CROWN

Meghan Markle’s India Trip Reveals A Perfect Modern Princess

She’s intelligent, vocal on social issues, and not afraid of the publicity that comes with Prince Harry’s girlfriend. What next for the pair?

Evan Agostini/AP

Watching Meghan Markle’s trip to India as a charity ambassador this week unfold on social and mainstream media, it was hard not to be impressed by the remarkable positive attention she attracted to very unglamorous cause—healthcare and education for the world’s poorest women.

It was also impossible not to imagine how it might be if she was doing this kind of work as a Princess of the United Kingdom.

She’d certainly be a huge media draw. Outlets around the world, from the British tabloids to the Hindustan Times covered the trip which saw Meghan, 35, spend several days in some of the poorest communities in the world, working as an ambassador for World Vision Canada in Delhi’s notorious slums.

Meghan--who had an extensive henna tattoo drawn on her arm during the trip by local women--was bringing much needed attention to the plight of females in extreme poverty, and the ways in which they can be positively impacted by better education and health care policies.

It was an interesting dress rehearsal, and a good sign of how effectively Meghan--the most googled individual of 2016—might harness the position of being Prince Harry’s wife, despite a number of factors that on first blush might make her seem an unlikely addition to the Royal Family.

It is not, for example, entirely standard procedure for prospective entrants to one of the oldest family firms on the planet to have a deadbeat brother who gets arraigned on gun charges after a drunken fight with his girlfriend.

Nor is it completely typical for future British princesses to be three years older than their beau, divorcees or successful actresses—pace Koo Stark—with a steamy showreel.

However, it is becoming increasingly apparent that Meghan really does have the right stuff to take on the role in the modern era. Royal brides used to be required to be two things—pretty and quiet—but those days are, thankfully, dead and buried.

Everyone acknowledges this now. It is a reassuring sign of how extensively and effectively the Royal Family has modernized that an American woman who is intelligent, actively socially committed and unafraid of the inevitable invasion of privacy that a life in the public eye entails has been welcomed into the fold by Prince Charles and Kate Middleton, rather than being dismissed as attention-seeking gold-digger as she would have been two decades ago.

While rumors that the two are ‘secretly’ engaged—à la Prince William who privately asked Kate Middleton to marry him several months before it was publicly announced—are wide of the mark, friends of the royals do now feel Harry, 32, is more likely to marry Meghan than they ever felt he was to get hitched to ex-girlfriends like Cressida Bonas or Chelsy Davy.

It could be that Meghan is thinking herself into the role, preparing for the possibility of a full time life of philanthropy as she focuses on that and cuts back on her acting work—which would certainly have to go if she really married Harry.

Markle is said to have devoted a great deal of time and energy to researching and organizing the trip: "She didn't want to be given notes by someone else and just show up. These are important areas of interest for Meghan and issues she feels extremely passionate about," a source told US Weekly.

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She writes well on her lifestyle website The Tig (one piece, published on MLK day, about her mixed race heritage, was a great example of her work), and her record on humanitarian issues is faultless.

Meghan Markle ticks a lot of boxes.

The ball is very much in Harry’s court. If he doesn’t ask Meghan to be his wife, you’d be forced to wonder who would constitute the ideal candidate for what he has often referred to as the ‘role’ of being his wife.