OPINION - Emily Sheffield: Sorry, but I don’t want to be saved by Meghan of Montecito

·3-min read
OPINION - Emily Sheffield: Sorry, but I don’t want to be saved by Meghan of Montecito

I am not a Meghan-hater. There are plenty of those. But I admit my patience is wearing thin. It all started so well. And not long after their engagement, Meghan decided that her public role was to echo that of Princess Diana’s, without the broken marriage, affairs and troubled relationship with the media. Meghan would build on Diana’s legacy, double down on the incredible deeds of human compassion which Diana excelled at, with the bonus of diversity attached. Not a terrible mission on paper. Except, unlike Diana’s many deeds, the mission wasn’t authentic. It was rooted in personal PR and an overriding ambition to prove her worth.

You can see how this newly-created “royal persona” would have been in tune with her husband’s wishes. To set right the wrongs of his mother’s life and how it ended, while continuing her charitable work that had genuinely touched so many.

Meghan Markle missed a vital point: most of us don’t want to be saved by Meghan Markle. She has repeatedly made such a public show of their painfully conscious virtue signalling, matched with bucketloads of victimhood, we are thoroughly turned off.

This week it is 25 years since Diana’s tragic death. To be fair, she operated in a wholly different celebrity arena – before Twitter, Facebook, 24-hour news cycles, and Instagram. After years of service amongst the royals, and once her shackles were freed, she didn’t set out to change whole swathes of society but chose small projects she deeply cared about. Her public show of warmth for AIDs victims should never be forgotten. Her support for the removal of landmines led to a ban on selling this horrific weaponry abroad.

You cannot imagine her launching a podcast, “where we dissect, explore, and subvert the labels that try to hold women back”. Or interviewing famous friends on tenuous topics like “ambition,” chucking meaningless self-help phrases into the wind.

With Meghan, what she has achieved, or even wanted to achieve as a Royal, feels ever harder to grasp. In an era where we are told that women must aim to “have it all”, it is easy to forget that often a few limits are a good thing. And Meghan hasn’t wanted limits at all. A bit of patience and clear planning would have created a sense of purpose.

The Royal family arguably needed further modernising, but the young brothers were doing that; it didn’t need ransacking the first year she arrived. We love our Queen and if you attack The Firm repeatedly, in the end we will conclude you are attacking her. What was to gain from that?

We didn’t ask this Californian star to devote her life to “public service” when her interpretation of that was helping remove Prince Harry from his royal role and moving into the far more nebulous arena of feminism and world poverty, from a mansion in Montecito.

I don’t think she is a monster as some appear to paint her. A possible narcissist, yes. Also, a product of a generation hooked on social media-led virtue signalling. As a couple they need to step back and take a breath. It’s only been four years since they married. Not long at all. And with two children to boot. They need to decide what they truly want to achieve without the trauma, emotion and victimhood attached. Or the need to endlessly prove that their decision to quit the UK for the US was right. Harry’s role in the Invictus Games works because he truly believes in it, and he adds value. Meghan needs more than silly podcasts and a Netflix series that trades on their royalty, and to not be guided by money, celebrity, and telling us how virtuous she is. They have enough of the former. We’ve had enough of the latter.