The Royal We by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan
It appears I’m about six years late to the party, here. I admittedly have a very American attitude towards the Royals. While many people all over my country soak up the news of Queen Elizabeth’s extended family like a sham-wow, my eyes glaze over and I start thinking about stuff. That actually matters. My inner skeptic can be overwhelming sometimes. It’s the Generation X effect. I’m working on it.
Sunday, I ventured into a book store for the first time since COVID-19 shut everything down a year ago. As such, I was a little over eager in deciding which books I must have. The answer was all of them. Including “The Royal We.” Half-priced and used, I figured maybe one of my kids would like it. I often fill bookshelves with different types of romance novels and literature just in case the kids need to learn about sex the way I did. You know, from Harlequins my mom left lying around.
So then, I get home and the news breaks that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are going to meet with Oprah. I hear some clip in the background where I hear Harry saying he’s left everything behind to protect his wife and make her happy. What a fairy tale! The prince marries a beautiful woman from a different country and social class and then he gives up everything – the titles, the money, the jewels – just to make sure she is safe and happy and treated with respect. Now THAT is what I call sexy as hell. Finally, the royals have my attention.
Now, this literally happened. As I was thinking about Prince Harry sticking it to his dad, my eyes drifted to the side table, where I had strategically placed The Royal We to entice my kids into reading something that is not being streamed on an electronic device. I slowly reached for the book. I then smelled it, because that is what any book lover does when they pick up a book. It smelled so good. It smelled like the cheap paperbacks that they hand out in the 9th grade of The Grapes of Wrath. Now that the book passed the smell test, I opened to page one. This book is clearly written based on the British royal family. The main characters have traits of both Meghan and Catherine and William and Harry. Queen Eleanor is Queen Elizabeth.
The next thing I know, it is dark outside and I’m two-hundred pages in.
You see, Rebecca, known as Bex, has run into the Prince of Wales on her first day of Oxford. He carries her bag to her room. She jokes about his ancestors having syphilis. She has no idea who he is. Of course, they become unlikely friends, they fall in love, they break up, they get back together, etc. It’s great. Rebecca has a twin named Lacey, who turned out to be a much more complicated character than I expected. She really added some drama to the book and helped to show the trouble that super privileged rich people deal with when their friends expect a lot from them. Must be awful, right?
I think that attitude is why so many people are so hard on Meghan Markle. This is the first time I’m really tuning in but it seems like she has an entire nation dissecting every move she makes and making racist assumptions about her. I imagine that she knew what she was getting into, but from one mother to another, I can see why she was so distraught after having a child and seeing the child begin to get that same racist treatment from the general public. It is one thing to be tough enough to deal with an entire nation’s critical media and a grandmother in law who is literally the Queen of England, but to have your sweet, innocent child go through that is something else entirely. There is no way Meghan was prepared for that, not even if she thought she was.
The entire reading of this book was a thought exercise for me. As I read about the rules Bex was supposed to follow, including never leaving the house, I realized how isolating it must be. I’m happy with my somewhat anonymous life. The worst thing I ever have to deal with is running into someone I know at the grocery store without make-up, or someone being critical of my writing. Once, a “friend” of mine opened a fake account and came to my website to leave a comment that my opinions were best kept to the kitchen, where I belonged. He just didn’t disguise his IP address. Dumbass. Anyway, we all deal with shit. She is dealing with shit times a million.
In the book, Prince Nick does not exactly know how to handle the press when it comes to Bex, and he can’t ask because his mother, very similar to Princess Diana in physical description because she’s literally lost her mind due to all of the pressure. In trying to protect Bex from all of it he ends up really pushing her away and making it worse for her. This situation isn’t exactly something there is a protocol to handle, right? I imagine they have therapists if they’re even allowed, but can they really trust anyone?
My opinion of the Royal We is that it is well-written, the plot is realistic and informative, and that you should read it no matter what genre you are used to reading. If nothing else, it will enlighten you to some dynamics of current events and give you a glimpse into what a life of fame and fortune is like. Different worries than us common folk have, for sure. No, they don’t have it as rough as the working poor or people living off minimum wage, but they do face significant psychological challenges and pressures. The fact that Prince Harry gave it all up and walked away for true love is a fairy tale that will go down in history. In this book, Prince Nick takes a leap and remains loyal to his true love, even when he is not sure what the royal family thinks. Read it, it will be worth your time.
I will be checking out the next book, The Heir Affair, as soon as I get a chance. I can’t wait to find out if there is a Royal We, book three.