Saturday, May 19, 2018

How Markle redefined royalty


By Mpoki Thomson

It’s every woman’s fairytale to marry a Prince and live like a Princess. Meghan Markle, a retired American actress best known for her role in the American legal drama television series ‘Suits’ will today marry into royalty at Windsor Castle in England. Markle will be the second American and the first person of mixed race heritage to marry into the British royal family.

This is not your average wedding, today; millions of people across the world, a sizeable number living here in Tanzania will be glued to their screens watching history being made.

Questions are being asked about what time the wedding will be broadcast locally and on what channel.

One thing is for certain; the royal wedding has attracted a lot of media attention and will be televised in different parts of the world. In Tanzania, a few hotels are offering packages for guests to watch the live broadcast of the ceremony. Hyatt Regency Dar es Salaam, The Kilimanjaro, one of Tanzania’s most popular hotels will televise the royal wedding during an afternoon tea party at the hotel’s Palm tree Coffee shop. Dress code for the event is ‘UK Royal hats’. “We’ve received great responses from guests who are eagerly waiting for the big day,” says Lilian Kisasa, the hotel’s Marketing Manager.

While a hotel in Tanzania charges Sh35,000 per person attending the live broadcast of the royal wedding, in neighbouring Kenya it has been widely reported that a Kenyan hotel is charging couples up to $10,000 (about Sh22million) for a package to watch the televised proceedings of Britain’s royal wedding today.

A poster of the event dubbed “A Royal Wedding Celebration” informed guests to dress in their “finest wedding guest attire” to the viewing party at the Windsor Golf Hotel and Country Club in Nairobi.

Narindwa Msongole, an office administrator at a local law firm in Dar, says she’s super excited about the royal wedding. “I’m a fan of Meghan Markle, I’ve been her fan ever since she was on Suits,” she says. Narindwa is up-to-speed on the date and time of the live broadcast of the royal wedding.

About the bride

Born and raised in Los Angeles California in 1981, Markle, 36, attended Northwestern University, where she attained a degree in theatre and international studies in 2003. Her acting career has seen her play small roles in several American television series.

Her credits on screen include roles in movies such as Remember Me, Get Him to the Greek and Horrible Bosses. What attracted her onscreen persona to the public is her top notch portrayal of Rachel Zane in Suits. In the series which started airing in 2011, her character, unlike most that we normally see in series of such genre, was both quirky and smart. Markle played the role up until her engagement to Prince Harry, when she officially retired from acting.

But even as social media has been super excited that an African-American woman will be part of the royal family, Markle’s rise to the top wasn’t set on a silver platter.

The now-so-famous American sweetheart didn’t have it all easy in Hollywood when she first started. She had to work as a freelance calligrapher to support herself between early acting jobs. Being a woman of mixed race, she found it difficult aligning to one side of the race. In a 2015 essay for Elle UK, she wrote: “I wasn’t black enough for the black roles and I wasn’t white enough for the white ones, leaving me somewhere in the middle as the ethnic chameleon who couldn’t book a job.”

Just like her soon-to-be husband, Markle was also a child of divorce. Her father, Thomas Markle, and her mother, Doria Ragland, split when she was young.

It’s only after her relationship with Prince Harry was publicized, that Markle was on everyone’s search engine. Throughout her career in Hollywood, she managed to remain under wraps and avoided to have any bad publicity for tabloids to feed on.

For those obsessed with staying up-to-date with the royal family, Markle’s addition to British royal family provides that perfect diverse appeal. However, due to the status of the royal family, Markle has had to cut ties with social media. She closed her blog ‘The Tig’ that focused on lifestyle and fashion and also deactivated her instagram account.

The known feminist who advocates for women rights will have to tone down her rhetoric on different worldly views now that she’s part of the royal family.

First marriage

It is due to her reserved lifestyle that many people, mostly those outside the US might be surprised to learn that Markle was once married. Her marriage to Prince Harry will be her second time down the aisle.

Back in 2004, she started a relationship with actor and producer Trevor Engelson. They got married in 2011, and divorced in 2013.

Dating the Prince

Markle and Prince Harry managed to keep their relationship under the radar for a while. But soon as a whiff of suspicion was raised, onslaughts of insults targeting Markle prompted the royal family to issue a statement through the family’s communications secretary addressing the “wave of abuse and harassment” directed toward Markle.

The couple met on a blind date that a mutual friend set up. They started dating in June 2016, their relationship became public in October 2016, and on November the same year the royal family had to make a public announcement regarding the rumoured relationship.

Just like her choice of lifestyle, Markle’s engagement to Prince Harry was very simple. He proposed to her while they were enjoying a cozy night at home, trying to roast a chicken for dinner.

Markle’s Dad missing the wedding

As exciting as the weeks leading up to the royal wedding have been, it has equally been a turbulent time for Markle’s family. Apart from having feuds and conflicting preferences with some of her family members such as her half-brother and sister, there’s also been the issue with her Dad, Thomas Markle.

Thomas Markle Sr, 73, was subject to public humiliation after it was revealed that the photos published by a number of media outlets of him getting measured for his wedding suit, while reading a book on British history, working out with weights in a park, and looking up reports about his daughter’s wedding in an internet café were staged. CCTV footage later showed Mr Markle and the photographer entering the café together.

Later reports started circulating that Mr Markle would not attend the royal wedding at Windsor Castle. He however changed his mind and decided he’d walk his daughter down the aisle. However, latest reports came in and it was said that Meghan Markle’s father will not attend the wedding because he had a scheduled heart surgery on Wednesday this week.

As the world today witnesses history being made, this wedding will be written in history books as one of the most anticipated weddings ever. Be it in Europe, Asia, or Africa, millions of people have been following the royal couple ever since their relationship was made public.

In Tanzania, a country that’s known in the digital world for its rise in the use of the social media site instagram, the royal wedding is being keenly followed by a number of people. Just like local socialites such as Wema Sepetu, Jacqueline Wolper, Hamisa Mobeto have constantly stayed on the radar for their social media engagements, it is no surprise that the royal wedding has found some relevance in an African nation.

Also, there’s no denying that the British royal family loves visiting Africa. They’ve visited countries such as Lesotho, Botswana, Senegal, South Africa, Angola, Egypt, Kenya, and Nigeria.

Prince Harry’s older brother, Prince William, proposed to Kate Middleton during a getaway at a log cabin in the shadow of Mount Kenya. Prince Harry and Markle have also visited Africa together. They traveled to Botswana together, and even though Harry didn’t propose to Markle in the African nation, he still made Botswana a big part of his love story by giving Markle an engagement ring that features a diamond from Botswana. Markle described her ring as the perfect representation of their time there. “It’s incredibly special to be able to have this, which sort of links where you come from and Botswana, which is important to us,” she told CNN.

East Africa in general was colonized by the British, and to date some countries such as Kenya still maintain close ties to the monarchy.