The summer of Meghan Markle and all the tired ways we talk about royal women

 smh.com.au  8/11/2018 1:46:00 PM  2

The first summer of Meghan Markle's royalty is coming to an end and, as a diligent student of her tabloid coverage, here is what I have learned: She is going to Balmoral for the queen's summer holiday, and that will be a test. She had her first solo outing with the Queen, in Cheshire, and that was a test. She crossed her legs and not her ankles once in public, and that was a test she failed, but then she sat next to the toilets in the economy section of an airplane when she flew to the south of France and that was a test she passed.

Meghan Markle at Wimbledon.

Meghan Markle at Wimbledon.

Photo: Reuters

In the narrative of Meghan and Queen Elizabeth II, the Queen is like Regina George in Mean Girls, sneakily setting up little mean-girl tests for Meghan the way we decided Queen Elizabeth did for Diana and then Camilla and then Kate, because naturally a 92-year-old monarch's primary concern is hazing her granddaughter-in-law.

This one time, Meghan didn't know whether to let the Queen get into a car first, so she asked, and this was somehow mortifying. Meghan likes pasta, but the Queen doesn't serve it at her table, and will Meghan be able to survive one meal without pasta, or will she, like most people deprived of pasta for one meal, wither into an empty husk as she wails, "Rigatoni. Rigatoni."?

Three months ago when Meghan married Prince Harry, everyone speculated that the presence of a divorced biracial American 30-something would forever change the monarchy. This column was going to attempt to evaluate that endeavour, and what I have discovered in my research is that this past weekend was Meghan's birthday and she wore a colourblock dress from Club Monaco and accidentally flashed her bra.

Royal watching is seen as a silly sport, but it's actually a controlled science experiment. To examine the first three months of Meghan Markle's royalty is to have an unfettered look at the tired stories we tell about women when they're not allowed to rebut the narrative.

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