Is there anything worse than a royal wedding?
Not for us, the one billion people quaffing prosecco and happily judging while we watch the family dysfunction and fairytale ritual play out before our eyes. But surely Meghan Markle is approaching May 19 with a pit of dread in her stomach.
All any bride wants is to dress up, knock back the champagnes and hit the dance floor with her nearest and dearest. Of course there's pledging your eternal love, but it's also about planning the best party possible — and keeping it simple is key.
Not so for Prince Harry and Meghan, whose wedding is looking more like a diplomatic marathon thanks to a painstaking effort to tick every box in the political, charitable and ethical Zeitgeist. Add in the sheer logistics of a day that has a lunch and dinner reception, 5000 media organisations scrutinising your every move and fears of a terror, stalking or sniper threat, and it sounds like the wedding from hell.
Case in point: 1200 people from around the UK and 200 from local charities have been invited to make the public "feel part of the celebrations". So far, so noble. But those guests have been asked to arrive by 9am for a 12pm service, with one describing it as "unfathomable" they should bring their own picnic and suggesting a local Maccas might be the best bet.
Rather than having her besties to pop champagne and calm her nerves, Meghan's bridal crew will be children more prone to tantrums of their own, or perhaps worse, headline-stealing sweetness (looking at you, Princess Charlotte).
The entire royal family will be there, (sans racist brooches, one hopes) so the bride will have to worry about who to curtsy to and laughing with her mouth full. That's if she can spare a thought from her own siblings who persist in daily media bashings, and a dad who can't seem to shake local paparazzi from catching him in oddly heartbreaking preparations.
Other details have been subject to the same level of ethical scrutiny. You want white roses flown in from Kenya? Too bad, it's pollinator-friendly plants from meadows in the Royal Parks. Gifts? To charity, please. Music? Local choir boys and state trumpeters. Security? Harry's army pals lining the streets. God help her if the reported $180,0000 dress is made in a sweatshop.
The day will also involve two receptions — a lunch with 600 people hosted by the Queen, and finally, a private affair where she might get to let her hair down, if she's still standing at that point.
In the morning, she'll wake up to thousands of column inches from strangers debating the merits of the dress, any unfortunate royal flubs and why Kate and Wills' big day was much better anyway.
The week after the big day, the new Duchess and her Duke will hotfoot it back to work before heading to an undisclosed honeymoon location, where she had better not think of a spot of topless sunbathing lest paps are lying in wait. Ditto for getting overeager with the breakfast buffet.
Never mind a ring and a royal tiara — someone get that woman a medal.