Women worldwide wept as Harry announced his engagement to ‘Suits’ actress Meghan Markle this week. But the happy occasion signifies so much more than just the world’s most eligible bachelor having his heart stolen. The Royal Family are officially revolutionising their position and influence in UK society, and their treasured tushes have landed firmly into the 21st century.
Over the past few decades, the Royals have cultivated more and more of a celebrity status than ever before. Far gone are the days when the monarchy remained mysterious and upheld their stiff upper lip. Its members have now become style icons and influencers of trends to the masses. The younger generation have even experienced a 9-5 in the armed forces.
Perhaps this transformation to celebrity glitz and glam can be traced back to Diana, Princess of Wales. Prior to her, the only step the Royals had taken towards modernising their breed was through rehearsed Christmas speeches and carefully photographed occasions. Princess Diana was essentially a ‘commoner’, whose soul and plight represented all the values that make us proud to be British.
Throughout her life, Diana was a loving mother, a role model, a style icon and a commendable humanitarian. Yet more poignantly, she remained relatable to the public and spoke openly about her struggles with mental illness, a topic that often the Royals would disparage her for. Earning the nickname of the ‘People’s Princess’, it was these qualities that shook the palace’s foundations to their very core.
The legacy Diana left behind has clearly influenced her two children, Prince William and Prince Harry, not only when conducting their royal duties but also within their character. The two have served in the armed forces amongst their fellow countrymen, openly partied with their friends and have helped countless organisations through charity work. While their decisions may not always have represented our nation as we would hope (THAT Halloween costume), no one can deny the honest and warm demeanour the HRH’s exemplify within their royal duties.
But have the pathways of celebrity culture and royal duty crossed over too far? It’s not the first time that Hollywood has merged with sovereignty, as shown between the iconic marriage of Grace Kelly and the Prince of Monaco half a century ago. It would appear that Hollywood has invaded the monarchy, having traded centuries of privacy for Instagrams of celebrity tea-parties inside Buckingham Palace. Even Markle, a wonderful humanitarian who relates to many modern women, may overshadow her new royal duties with a glittering network of A-list mates. While the love between the pair is celebrated worldwide, will Buckingham Palace become the new ‘hot spot’ hangout for stars all over the world?
As circuits between La La Land and the Royal Family begin to merge, perhaps it’s time to accept that some traditions will die with the reign of Elizabeth II. As the palace prepares to roll out its red carpet, one thing’s for certain: the revolution is far from over, and the monarchy’s modernising is just the beginning of a new dynasty in British history.