The royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle was one of the few bright spots in this past year of pretty bleak world events, so I don't even want to imagine a reality in which it never happened. However, Us Weekly reports that a new book by royal correspondent Robert Jobson, Charles at 70: Thoughts, Hopes and Dreams, forces readers to reckon with the possibility that not only could there have been no Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, but no Prince Harry, period.
Jobson writes that Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer, parents of Harry and William, had second thoughts about their marriage before the knot had even been tied. Charles reportedly felt pressured into marrying the 19-year-old by his father, telling his friends years after the wedding, "I desperately wanted to get out of the wedding in 1981, when during the engagement I discovered just how awful the prospects were, having had no chance to get to know Diana beforehand."
The media was so thrilled with the proposal that there was no way to back out without creating more of a splash, Jobson explains in the book. The couple divorced in 1996. Diana died in a car crash a year later.
However, Jobson says the couple's marriage wasn't entirely hopeless. The two were close after the birth of their sons, William in June of 1982 and Harry in September of 1984, who would then go on to have marriages of their own. William and wife Kate Middleton dated for around eight years before finally marrying in 2011 and being anointed the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (now the Duke and Duchess of Sussex) spent almost two years falling in love before making it royally official this past May.
The marriage between Harry and Meghan is emblematic of a modern shift in the British monarchy. Not only is Markle American and biracial, her public appearances are more than just photo opps. This past weekend, she took a strong feminist stance in a speech delivered on the 125th anniversary of women receiving the right to vote in New Zealand, despite the fact that the royal family is discouraged from publicly speaking about politics.
"Women’s suffrage is about feminism, but feminism is about fairness. The achievements of the women of New Zealand who campaigned for their right to vote, and were the first in the world to achieve it, are universally admired," Markle said, later adding, “Women’s suffrage is not simply about the right to vote for women. [It is] also about what that represents: the basic and fundamental human right of all people, including those members of society who have been marginalized whether for reasons of race, gender, ethnicity, or orientation, to be able to participate in the choices for their future and their community."
The world is certainly receptive to fresh take on royalty, with Prince Harry and Meghan's wedding garnering 29.2 million viewers across all networks, according to Recode. Now that's a marriage story worth writing a book about.