It’s time to ‘do different’, Meghan

PUBLISHED: 07:52 16 May 2018 | UPDATED: 14:38 16 May 2018

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Photo: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Photo: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

All this fuss over whether Megham Markle’s father will be ‘giving her away’ is missing the point, says Rachel Moore.

I’d made a hair appointment on Saturday to avoid temptation of watching the royal wedding.

As a news event, I’d feel compelled to watch it, but there’s only so much blood pressure can take from syrupy sycophants burbling for hours about “fairytale weddings.”

But now a big gust of reality has blown away the magic and thrown the equivalent of a police stinger across the aisle of St George’s, Windsor, Saturday’s nuptials are holding more appeal.

No amount of magic can protect Sparkle Markle from the reality that, even in a royal wedding, things can go wrong.

But you have to feel sorry for a bride, whose every breath and pore will be scrutinised on Saturday, caught in a very public storm, and not of her own making.

Her father, for whatever reason, has suffered a meltdown and deserves sympathy. At the time of writing, it’s unclear if he will even be in the UK, with talk of heart surgery in the wake of apparently staged paparazzi photos.

Who couldn’t feel concern for the man, a near recluse in the US, being thrown into the company of the Queen in the glare of the world’s press and be expected to have impeccable aristocratic manners, understand all the idiosyncrasies of the Royal family while walking his daughter down the aisle to marry a prince?

The prospect of everything expected of him on Saturday must have been petrifying.

But why should he even be expected to “give away” his daughter, a 36-year-old divorcee, highly educated with a successful career that has long advocated female empowerment and equality?

Being “given away” opposes everything she says she believes.

Meghan Markle, a modern bride, self-proclaimed feminist, has the chance to make an historic statement on Saturday and become a role model for a new generation of women.

She has the opportunity to do something extraordinary, change tradition and stand by her statements on women’s empowerment and gender equality.

She should save her father the strain and walk down the aisle by herself - and keep her own name and continue her career to boot.

She speaks of her independent thought, and campaigns for equality.

So why would she want to be given away? Where does such an antiquated tradition come in her drive for gender equality?

She has already been married anyway so the whole “giving away” bit feels absurd as well as outdated.

Even the talk of her mother walking by her side feels surplus to requirements and unnecessary.

What a bold and independent statement by a modern strong woman if she strode down the aisle, past the Queen, to marry her prince by herself.

She has a chance to make this statement in a time when marriage has never been more untraditional, diverse and bespoke. While the institution of marriage and laws around it have barely changed in generations, the styles of how it is done, who marries whom and how marriages are lived have never been different.

From venues, to vows, from how couples live – living separately is increasingly spouted as the key to a harmonious union – to same-sex marriage, very little remains of a traditional wedding and marriage.

With most women now marrying in their thirties, surely it’s time to lose the whole ‘giving away’ thing?

The dad debacle broke on the day the law focused on whether marriage was no longer a patriarchal institution.

Responding to a case brought by a heterosexual couple who want a civil partnership, James Eadie QC, representing the Equalities Minister, said that many of the trappings, which made marriage a patriarchal institution, were no longer a necessary part of the tradition.

The lawyer representing the couple told the court that marriage was “historically heteronormative and patriarchal”

The Government’s lawyer, James Eadie QC argued even mixed stag and hen dos demonstrated how marriage was done differently today.

So do different, Meghan, break the mould to help empower the women who make their choices of life partner, and could never dream of marrying a prince.

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