Will the House of Windsor Turn into a House of Cards?
What happens to British society when the class structure that underpins it is challenged?
Imagine a society founded on a class structure with the (white) British royal family at the top as determined by birth and by blood. A biracial woman enters the top of the pyramid by marriage, negating both the birth and blood requirements society had previously been told were preconditions. Because she lacks those prerequisites, she’s considered unworthy. Because she’s proud of her own heritage and regards herself as equal to others at the top of the pyramid, she’s considered ungrateful.
The town criers called out from the lower tiers of the pyramid. “I’ve never met her — but I look at her and I think ‘I don’t think I’d like you in real life,’” said one. “We Brits prefer true royalty to fashion royalty,” proclaimed another. Shouts of “she just doesn’t speak our language,” came whistling on the wind. But at the top of the pyramid, the cries were met with silence. Were they too far away to hear it? Were they too disconcerted to know what to reply? Or did they use the cacophony from below to muffle the echo of their own whispers as they murmured the same things? The loudest gossipmonger was impossible to ignore as he oafishly admonished her to “go back to America.”
After years of being told that she was unworthy and ungrateful, the newlywed took the crier’s advice and returned from whence she came. Despite one tattler’s audacious cautions not to force her husband to “choose between you and us.” He did in fact choose his wife, just as he did the day he married her, much to their chagrin. Ironically, though society spurned her placement at the top of the pyramid, when she leaves with her husband, for some, it calls into question whether the pyramid’s peak is still something to aspire to? Whether those at the top are truly elite? Whether blood and birth really are prerequisites? Their departure is considered a rejection of the pyramid as a construct, thus a rejection of the society itself. For others, it was a necessary repudiation and confirmed that just as they suspected she was NOCD — not our class dear.
Still, that wasn’t enough. For society to maintain order, she must be reclassified and her elite status conferred by marriage removed. But, the society is trapped in a conundrum. Her husband and their children are at the top of the pyramid by birth and by blood. Removing titles, military honors, and patronages won’t remove her from the top of the pyramid. The only thing that will reclassify her is to remove her from her husband…and the society has been working diligently, though unsuccessfully, to that end since the day they learned that Harry and Meghan were a couple.
Read the next article in the House of Windsor series: The Flight of Icarus