19 May 2018

Royal wedding: The sequel to 'Kate and Wills 2011'

5:17 pm on 19 May 2018

By James Nokise*

Opinion - "Dearly beloved, we have gathered here today to get through this thing called life...Let's go crazy!" - Prince (no relation).

Meghan Markle.

Meghan Markle. Photo: STEVE PARSONS / POOL / AFP

Like the Christmas episode of Shortland Street - it all comes down to this.

Prince Harry - whose ginger locks have lead to the questioning of his 'Windsorness' - is getting married to US actress Meghan Markle - whose multicultural background has lead to questions as to whether there is a bottom of the barrel for British tabloids.

This royal wedding is the anticipated sequel to 'Kate and Wills 2011' - the reality show watched by more than 37 million viewers. Those are Kardashian level ratings. It's entirely possible Kanye West will crash the wedding to say his was better. He's a "free-thinker" like that and his new album drops in a few weeks.

As a stealth British citizen (cheers, mum), I'm delighted I'm helping to pay for increasing diversity in the royal family. Because, in having a fellow "mixed-race princess" join the Windsors, we're also helping their gene pool. I hope they've managed to cover costs by getting some sponsorship from Ancestry.com (helping people avoid marrying their cousins since 1997).

The thing is that I am kinda excited by this wedding, and that has a lot to do with Meghan's mum.

Doria Ragland - yoga instructor, social worker, dreadlocked queen, and descendent of African slaves - is going to be mother of the bride to the grandson of the Queen and I Am Here For That.

Meghan Markle (L) arrives with her mother Doria Ragland at Cliveden House hotel in the village of Taplow near Windsor on the eve of her wedding to Britain's Prince Harry.

Meghan Markle (L) arrives with her mother Doria Ragland at Cliveden House hotel in the village of Taplow near Windsor on the eve of her wedding to Britain's Prince Harry. Photo: AFP

There is a wonderful delusion that royal weddings are a spectacle that crosses political boundaries and are above politics, which is really just because both main parties aren't willing to cross the Queen.

But in the light of Brexit, during the presidency of Donald Trump, how can the man sixth in line to the throne, marrying a foreign woman who's mother is African American, and whose father lives in Mexico, not have political overtones? Yes, love conquers all but sometimes love also highlights the absurdities of racism in the modern world.

And there will be racism. And it shall be pantomime-descending-into-farcical levels of racism.

At 36, she's older than Harry (which doesn't matter), she's divorced (which doesn't matter), and she's half African American (which doesn't matter). Except these things will all matter to a vocal part of British society.

People who think Meghan Markle is about to get a cushy sweet life have probably never had an article written about them with a comments section. She's not just saying "I do" to Harry, she's saying "I do" to Britain. And Britain isn't just Shakespeare, it's also The Sun.

Expenditure, glorification, and imperialism aside - you've got to respect her walking down the aisle into that.

*James Nokise is a comedian, theatre-maker and political commentator.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs