The American Dream and Meghan Markle
This article was published in 2020 and we are reproposing it today to retrace the changes that have been a protagonist of in the last 20 years. “Never let the place you come from decide where you can go”. I like to imagine that Meghan Markle heard this phrase from her mother as many times as I heard it from mine, and with the same good intentions. It is a challenge to the supposed determinism of destiny, especially true in the United States, where – contrary to the fairy tale of the American dream – it is often your zip code that determines who you will be in life. Five numbers, a place and a census: all things that you did not decide, yet it is from there that the climb or descent you will make begins.
The Bourgeois Princess
Meghan Markle grew up in a place called View Park-Windsor Hills, something like “Hills with a view of Windsor Park”, and many years later those who believe in destiny had enough material to say that the place she came from eventually decided where she arrived. High, it would seem. Her Royal Highness Meghan, wife of Harry Mountbatten-Windsor and member of the British royal family. This was Meghan until last week. But not anymore. The sensational announcement of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s renunciation of their royal status has transformed the bourgeois princess into Meghan the witch and Meghan the bitch, the manipulator with an innocent face that plagues the fragile Harry to take him away from his people and take him overseas. Yet at first it had given many lovers of monarchy hope precisely because she came from the middle class. A few years ago a prince of ours explained to me that the bourgeoisie are often considered a guarantee in aristocratic contexts, because they aspire to climb socially and there is no faster way to become what you want than to behave pedantically as if you already were. For this reason, those who come from that step are usually willing to reproduce the rituals of the higher classes, to the point of fitting like a glove all their forms in order to appropriate the substance. At the same level of census, only antiques dealers now know the difference between aristocracy and bourgeoisie. The first one comes into the shop to have objects valued that they will sell to maintain the present; the second will open the door to buy them, deluded to buy with them a past. It seemed to me that the prince’s explanation generally worked, but on condition of not forgetting that the aspiration to the formality of the bourgeoisie is like a sheath that hides a sharp blade, because that bourgeois remains the class that sooner or later makes revolutions.
Meghan must have tried as long as she could to be the velvet sheath, but the blade eventually came out and what it is cutting, as in all revolutions, is someone’s head. It is the same old story of the oppressed who eventually free themselves from their oppressors.