A year and a half ago, I left my life in sunny California to move to London, where I, an opinionated, loud-talking American working in the entertainment industry, married a British man. He wasn’t a prince, but he felt like one to me, and I’ve since attempted to understand British life and history, much of which is entrenched in inexplicable traditions — none of which are more inexplicable to me than the country’s enduring fascination with all things royal.
I’ve never understood the appeal of the royal family, nor have I succumbed to the obsession around their existence. My mother-in-law knows all that can be known about the royal family and can explain every detail of their history. But I’ve never been able to connect. I didn’t tune in when Kate Middleton married Prince William; I watched “The Crown” only because I’d been hired to write articles about it. I constantly ask my friends and family in England to explain why the royal family matters and why they care. I didn’t, at least not until the arrival of Meghan Markle.
The media has made much of the stark juxtaposition of Markle and her new in-laws. The British royal family is rooted in centuries of rigid, historical tradition. Markle is American — from free-spirited California, home of avocado toast and kale — and she’s divorced, biracial and opinionated. She wants a wedding cake that veers far off course from the fruit cakes of yore. She’s a working actress. And she’s older than Prince Harry, a fact that is apparently jarring to many. To an older generation (and some younger ones), these facts are not viewed positively. But Markle is a reminder that life doesn’t have to go exactly one way. And that’s a good thing.
My husband is 10 years younger than me, a fact that only becomes apparent when I make an ’80s reference and then realize he wasn’t alive in the ’80s. Most people don’t know our age difference unless they’re explicitly told (and then the reaction is typically a shocked open mouth, followed by a drawn out “What…?”). I don’t find the fact that I’m a decade further into existence than