I have been waiting for this with bated breath and now it is official: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are engaged and they will be married in May 2018. My dominant thought has always been positive it would happen, against all odds, because they seemed to be genuinely in love. In addition, Prince Harry set out from the beginning to protect his future wife from unwanted attention.
But beyond that, being older and being already in the limelight probably helped Markle succeed in staying in the relationship, unlike two previous girlfriends of Prince Harry, Chelsy Davy and Cressida Bonas.
As little children growing up, Prince Harry always looked carefree and more adventurous than his elder brother, Prince Williams. May be it was just natural or he knew quite early that he is unlikely to be a future king, being the second child of their parents. But I feel he was just being himself. Even though he is royalty, he refused to be trapped in the royal “prison.” This reflected in his romantic adventures as he grew older. He just seemed to follow his heart.
He has previously dated a rock star, a model and an actress from far and near before ending up with Markle, an actress and a black American. There is nothing wrong with any of these ladies, but they are not the typical girls you expect a British Royal to date. And Africa seems to have a special place in Harry’s heart. Davy is Zimbabwean, Botswana is his favourite holiday destination and now he is engaged to an African American.
From the wild partying prince, Harry has become a very mature man, who knows what he wants. Even though he had to get royal approval from the grandmother, Queen Elizabeth and his father, Prince Charles, he is engaged and about to be married on his own terms, not papa’s or grandmother’s terms. The way Prince Charles enthusiastically announced the engagement, I get the feeling that this is the kind of freedom he would have preferred to choose his own wife, not the “arrangee” marriage he had with Princess Diana. Ultimately, though, he is now with the love of his life, Camilla, but there were just too many dents along the way.
There are some big lessons for many parents to learn here. Today, many marriages-to-be are on hold because of ethnic, religious and other sentiments. The truth is, we all want our children to marry into circumstances and environments we are already used to and comfortable with. But the bigger truth is that we cannot live our children’s lives for them. They must chart their own paths. After all, they are not going to come to us to rent our manhood to impregnate their wives or their mothers’ wombs to carry the pregnancies.
Prince Harry and Markle are also personally planning the wedding, not Buckingham Palace. These days, especially among the high and mighty, parents plan and execute their children’s weddings to massage their egos and suit their personalities, not that of the couple. And please spare me this foolish class consciousness. The nitty-gritty of marriage knows no class. That is why marriages across board flourish or fail. Prince Harry already seems to know this.
This engagement also teaches us another lesson in this part of the world. The kind of money some people in public offices steal in Nigeria shows they are not only stealing for themselves, but generations unborn. We worry about our generations we will not live long enough to see. But not Harry and Markle; they just want to live for the moment and enjoy their union.
They are in love and so are getting married. They are going to give birth to children who will be categorized as blacks (even though they are three-quarters white and only one-quarter black) in a society that has not entirely weaned itself from racism. It is going to a novelty in the British Royalty. Markle is also going to be the first British Black Royal. How is the British society going to handle Markle? That is their problem. Prince Harry has found love and vowed to protect Markle with utmost vigour. That is all that matters.
The seemingly carefree, but focused and strong-willed, Harry just wants to have a happy marriage; can blame him? Didn’t he grow up watching his mother trapped in an unhappy marriage? Why should thunder strike one position twice? As for the black royals they will beget, they will have to grow up, chart their paths and sort out themselves. If they are strong-willed and self-assured, like their parents, they will be defined by the content of their character and not the colour of their skin. But that too is not for Harry to worry about, unlike our aimless thieving lot.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle met only July 2016. A little over a year later, they announced their engagement. Harry dated Davy for about seven years, but the relationship did not culminate in marriage. Sometimes, people ask how long should courtship last. While it should not be for eternity, it is difficult to put a categorical timeline. Sometimes, the stars align when people meet and hit it off as Harry said of himself and Markle. Sometimes, two hearts simply melt into and beat as one and marriage becomes a formality. Again sometimes, people court for five years only to hit a dead end.
At other times, people date for years only to find out they are on a wrong road. Time and circumstances sometimes play major roles. But I have always believed that the divine hand of God is the ultimate decider because marriage is of divine creation. Where Harry and Markle fall into in all of these is in the belly of time. But for now the Bible says,we should rejoice with those who rejoice. I am genuinely happy for the newly engaged and I wish them success in the beautiful but treacherous terrain called matrimony.