One of the truths of life and love is that who one falls in love with is unpredictable.
When Meghan Markle and Prince Harry married in the spring of 2018, it seemed like a modern fairy tale. The marriage of a biracial, previously divorced American actress and a high ranking member of the British royal family was every storybook romance brought to real life.
Nearly two years later, Meghan and Harry’s decision to step down from their royal duties seems to have shaken the royal family to its core.
To be fair, Harry will never realistically be King. Which frees him and Meghan to create a life of their own choosing (well, as much as they can).
Some have pointed to the overt racism that Meghan received from the British tabloids and the lingering trauma of Princess Diana’s death that guided the couple to make their decision. If those are their reasons (in addition to giving their son as normal a childhood as possible), then I can respect that.
The reality is that they will be never be completely divorced from the British royal family. Harry is and always will be a member of the House of Windsor. I’m sure that this decision was not made out of spite, but because Harry and Meghan felt that it was right for them.
The other reality is that the lifestyle they are used to is not exactly poor. They will also need to hire security, but the question is, who will be funding their new life? I’m not a British or Canadian taxpayer, but given their soon to be new life, I would not be happy if my tax dollars were given to fund their lifestyle.
Only time will tell if Harry and Meghan will be able to go their own way. Whatever happens, I wish them well in their new life and for many years to come.
Her story is told in the new novel, The Other Windsor Girl: A Novel of Princess Margaret, Royal Rebel, by Georgie Blalock. Through the eyes of Vera Strathmore, the daughter of an impoverished aristocratic family, the viewer is swept into the world of Princess Margaret. At the beginning of the novel, Margaret is young, spoiled, passionate and tempestuous. Vera, still hurting from the death of fiance during World War II, is a writer who dreams of moving to New York.
A chance encounter with Margaret changes Vera’s life and her priorities. Drawn into Margaret’s inner circle, Vera watches as she falls madly in love with Peter Townsend. Peter works for the royal household, is older and married. Despite the criticism, Margaret is determined to have her man.
While Margaret is cordoned into royal responsibilities, Vera begins to wish to be untied from a life tied to the Princess. Soon another scandal envelopes Margaret and Vera must choose how she wants to spend the rest of her life.
This book is brilliant. There is a perception when it comes to royalty, that living that life is akin to a fairy tale. But the reality of that is life far from the fairy tale that it is perceived to be. In telling Princess Margaret’s story through the eyes of Vera, the viewer is taken to a world that is essentially a golden cage. It is a cage that when perceived from within, can be unappealing.
Elsa (Idina Menzel) is firmly installed as Queen of Arendelle. Anna (Kristen Bell) and Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) are still going strong. But as things return to normal, Elsa is called away from Arendelle by a mysterious voice that she cannot ignore. With Anna and Kristoff, Elsa, Olaf (Josh Gad) and Sven go on a journey to discover the source of the voice and the unanswered mystery of their family’s past.
While most sequels are decent, they do not hold up to their predecessor. Frozen II not only holds up to its predecessor, it exceeds all expectations. Though this film is firmly aimed at children, there is more than enough material for the adults to be entertained. There are themes of growing up, dealing with change and moving away from relationships that were once considered unquestionably important.
Fairy tales have a way of reaching across time and cultures. They may seem frivolous and fantastical, but they tell human stories about human characters.
The new movie, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, takes place five years after the first movie ends. Aurora (Elle Fanning) and Prince Philip (Harris Dickinson) are newly engaged. The hope is that this marriage will bring peace to the land. But hope often springs eternal.
Before Aurora and Philip can walk down the aisle as newlyweds, Aurora and Maleficent are invited to have dinner with King John (Robert Lindsay) and Queen Ingrith (Michelle Pfeiffer). The dinner is supposed to be a “getting to know you” for the future in laws. But in true Meet the Parents fashion, the dinner does not go as planned.
The bond between Aurora and Maleficent begins to weaken as their relationship changes and the drums of war are heard in the distance. Will Aurora and Philip say “I do” and more importantly, will her relationship with Maleficent return to what it was?
I liked this movie. There are some sequels that for any number of reasons, feel unnecessary or feel like they are not adding to the reputation of their predecessor. This film is neither. Without spoiling the movie, there are themes of growing up, respecting diversity in the face of persecution and what happens in the mind of a parent when their child grows up. None of which are easy to deal with on an emotional level.
This film is well written and well acted. Though it may seem to be the predictable fairy tale, it is not.
I recommend it.
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is presently in theaters.
In a traditional fairy tale, the princess/young female heroine is not an active character, in spite of being the lead character. She is a passive character, reacting to what is happening to her and waiting for someone else (i.e. the prince) to rescue her.
Sophia, Princess Among Beasts, co-written by James Patterson and Emily Raymond was released in July. Sophia is a teenage princess who loves books, her widower father and her people. Then her kingdom is invaded. Sophia is taken into a world in which beasts that only exist in storybooks live. Somehow, she must return to her world and save her kingdom from the coming invasion.
Initially, I didn’t know what to think of this book when I picked it up at the library last week. As a writer, I have heard of James Patterson, but I had yet to read any of his books until I started this one.
To say that I was impressed with the novel is an understatement. It is well written and has some predictable elements of the traditional fairy tale/fantasy genres. However, there are elements in the narrative that make the story stand out from the traditional fairy tale/fantasy story.
As a feminist and a writer, I appreciated Sophia’s story arc. She may start out as the typical fairy tale princess, but does not end the story as one would expect.
The nice thing about fairy tales is that the stories are simple. Writers have been adapting fairy tales for generations because of the simplicity of the narrative and the basic elements of the characters.
Last year, Kiss of the Spindle, by Nancy Campbell Allen, was published. A sort of steampunkSleeping Beauty, the book takes place in alternative universe of 19th century England. Dr. Isla Cooper is cursed. When the clock strikes midnight, she falls into a death like sleep that lasts until six am the next morning. She has a year to find the witch that cursed her and remove it before the year is up. It is nearly a year to the day that she was cursed.
Bribing her way onto Daniel Pickett’s ship whose destination is the Caribbean, she finds that she is not only passenger with questionable motives. Three shape shifters and a disliked government official are also on board. Isla and Daniel agree to work together to keep the shape shifters safe while fighting their own demons and realizing that there is a mutual attraction blossoming between them.
I rarely read romance novels. Depending on the novel and the writer, I find them to be formulaic and the characters predictable. But this novel is different. I loved that the female lead was strong, smart and capable. She was not looking for a man, as many female leads in this genre are. I also loved the concept of taking a story that we all know and turning it on it’s head.
When one is a part of a royal family, one’s life is not your own. You have responsibilities to the people whom you rule. A private life is a concept that is nearly foriegn to you.
When Prince Harry married American actress Meghan Markle last year, it seemed like a fairy tale. That fairy tale was completed two months ago with the birth of their son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor. Last week, the baby was christened in a private ceremony in front of family and friends.
Unlike his cousins, Archie was not presented to the press and royal fans after the christening. Many in Britain are not happy, claiming that because their tax dollars fund the royal family, they are entitled to some access.
I am honestly torn on this topic. As a taxpayer, I understand the average Briton’s frustration about not being able to see the fruits of their hard earned tax dollars. However, I also understand that Harry and Meghan are looking to protect their son, like any good parent.
Harry grew up in the spotlight, I am sure that he understands it’s pitfalls. In her former line of work as a performer, Meghan was in the spotlight because it was part of her job. Archie, like his father, did not ask to be born into the British royal family. He did not ask to be world famous the moment he entered this world. He did not ask for the spotlight. But it is on him and it is up to his parents to make sure that their son grows up healthy and happy.
In 1998, Disney broke ground with the release of Mulan. Based on the myth of Hua Mulan, the movie told the story of the eponymous character who dresses as a boy and takes her elderly father’s place during wartime.
Back then, Mulan (Ming Na-Wen) was a revolutionary character, especially among the Disney Princesses. Unlike other Disney Princesses, her main goal was not men, marriage and eventual children, in spite of the message that was shoved at her in every form possible. Her journey was that of a warrior who was defending her country while trying to figure out who she was.
It is that message, that I think, then and now still resonates with audiences.
This new live adaptation is directed by Niki Caro, whose previous films have featured strong women making tough decisions. Three of the four screenwriters are female. The cast is made up of Asian actors, properly reflecting the world that the characters live in. And yes, there will be some musical elements, but those details are being kept under wrap for now.
As expected, Disney is keeping certain information under wraps until the film is released in March of next year. These live action adaptations straddle a fine line. They have to honor their animated predecessor (and the original fairy tale, if there is one), while reflecting the cultural changes that have occurred since the original film was released.
We can only wait and see when the film is released next year.
I am a natural redhead. When I was growing up in the 1980’s and 1990’s, it was hard to find on screen characters who looked like me. Among the handful who I could look to as inspiration was Ariel (Jodi Benson) in the 1989 film, The Little Mermaid.
Over the last few years, Disney has rebooted their beloved animated films into live action films. The newest addition to this trend is the live reboot of The Little Mermaid with Halle Bailey stepping into the fins of Disney’s first modern Princess.
I have to admit that I have mixed feelings about this casting. While I applaud Disney for choosing an actress of color to play the role, my heart is still wedded to the idea that Ariel is a redhead. When your growing up and you look different from your peers, you look to film and television characters who look like you. When I was a kid, that was Ariel. As an adult, I don’t agree with her narrative, but her image and the impression she made back then are still with me to this day.
Readers, what do you think? Do you agree or disagree with the casting?