There are several enduring mysteries about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s courtship, engagement and time in the UK. One of the funniest mysteries is that we STILL don’t know where they went on their honeymoon! I kind of hoped Harry would at least give us a general vicinity in Spare, but he did not:
Our honeymoon was a closely guarded secret. We left London in a car disguised as a removals van, the windows covered with cardboard, and went to the Mediterranean for ten days. Glorious to be away, on the sea, in the sun. But we were also sick. The build-up to the wedding had worn us down.
We returned just in time for the official June celebration of Granny’s birthday. Trooping the Color: one of our first public appearances as newlyweds. Everyone present was in a good mood, upbeat. But then:
Kate asked Meg what she thought of her first Trooping the Color.
And Meg joked: Colorful.
And a yawning silence threatened to swallow us all whole.
[From Spare by Prince Harry]
See, I actually hoped for more of this kind of random tea in the Netflix series. It just goes to show that the Netflix series was more of Meghan’s narrative, and she’s a much more positive person. Meghan’s version was that everything around the wedding was happy – minus her dad’s bullsh-t – and that the wedding itself was a dream. Here’s Harry saying, no, we felt worn down. Anyway, shortly after Trooping the Colour, Meghan and Queen Elizabeth II had their first (and only) one-on-one engagement. Remember that? It was a big deal, the Queen inviting Meghan to do a day of events two seconds after the wedding. Meghan was thrilled about the whole day and then… the papers ripped her to shreds:
[Meghan] returned from the trip glowing. We bonded, she told me. The Queen and I really bonded! We talked about how much I wanted to be a mom and she told me the best way to induce labor was a good bumpy car ride! I told her I’d remember that when the time came.
Things are going to turn around now, we both said.
The papers, however, pronounced the trip an unmitigated disaster. They portrayed Meg as pushy, uppity, ignorant of royal protocol, because she’d made the unthinkable mistake of getting into a car before Granny. In truth she’d done exactly what Granny had told her to do. Granny said get in; she got in.
No matter. There were stories for days about Meg’s breach, about her overall lack of class—about her daring not to wear a hat in Granny’s presence. The Palace had specifically directed Meg not to wear a hat. Granny also wore green to honor the victims of Grenfell Tower, and no one told Meg to wear green—so they said she didn’t give a fig about the victims.
I said: The Palace will make a phone call. They’ll correct the record.
[From Spare, by Prince Harry]
The hat issue! That was a long-running issue, I remember it came up in some reporting just last year, and I believe Susan Hussey was even invoked. As in, Meghan never knew how to behave, even Susan Hussey tried to give her tips, but uncouth Meghan still did the event and she didn’t wear a hat, how ghastly. Here’s Harry saying explicitly: Meghan was told to avoid hats and avoid the color green. The other “protocol” issue was Meghan getting in ahead of QEII, but I seem to remember that wasn’t as much of a long-running issue. I seem to remember that people said, at the time, that the Queen clearly motioned for Meghan to go ahead. But the hat thing, that had legs. That was being used as an attack line for years. Remember when uncouth Meghan didn’t wear a hat???
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, WENN, Backgrid.