California Forum

If Prince Harry is going to have an L.A. princess, can California join the royal family?

Britain’s Prince Harry, left, and Meghan Markle pose at Kensington Palace in London in 2017. They will wed on Saturday, May 19. (Eddie Mulholland/Pool via AP)
Britain’s Prince Harry, left, and Meghan Markle pose at Kensington Palace in London in 2017. They will wed on Saturday, May 19. (Eddie Mulholland/Pool via AP) AP

MEMO

To: Queen Elizabeth II

From: Joe Mathews

Re: Mutual Respect

Your Majesty, I don’t mean to rush someone who just celebrated her 92nd birthday. But it’s high time that you showed California proper appreciation – by making our state an honorary member of the British royal family.

Perhaps that seems a bit much, but ask yourself, Ma’am: Does your family have a more devoted servant than California?

For all of California’s populist culture and direct democracy, we’re soft on monarchs.

Over the last century, none of your PR vassals have been as effective at telling your family’s story as the folks in Hollywood.

Recently, British royalty and Hollywood have converged, with an avalanche of productions about you Windsors. “The King’s Speech,” about the stuttering struggle of your father, won the best picture Oscar. (Investigative reports suggest you may be the only woman that its producer, Harvey Weinstein, ever treated with respect.) The Academy gave Helen Mirren the best actress award for playing you in “The Queen.” Even Silicon Valley has been in your (streaming) service, with Netflix casting the charismatic Claire Foy as a young you in another award-winning series, “The Crown.”

Such productions would be enough to humanize most families. But you require more. So now California is giving you our own flesh-and-blood, a child of L.A.: actress Meghan Markle. She is to marry Prince Harry on May 19.

Markle brings your clan a new level of diversity (she’s biracial), education (an international relations degree from Northwestern), and beauty (those teeth!). She is marrying your less accomplished younger grandson, best known for having dressed up like a Nazi for a party.

And this classy California girl has impeccable diplomatic timing. She provides a crucial boost to the faltering special relationship between our two countries, while giving your nation a gorgeous distraction from the self-inflicted consequences of Brexit. Not since FDR has an American performed so great a rescue of the U.K.

And she’s naturally regal. As the child of a Hollywood cinematographer and as a student at a Southern California girls’ school, she grew up in about as royal a milieu as you’ll find outside of Buckingham Palace.

Indeed, California has taken the lead from you in modernizing monarchical ideals. Our wealthy folks live like royals – behind gates and high on hills. Many of our wealthiest are Anglophiles – playing polo in Santa Barbara, or hunting in the countryside with hounds, through clubs like the Santa Fe Hunt in San Diego County.

Drew Barrymore and Emilio Estevez have had film careers – they don’t call it Hollywood royalty for nothing. And our Bay Area tech lords are catching up to royal standards. Did you catch Zuckerberg’s congressional testimony? His upper lip was even stiffer than yours!

For all of California’s populist culture and direct democracy, we’re soft on monarchs. We’ve granted the Queen Mary, the ocean liner named after your grandma, a permanent berth in Long Beach. And we steadfastly support elderly leaders who refuse to abdicate – like your generational cohorts Jerry Brown and Dianne Feinstein.

Forgive me, but I do have one request. Can you do better for our Meghan than the titles being talked about in the British press? We read you might make her just another duchess. Or she could lose her name to her husband and become Princess Henry of Wales.

This may break protocol, but could you call her Princess Meg of Windsor Hills? That’s the South L.A. neighborhood where her mother lives. Such a title would beautifully bind together California and your family name.

It’d also be cool if the organist could play Tupac’s “California Love” during the ceremony. But that’s not a priority. It’s far more important for you to acknowledge what this wedding is: the official consummation of a long-standing partnership.

Most Californians can’t make the wedding, so please pass on our best wishes to your family. Mazel Tov, Meg and Harry! And God save the Queen!

Joe Mathews writes the Connecting California column for Zócalo Public Square. He can be contacted at joe@zocalopublicsquare.org.

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