I want to be honest with you: I hope Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton aren’t getting along.
Which isn’t to say that I hope they are feuding or fighting or tearing the Royal Family apart. (Far from it.) Instead, I hope that they’re as relatable as they seem. Because in real life, families aren’t typically made up of best friends. In real life, families are complicated and messy and the result of personalities that would typically clash after being corralled into forced social situations. People aren’t perfect, and families aren’t either. So we shouldn’t expect perfection or anything outside of common courtesy from the dynamic between Kate and Meghan. In fact, we shouldn’t expect anything at all because we’re strangers and they owe us nothing.
But they especially don’t owe us the myth of automatic sisterhood. As we know, feminism doesn’t equate forming friendships with every woman, so neither duchess should be pressured to be close simply because they’re married to brothers. I mean, hi: friendships aren’t based only on proximity, and women are allowed to argue and clash and generally dislike each other. So by categorizing their supposed strain as a mark against feminism or sisterhood, we’re perpetuating rhetoric that grossly misinterprets feminism entirely.
Particularly because Kate and Meghan’s relationship or lack thereof is by no means about feminism at all. It’s about using feminism (or the belief that all women should get along) as a means to sell a specific narrative: everybody was getting along fine until Meghan came along. And now look what she’s done.
The thing is, new family members are rarely seamlessly and instantly incorporated into an already well-established familial dynamic. And how can they be? It takes time to establish relationships. It takes time to discover shared senses of humour (or lack thereof). It takes time to feel like family. And with family comes conflict and difficulties and the comfort of being able to not always get along. In fact, you could argue that if Kate and Meghan really aren’t getting along, they’re more like real family than the Royals have ever been before. Especially since the Royals have typically tried to remain removed from the rest of us. But now they’re (maybe, hopefully) acting like the way we have, would, or will act in the future. And I love it.
Because lest we forget: the Royals have never been like “normal” people. Their legacy is defined by scandal, by death, destruction, divorce, and incriminating paparazzi shots. (And this is just within the 1980s and 1990s.) So while normality is a myth among most families, the Royals’ wealth, power, and access to whatever-they-wanted have elevated them to a near-unreachable level. And to add to their strangeness? They’ve maintained a facade that all is well; that everything’s fine, that everyone’s close.
Until now. Official statements from the Royal Family aside, the rumours that Meghan and Kate don’t get along continue to swirl. And for the first time in 20 years, the Royals actually seem like people I’d want to hang out with. They seem like the product of merging complex personalities instead of what happens when you place beautiful people side by side for a photo opp. Ultimately, they seem like real people who are complicated and sometimes-irritable and may not necessarily want to hang out with each other all the time. (And who would? Who wants to hang out with their family all the time? No one I want to know, frankly.)
Of course, this isn’t to say I want to hear about it all the time. We don’t need the blind items or the headlines or the official statements from Buckingham Palace. To be truly relatable, the Royal Family should simply be allowed to be: as in, maybe they’re fine, maybe or maybe they’re strained, and regardless, who really cares. Because in the end, it turns out that even people who live in an actual castle don’t love everyone they have to interact with on a familial level. Also, maybe Meghan and Kate are different. Maybe one is sarcastic. Maybe the other genuinely loves Family Guy. Or maybe they’re best friends, and our speculations are making them laugh a lot and bringing them closer. Maybe or maybe not. Either way, the less perfect they are, the better.