Meghanfreude is the glee we feel watching a royal by marriage roil the royal family, and let’s face it, we all have a bad case of it. But let’s not be too hard on ourselves.
Assassinations, climate disasters, pedophilia scandals, Donald Trump—these days we are worn down by so many assaults on decency that there is a certain comfort in wallowing in an antiquated attachment to order and etiquette.
The Queen Is Not LOL
Prince Harry and his wife, an American divorcée and basic-cable-TV actress, are jettisoning their royal-family obligations and bolting to Canada, and the Queen is not LOL. That’s a crisis that is harmless to obsess about.
Never mind that members of the British royal family have been breaking their own rules of propriety for as long as we’ve known them. The Duke of Windsor, Princess Margaret, Charles and Diana, Charles and Camilla, Fergie and Andrew, Fergie and her toe, Andrew and Jeffrey, were all filling the tabloids long before the new generation took up the mantle.
Royal etiquette, unlike virginity, can be breached again and again—and now it is Harry and Meghan’s turn to restore our lack of faith in the monarchy.
And yet. We don’t think it’s quite fair to blame Meghan for the rift in Buckingham Palace. Yes, she may well be a _______________ (your word here). Still, for every femme fatale there is an homme faible, a powerful man who seems to have everything but selects the one woman so unsuitable that she will blow up his life—because he is too weak to do it himself. Edward VIII chose Wallis, John found Yoko, and Harry met Meghan. (And, yes, that’s a lot of French words, but you try to find le mot juste at a time like this.)
Now it’s Harry and Meghan’s turn to restore our lack of faith in the monarchy.
As always in a British meltdown, we turned to Stuart Heritage to make sense of it, and he takes the historic view.
We have another royal story, and this one is quite cheering: Queen Silvia of Sweden has teamed up with Ikea to create pre-fab senior-housing facilities that will cater to people with dementia. (We’ve pre-booked.)
But we haven’t neglected other flash points of the moment. Alexandra Marshall takes on Gwyneth Paltrow’s No. 2, also known as Goop’s chief enabler, the woman who encourages the boss to sell scented candles with the name “This Smells Like My Vagina.”
As Australia burns, Amy Ephron gives us a harrowingly precise description of what it’s like to be caught in a fire calamity.
And the conductor John Mauceri explains what’s really missing in the new production of West Side Story, and it isn’t Meghan and Harry singing “Somewhere, there’s a place for us....” So, for the answers to all these mysteries: read on.