutions, a fact to which the ascendancy of the Duchess of Sussex bears witness.