Imagine you go on a blind date and meet someone from another country with whom you fall deeply in love. You’re already successful, independent and at the top of your career. But you’ve fallen in love, so you jack it all in, move countries, and leave everything — work, friends, family, support system, identity — behind to become rebranded not as yourself, but as the wife of the person you have just married. The things you do for love.
As well as adjusting to a new country and building your relationship with your new husband, you are also getting to grips with his job, of which you are expected to play a significant role.
And getting the hang of his extended family, who are, shall we say, rather set in their ways, and with a closet full not just of skeletons, but fully-fleshed bodies. Your husband’s uncle seems to be a sex offender, but nobody talks about that. You are encouraged to embrace the long-standing family policy of stiff upper lippism, but — like your husband — you find this a bit tricky. A bit last century.
Still, here you are. Getting on with it, smiling, smiling, smiling.
You have a baby, far away from your own loved ones, in your new home, surrounded by new people. You feel pretty isolated. Your husband and his brother seem to have fallen out, and your mum is an ocean away. Your husband’s job is doing his head in, and as the full enormity of what you have undertaken begins to sink in, you are simultaneously learning how to parent a new baby, while continuously navigating your new life in the family business.
Now imagine doing all of this not just in the kind of public view that mere celebrities routinely negotiate, but under a 24/7 blinding searchlight of relentless, unending media scrutiny.
Not just the barrage of intrusive media scrutiny that your husband has been subjected to since birth, and that killed his mum when he was 12, but openly hostile scrutiny. Toxic, irrational, racist, misogynist scrutiny.
Everything you do is wrong, from how you manage your pregnancy and birth to what you put on your toast. You are this, you are that, you are the other. Especially the other, the simmering racism of the media in your adopted country boiling over into shameless vileness.
Acres of baseless hate are written about you. Not only do you have the nerve to be a woman, but a woman of colour unafraid to state her needs and continue being herself.
You stick it out, but really, you do not need this shit.
To be fair, neither does your husband. He has been with you every step of the way, his loyalty unswerving.
You both hand in your notice, because of self-care. Because of mental health. Because of freedom and happiness and self-respect.
Because of rearing your child in peace. Because love.
You are nobody’s subject, are you, Meghan Markle? You are nobody’s Diana.To thine own self be true.