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I never had much use for the queen.

Maybe it’s the Irish in me. As Winston Churchill said: “We’ve always found the Irish a bit odd. They refuse to be English.”

Or maybe it’s the American in me. We did go to an awful lot of trouble to break away from that corgi-and-gin-loving racket 244 years ago.

At some visceral level, though, America must regret being torn away from the royal family. How else to explain our enduring fascination with dynasties? Having spent my career covering four dysfunctional political dynasties, I rebel more than ever at the idea that biology entitles you to authority.

The ghost of Diana gone rogue animates the fractured fairy tale of Meghan and Harry, and their intemperate attempt to upend centuries of starchy rules and break away from the Firm.

The Firm was out of its depth then, and it is again now. How can the queen and Prince Philip and Prince Charles possibly understand the desire of Meghan and Harry to rebrand as a Goopish lifestyle enterprise? The news that they have applied to trademark hundreds of items, from socks to hoodies, under the “Sussex Royal” logo makes Wallis Simpson’s exile in the Bahamas, spent matching the color on the walls to her face powder, seem positively monastic.

Can you really call yourself “financially independent” when all you’re doing is cashing in on the royal name?

Given the state of the world and the implosion of the British Empire — with Scots once more contemplating an off ramp, Irish unity in play, Australia on fire and Boris Johnson tricking the queen into suspending Parliament in a Brexit ploy — it is hard to feel sorry for the Duchess of Sussex complaining that her diamonds are heavy. The pathos for Markle, trapped in a designer cage, goes only so far.

It’s easy for royals to come to North America, where they are lavishly embraced as celebrities without all those pesky restrictions about class and role. (See “The Crown” episode about a wild, imbibing Princess Margaret charming L.B.J.)

Still, I think Meghan Markle should have wielded her wokeness where it is most needed — in Buckingham Palace. She could have channeled the Obamas, who did a magnificent job of rising above racist taunts and working within the institution to imprint a new image of racial possibility in America.

Markle had already successfully brought a refreshing dose of semi-radical chic to the royal family. Her visits to a mosque that housed Londoners displaced by the Grenfell Tower fire led to her putting out a 2018 cookbook, the proceeds of which went to the victims.

At its best, the monarchy has been able to lift up people, as it did during the blitz in World War II.



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