High Life

Blue Blood Blunder

January 13, 2018

Multiple Pages
Blue Blood Blunder

Had she claimed to be 100 percent African-American, or to be lesbian, transgender, or simply bisexual, the adoration would have been even more pronounced. If she had a criminal record, the perverse New York Times would have gone bananas in praising her to the skies. Not to mention the politically correct British media, such as the BBC, that would have groveled in ways that would shame Uriah Heep.

Alas, she is only 50 percent black, divorced only once, and three years older than the 33-year-old groom. The future Princess Harry of Wales, or Duchess of Sussex, as some royal tipsters are predicting, is still plain Miss Meghan Markle, an American gal who until recently was a small-time actress who appeared on something called Suits. Personally, I had never heard of her until I stopped in London late last year before Buckingham Palace had made the announcement that Harry, fifth in line to the throne, was to marry MM. A couple of upper-class friends with what the Brits call handles to their names—titles—said there was no way a woman of her background would be accepted as a royal. Then came the announcement, and newspapers and the BBC reverted to type. They bowed low, very low, to political correctness and announced that there is nothing better in the whole wide world than a divorced small-time actress of mixed blood.

“Snobs like Evelyn Waugh must be really turning over in their graves.”

Everyone, that is, except Britain’s oldest weekly, the one I’ve been writing for these past forty years, The Spectator. One of our stars, Melanie McDonagh, was a lone voice in pointing out that Ms. Markle, “a groomed and glossy Netflix celebrity,” may not be the best role model for young women. Melanie is a good woman and has the guts to write about Palestinian rights, a real no-no where PC is concerned, as Jewish groups immediately label one a ferocious anti-Semite. Never mind. The English being English, lazy and absentminded and laid-back, no sooner had Melanie written what she had than a vicar reading her article got things mixed up and announced to his flock that Prince Harry was getting hitched to Angela Merkel, thus Brexit would be canceled, to say the least.

Go figure, as they say in Oxford! Mind you, the blue-blood obsession that had Wallis Simpson force Edward VIII’s resignation because she was a divorced woman has gone the way of high button shoes. Blue bloods all over Europe married cousins since the time of Charlemagne; no longer. Now it’s money that counts, and the aristocracy as well as royalty look for just that, plus fame. Celebrity, rather. Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and future queen, broke the ice. Having had a divorce and a racy past, she has been forgiven by the British public, which now resemble their American cousins in more ways than one. Rock stars are the new royals in Britain, as they are in the good old U.S.A., and Camilla’s nephew, a buddy of mine, is married to a rock star’s daughter. Princess Anne’s daughter, Zara, is married to a rugby player, and Freddy Windsor, the queen’s nephew, is married to a minor TV starlet, Sophie Winkleman, one I have chased tirelessly as well as unsuccessfully for a long time.

European aristocracy ranks just below European royalty, although in Britain’s case, the aristocracy is far older than the Hanoverians who are now called Windsors. Until the last century, when British aristos came over to these shores and married rich American lassies, the aristocracy was a club closed to all except their own kind. Today aristocrats are out to marry anyone with money to spare, and if those anyones are celebrities, so much the better. Snobs like Evelyn Waugh, who wrote about madcap aristocrats and their follies, must be really turning over in their graves. Today’s Charles Ryder more resembles Rex Mottram in his search for an ideal wife, celebrity and money replacing blue blood and tradition.

Everyone, even a writer for The Spectator by the noble name of Harry Mount, has called this state of affairs marvelous: the fact that class barriers of the past have been replaced by barriers of money and fame, even beauty. I am not among them. When aristocrats ruled the roost, the world’s nouveaux riches tried to emulate them and aped their manners. Now that the new rich and famous have replaced the aristocracy, manners have gone down the toilet quicker than you can flush one during a diarrhea epidemic.

And another thing: Meghan Markle might be the choice du jour for the vulgar media and PC hypocrites, but I took a look at her mother and she don’t look so good, as they used to say in Brooklyn before the yuppies invaded. Prince Harry is not too shifty upstairs, and like his uncle Prince Andrew, who married a red-haired wench who was photographed having her toes licked by an American hustler while he was doing sea duty, he will, I’m afraid, live to regret it. But I hope not. At least he won’t be the first royal to divorce. Everyone in his immediate family is divorced except Prince Edward, the one everyone thought was gay, and his brother. Go figure, as they say in Windsor Castle.

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