In the two minutes it will take Meghan Markle to walk down the aisle of St. George’s Chapel on Saturday to marry Britain’s Prince Harry, the totems of tradition that have marked British royal marriages for decades, if not centuries, will topple once and for all.
Markle is a commoner — more shocking, an American. She’s black, she’s divorced and, at 36, she’s the older woman. (Harry is 33.) And she’s an actress; Markle just logged her final season on the TV legal drama “Suits.” A few monarchs ago, “actress” would have been one rung above strumpet.
From all appearances, none of this matters to Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles or any of the other members of the royal family. Less than a century ago, King Edward VIII felt compelled to abdicate his throne to marry an American divorcee (Wallis Simpson). As recently as the ’80s, Charles, supposedly, felt pressured into marriage with the proper, unblemished Diana — a miserable mismatch.