There have been moments, little quiet moments when I have begun to ask myself, who the heck does Meghan Markle think she is?

Don't all shout at once. Hear me out.

Yes, love her. Yes, adore her. Yes, accept and believe her to be a breath of fresh air blowing through the fusty hallways of Windsoralia.

And yet, after four official public appearances and leaked news of two "secret" missions of mercy to console victims of the Grenfell fire, one can't help but wonder where all this is going.


It seems far, far too early for Meghan to go into full Diana mode and unfurl any fondly imagined royal superpowers. Or to start believing that she can change the lives of troubled citizens merely by bequeathing a megawatt smile and a consolation hug around their luckless shoulders.

Meghan Markle meets members of the public following a visit to Reprezent 107.3FM. Photo / Getty Images
Meghan Markle meets members of the public following a visit to Reprezent 107.3FM. Photo / Getty Images

However, that seems to be exactly what is happening.

It is just three months since the American celebrity and Prince Harry announced their engagement. With only one Sandringham royal Christmas under her pencil belt, she is barely a stitch in the tapestry of [the UK's] history.

Yet, already, she is behaving like a cross between Wilhelmina the Conqueror and Florence Nightingale.

In Edinburgh this week, St Meghan of Markle clasped people to her bosom as if the mere strength of her huggy-wugs could vanquish their problems.

Perhaps she doesn't mean to, but in public, she frequently slips into glutinous actress mode, as if she were rather hammily playing herself in some future episode of TV's The Crown.

If only she could dial down the full beam of worried sympathy that strobes from her lovely eyes at every opportunity and give it a rest with the endless Lady Bountiful arm-pats, I think people would like her more.

Let us discover for ourselves how caring and kind she is, instead of her spreading it on so thickly that we can hardly see past the sugary glaze. Too many layers of the custard of compassion on this particular royal trifle is going to make us all feel a little bit sick.

Meghan and Harry have been doing the rounds in the lead up to the wedding. Photo / Getty Images
Meghan and Harry have been doing the rounds in the lead up to the wedding. Photo / Getty Images

It is nice that Meghan wants to "reach out" to the British charity sector and use her fame to become a full-time philanthropist and concentrate on her humanitarian work.

Yet there are people in her own family whom she hasn't reached out to in years, including her own father. With the best will in the world, it does put her one-gal task force for international healing and her undercover visits to mosques to console survivors under a slightly different, less rosy, light.

Charity begins at home — or it should, even for putative royals.

However, to find meaning and truth in the role of a royal spouse is a mighty and difficult task. Recent history is littered with casualties and examples, both good and bad.

Brittle Wallis Simpson was a woman of her time, one who cared for little except her pugs, her prince, her jewels and herself.

Prince Albert married not just a royal, but a head of state to boot, and, like Prince Philip a century later, found a way to make a difference through types of energetic philanthropy.

Diana set the gold standard for empathetic royal wives who worked with spirit and style for good causes, while Fergie . . . em . . . did not.

St Meghan would do well to note that the most successful royals keep their distance and their dignity. They embrace unfashionable causes, as well as headline-grabbing ones.

They attend flag-raising ceremonies in freezing South Korea, like Princess Anne. They visit farming communities in Cumbria, like the Countess of Wessex. They don't need to be loved and adored. They just get on with it.

The Queen would never hug a stranger, even a needy one. She keeps her gloves on, physically and metaphorically, which is one of the reasons why she has endured.

Meghan's biggest gesture to date has been giving up her acting career so that she and her prince can save the planet together — or whatever it is that they want to do.

So I don't think that she is a phoney. I do think she is marrying for love. And I believe she has a lot to offer this country.

However, the royal kind of fame is like no other. It can easily corrupt and be corrupting, for it is not based on achievement or merit, but upon status alone.

And having said previously that Meghan can't wear $100,000 dresses and expect people to love her as she doles out broth in a soup kitchen, I now wonder if she and Harry shouldn't smarten up, just a bit. In her urban-girl uniform of black trousers and coats, straggly-haired Meghan turns up on official royal business as if she were on her way to get coffees for the office.

Joined by a tieless Harry, they crash around, high-fiving, cuddling, rapping to order and generally getting down with the kidz. One wonders who is advising this headstrong young couple and where their unconventional approach will lead.

In the meantime, lovely St Meghan should put a little starch in her shirt and stop trying to be a legend before her time.