Friday 22 March 2019

Lindy McDowell: Meghan hasn't been vilified by the media... she and Harry need to visit her father

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle drive off in an E-Type Jaguar after their wedding
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle drive off in an E-Type Jaguar after their wedding
Clooney thinks the media pursue Meghan like Diana
Thomas Markle on Good Morning Britain
Thomas Markle, left, and Meghan Markle, right
Meghan at the Drapers' Hall in London, Britain. Photo Tolga Akmen/Pool via Reuters
Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (R) and Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, reacts as they visit Bristol Old Vic theatre in Bristol, south-west England on February 1, 2019
Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (R) and Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex visit Bristol Old Vic theatre in Bristol, south-west England on February 1, 2019
Meghan chats to guests at the annual Endeavour Fund Awards at Drapers Hall, London. Photo: Tolga Akmen/PA Wire
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend the Endeavour Fund awards at Drapers' Hall on February 7, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Tolga Akmen - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Lindy McDowell

Meghan Markle: the soap opera. In this week's omnibus instalment the Duchess of Sussex (previously Rachel in Suits) is thrilled to discover that a group of anonymous friends have talked to a US magazine describing her as kind and nurturing.

They also tell the mag how she'd written a loving and conciliatory letter to her estranged father.

Inevitably, news of this disclosure enrages Da Markle, who hits back saying that the letter was nothing of the sort. To back up his claims he spills its contents.

Meanwhile Meg's friend George Clooney (star of the Nespresso ad) enters the fray, blasting the media who, he says, have "vilified" her.

This only provides further fuel for Clan Markle with Meg's bitter half-sister lashing out telling him to "be quiet Georgie".

Will George do as she says? Will Thomas Markle reveal more?

And will the royal family ever learn?

It's not as if the royals don't have considerable previous experience. Back in the era of annus horribilis Prince Charles famously lamented how events chez the House of Windsor were being viewed as soap opera.

Thomas Markle on Good Morning Britain
Thomas Markle on Good Morning Britain

And now, like the rebooted Cold Feet, the Warring Windsors may be back for a whole new series.

At the centre of this updated drama is the duchess and the dilemma of how to deal with her indiscreet family. The royal family have any number of experienced advisers to call upon. It is bewildering how the current drama has been allowed to spin so out of control.

Meghan has attracted some truly vicious and vile online abuse which no one should ever be subject to. That must be very difficult to deal with, particularly for a young, pregnant woman still learning the ropes of her royal role.

But she is also a public figure. Interest in her comes with the territory.

Despite what Mr Clooney says, she has not been vilified by the media. Coverage is generally positive, kindly and very often gushing.

Meghan mostly makes headlines because of her family fall-out. And how this has been so woefully mishandled.

Did it not occur to her friends when they talked to the US magazine about the contentious letter that this would most likely prompt Thomas Markle to release the thing?

Or - dark thought - was that actually their intention?

Markle Senior has been roundly condemned for making the letter public. In his defence, though, it is not the loving "reaching out" claimed by Meghan's mates.

In parts it reads more like a "cease and desist" notice.

Meghan is known to be keen on calligraphy and her missive is written in a particularly ornate cursive script. But all those careful, measured, fussy little flicks swirling from consonants seem somehow at odds with a spontaneous outpouring purportedly from a broken heart. A heart broken indeed, "into a million pieces".

Unlike her father's heart which merely required stents.

Which brings us to the bewildering bit ...

You're writing to your beloved father whom you haven't seen since his hospitalisation and your marriage. Angry at him or not, wouldn't your first words be 'Dear Daddy, how are you?'

The letter is all about Meghan's hurt. Not her father's health.

And why did she choose to write to him instead of, say, giving him a call? Or, perish the thought, flying over to see him?

I don't think Thomas Markle has behaved at all well. But it's truly puzzling why no effort appears to have been made to bring the man on board.

Prince Harry has never met his own father-in-law. Meghan hasn't been near her "dear daddy" since her wedding.

The likelihood now is that the transatlantic sniping between Meghan and the Markles will only escalate.

And the mystery is why the royals - and their advisers - are, like the rest of us, just sitting back and watching what happens next.

Belfast Telegraph

Also in this section