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When Prince William married Catherine Middleton in 2011 after a 10 year courtship, there was still aristocratic murmurings that she wasn’t good enough. A descendant of coal miners and the daughter of a former air stewardess, Kate Middleton was deemed a calculating commoner who had orchestrated the love affair with help of her mother. Prince Harry on the other hand, who demonstrated a fondness for ‘well bred’ blondes from the off, could be relied upon to pick an ‘appropriate’ blue-blooded bride from the inner set when the time came. Or could he?
This week news broke that the 5th in line to the throne has fallen for a mixed race American actress called Meghan Markle. The pair are reported to have met in May at the Invictus Games in Toronto and have been in the first throes of a relationship ever since. Rumours began to circulate that 35 year-old Meghan spent a week at Harry’s Kensington Palace apartment during the summer and has already met William and Catherine – who wholly approve. Like Catherine, Meghan’s background doesn’t quite meet the traditional criteria set out for a future Princess. But, the strict rules of royal courtship have been altered more in the last 50 years than ever before. So, can Meghan Markle make a place for herself at the palace?
In 2011, the same year Catherine married Prince William at Westminster Abbey, Meghan married movie producer Trevor Engelson. But the union wasn’t to be and two short years later the couple filed for divorce. With three of the Queen’s four children divorced and the future King married to a divorcee, there wouldn’t be much grounds for Megan’s failed marriage holding Harry back.
Meghan is Roman Catholic and was privately educated at a Catholic school in LA. Until recently, royals were not able to marry Catholics unless they relinquished all rights to the throne. However, on 26 March 2016 The Succession to the Crown Act ended the disqualification of a person who married a Roman Catholic from the line of succession, and removed the requirement of those outside the first six persons in line to seek the Queen’s permission to marry – as Prince Edward did before he married Sophie Countess of Wessex. Yet the monarch must remain head of the Church of England, so any children born in line to the throne have to be christened Church of England too. Prince Harry will have to hope Meghan wasn’t planning on passing her faith to any future children.
Things that we imagine won’t be looked on favourably by the Queen:
Cosmetic surgery…The royals are renowned for growing old gracefully. Meghan’s surgically enhanced cleavage is unlikely to go unnoticed.
Capitalising on the fame…News of the relationship coincided with the launch of Meghan’s first fashion line days later. Impeccable timing if you ask us.