Morning network television is, by its nature, aimed primarily at the half-awake and the half-aware. Much of it consists of self-promotional nonsense and vapid stories about vacuous alleged celebrities.
But if you ever wanted to see how ridiculous morning TV can be, you had to be watching the breathless coverage of the announcement that Prince Harry is going to marry an American actress named Meghan Markle.
You would have thought that someone had found a cure for cancer or managed to shut down Donald Trump’s Twitter feed.
It is indeed happy news. I wish the new royal couple many years of wedded bliss. But I also wish they could move their wedding day up to, say, Thursday.
Because the next year is going to be interminably painful, listening to all this insipid pip-pip-cheerio pablum from credulous American anchors and self-important British “royal commentators,” most of whom possess all the credibility of somebody on TV trying to sell you a set of Japanese steak knives at 3 in the morning.
I was about a half-hour into my anti-royal rant when my wife put down the newspaper, told me she was sick of my negativity, and left the room.
Deeply wounded, I called Colette Phillips, looking for sympathy. Colette is one of Boston’s top public relations professionals, but more importantly grew up on Antigua, where British imperialists colonized the island. Surely, Colette would understand.
“Oh, c’mon,” she said, “drop the cynicism.”
She is celebrating this royal coupling as the product of enlightened modernity, not hide-bound tradition.
“Harry is marrying an older woman of color who happens to be a divorcee,” Phillips said. “It’s a great tribute to the legacy of Harry’s mother, Diana. I think she taught her two boys about embracing difference, about the importance of inclusion and diversity.
“She took them to Africa and they saw her hug little black children who had HIV. She dated a Muslim man. She embraced people no matter what they look like, where they came from, who they loved. That Harry is marrying a biracial woman is not surprising, even though it is a departure for the royal family. This is about being Diana’s son.”
Phillips admires Harry and his fiancée for using their celebrity to help the marginalized. Harry supports charities that help veterans and break down the stigma of mental illness. Meghan Markle has worked with the United Nations to promote gender equality and the rights of women and girls all over the world.
“They are socially conscious activists, and their marriage will bring more attention to good causes,” she said.
Colette Phillips was making way too much sense, so I called Jack Hammond, who has met and worked with Prince Harry. Jack spent most of his life in the Army and now runs the Boston-based Home Base program, working with veterans and their families struggling with post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury, the invisible wounds of war. Surely, General Jack would see through all this royalist propaganda.
“Harry is the real deal,” he told me. “He is genuine, and when you see him with wounded warriors, the way he talks to them, the way they respond, they are his brothers.”
Hammond said Harry’s combat tours in Afghanistan were not photo-ops.
“He’s a real soldier,” he said. “That’s why he relates so well and cares so much about others who have served.”
Harry created the Invictus Games, an international sporting competition for wounded warriors. With his brother William and sister-in-law Kate, Harry formed the Royal Foundation, which raises money and awareness for veterans, conservation, and mental health. Home Base is the Royal Foundation’s US partner.
“Harry’s life is about service,” Jack Hammond said. “With his wife, he’ll have a good partner in their good work.”
I give up. It is obvious that Harry and Meghan are good, decent people. Good luck to them. May they have many children.
But, seriously, can they move their nuptials up? Consider it a wedding gift. For me.
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