It can be difficult to be a stepparent under the best of circumstances, and being a stepparent and mother-in-law at the same time might be the most challenging of all.
According to Tom Bower’s poignant new royal biography, the incompatibility between Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall is a key factor in the family dynamic.
Camilla and Meghan are completely opposite women with different interests and a completely different generational perspective.
Browse through the current issue of Country Life, which Camilla edited (ie she chose which articles to like) and her world of horses, dogs, gardening, happy childhood memories of galloping up the Sussex Downs on her pony and quoting Rudyard Kipling is well portrayed – amidst the advertisements for huge Georgian mansions in the Cotswolds. Camilla essentially defines herself as a peasant woman.
She was often happiest on the hunt, quickly grabbing a cigarette (she’s a lifelong smoker, although she’s recently tried to quit). She is described by friends as having an earthy sense of humor often associated with equine people.
Meghan, on the other hand, is an educated, politicized, ultramodern, urban Californian who’s trending with wake movements and health campaigns. She has proven to be an enterprising businesswoman who cleverly uses social media, Hollywood connections and smart initiatives to raise her public profile and make the most of every opportunity.
She has the American self-improvement ethic – and the American work ethic – and finds it normal to get up at 5 a.m. to organize schedules for her co-workers. She also showed initiative in registering the Sussex Royal website, establishing the Archewell Foundation and securing deals with Netflix and Spotify. She quickly hired lawyers and PR professionals to support her brand. But Bower, in his profound book, Revenge: Meghan, Harry and the War Between the WindsorsShe claims Camilla was anything but delighted with her stepdaughter.
“Unlike Charles, Camilla could see through the American actress’ flirtatious smile and tactile performance. During her lifelong experience in the English county, Camilla had occasionally seen smug adventuressess. You were the sort who could call her ‘a slut’.”
That Meghan loathes hunting and finds it cruel (and kept Prince Harry from indulging in the field sport he once loved) did little to improve the chemistry between the two women. Camilla is the kind of woman who thinks it’s her job to make her husband happy, and friends like Gyles Brandreth say she does it flawlessly. Apparently not a great cook, Camilla’s favorite dish is baked beans.
Meghan seems to be a woman who likes to educate and improve her man. Harry was hardly known for his intellectual acumen – even the best tutors at Eton got him through two A-levels, one in art, one in geography – but his wife’s tutoring made him a much more serious person.
Harry’s speech at the United Nations on Monday, in which he bemoaned the state of the world – and denounced the US Supreme Court’s Roe v Wade decision as a “global assault on democracy and freedom” – is testament to how his has transformed him influence of the wife.
Camilla supports Charles’ friendships and interests. Meghan has felt sorry for some of Harry’s friends, loathing their mischievous humor and sometimes crude jokes.
After his pal Tom Inskip’s wedding, Harry’s pals texted each other saying what a humorless spoilsport Meghan was – one commented that Harry had to be “crazy” to put up with it. But Meghan certainly didn’t appreciate the kind of anti-feminist, sexist and anti-transgender banter that typifies these kinds of English people in their closed circles. Bower claims Meghan doesn’t like conversations that go against her “values”.
The bad chemistry between Camilla and Meghan may have been an added factor to a previous emotional scar. Biographers claim that for many years both Harry and William resented Camilla for replacing her mother as their father’s wife – always a challenge for any stepparent. But while William matured and accepted that Camilla was making his father happy, Harry never quite got over his bitter feelings – and tends to talk more about Diana over time.
These conflicts exist in almost all families: It is not for nothing that the mother-in-law joke has been an integral part of comedians for ages. The Windsors are often just an illumination of the day-to-day dynamics of family life.
Outsiders can see both sides: the older woman finds a daughter-in-law pushy and overbearing; a younger woman who finds an older generation – and institutions – stuffy and irrelevant. In time, Meghan will most likely be a mother-in-law and maybe step-parent herself, and the cycle will start all over again.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/step-parent-and-mother-in-law-camillas-relationship-with-meghan-is-no-fairy-tale-41853450.html Stepparents and mother-in-law – Camilla’s relationship with Meghan is no fairy tale