As soon as the world heard that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were engaged, we instantly marveled at her nonroyal relatability. It's understandable: The idea that a Suits actress and former Deal or No Deal suitcase model could end up a princess gave us all a bit of regular-girl hope. Her messy bun? Same! Her starter marriage? Modern! Friends even call her “a princess for the people.” (OK, that friend is Priyanka Chopra but still.) For her wedding to Prince Harry—taking place this Saturday, May 19—Meghan’s not even having a maid of honor because she has such a tight group of gal pals that she said she can't choose just one.
But of all the things that make Meghan relatable, it's her family drama that takes the multitiered, lemon-elderflower cake. This past week alone, Meghan’s dad, Thomas Markle, has admitted to taking elaborately staged paparazzi photos for money, backed out of the wedding, changed his mind after getting texts from Meghan, and then told TMZ that heart surgery will ultimately keep him from walking her down the aisle. (You still with me? No? Here's a full explainer.)
It doesn't end there: Two weeks ago Meghan's half-brother wrote an open letter to InTouch, claiming her dad was never invited to their big day. (Neither of her half-siblings is invited.) On Monday several uninvited family members were spotted arriving at Heathrow Airport.
Weddings are emotionally charged events. Sometimes all those emotions make people do weird shit.
It’s enough drama to make your head spin, but as anyone who’s ever planned a wedding or big family party knows, weddings are emotionally charged events. Sometimes all those emotions make people do weird shit.
Also, obviously, this isn't just any wedding—it’s a royal wedding. An estimated 3,000 onlookers will be breathlessly watching outside Windsor Castle on Saturday. Prince George and Princess Charlotte will be a page boy and a bridesmaid, respectively. Meghan’s riding in a freaking fairy-tale carriage to St. George’s Chapel. There are not one but two receptions.
Are any of us surprised that this is turning into Father of the Bride Part 3? Or British Bridesmaids? Or My Best Friend’s Wedding…to a Prince? When you see the way most family drama plays out at nonroyal weddings—I know a friend whose estranged mom backed out of her wedding the day of—it’s no wonder that this estimated $34 million affair would make Megan’s nonroyal family lose their minds a little bit. The higher the stakes, the more intense the drama.
Are any of us surprised that this is turning into Father of the Bride Part 3? Or British Bridesmaids?
We’re used to seeing “perfect” royal weddings, and while Kate and William's 2011 nuptials seemed to go off without a hitch, wedding day hiccups are all part of the process. Bad weather, last-minute seating chart changes, and a little bit of “Um, what is Aunt Susie doing here? She didn’t RSVP” drama is par for the course. There’s usually at least one clueless guest wearing white. (She’ll claim it was cream.) A cousin will probably bring a date who hits the tequila, then the dance floor—hard. It all goes back to that one episode of Sex and the City when Carrie helps Charlotte clean spilled red wine off her white dress following a series of other day-of mishaps and says, “I think the worse the wedding, the better the marriage.”
The point is, weddings make people do crazy things, so we should all have a little more sympathy for dear old dad. I once went to a wedding where a father toasted the married couple by comparing them to a pair of baby birds he spotted outside his office window. No one had a clue what the hell he was talking about, but whatever, cheers! At another wedding, my aunt lit her fingertips on fire when she bragged that she could put out the flambé in her dessert with her thumb and forefinger. And at another, the sister of the groom gave such a lengthy, incoherent speech that she was eventually ushered offstage.
At least Mr. Markle hasn't lit his fingers on fire. Yet.