One of the problems of having been on television is that there is a real danger your life can become a reality show as well. And that is what seems to be happening to the newest entrant to the royal family, Meghan Markle. Having had a much more interesting life than that of Prince Harry — and reached where she is today, entirely on her own, Meghan makes good copy. Not only has she seen more than her sister-in-law, her life has been very public. This has enabled the press and others, ever so often, to pull out something a little cheeky from her past. The good thing is that she seems to dismiss much of this criticism with a cheery smile. However, recently her own family has not been very helpful, as it seems that her father has said he will carry on giving interviews and seeking publicity till she repairs the so-called rift between them, ever since he did not show up for her wedding.
Now, to break the tension between them, Meghan has to fly in “secret” (what kind of a secret is this, which is known to every tabloid across the world?) to meet her father to make up! If any scriptwriter had dreamt this up no one would have believed it. But now I would suggest that like the Kardashians — why don’t the royals have TV cameras in every room, so that all these little details that keep trickling out, can be covered in depth.
So for her 37th birthday, Meghan will make up with her father, and do some very interesting other things, such as eating chips and having a glass of wine which she treats herself to every year on her birthday — as she, reportedly, looks upon each birthday as a personal “new year”…
All one can hope is that the media will leave her alone for a while, but as long as her American family vies for attention (including her step-sister who puts out the most excoriating tweets), there is little chance of that! The price of being a princess!
The economy in the UK continues to stagger about. The last time I went to the House of Fraser (one of my favourite stores on the high street) the cab driver told me with a grin: “You better rush there before it shuts down.” And he was right — if the news is correct, and the store is heading for closure, it will certainly leave a huge gap in our lives (literally and metaphorically). I am not a great shopper — but I like the store on Victoria Street (hope it stays) as it is always quieter than Oxford Street, and one could browse at leisure. However, I have to admit that I too have switched to online shopping now as it saves so much time. There are obviously millions like me who prefer to buy in virtual space. Thus it means that for many large chains like House of Fraser, all that is eventually required is a warehouse to ship out items and a good returns policy. Perhaps the only item you cannot risk buying online are shoes — and maybe only shoe stores will actually remain… As for the rest, who knows? The House of Fraser has not found good bailout plan as yet, and may have to close more than half of its 59 stores… a sign of the times!
Only the Indian cricket team generates the same excitement in the UK as do Bollywood stars, and I am sorry to be missing the wonderful get-together at the Indian high commission for cricketers. Am sure everyone would have had a word of encouragement for the team… though they may have broken a few hearts as they appeared very close to winning the first Test! But now even Test matches do not last long as they used to. The long hot summer promised some fine cricket but the first Test lasted only three days. Virat Kohli appeared to be the only one holding out against the England XI. In the end, even he had to admit defeat. Anyway there will be further encounters to enjoy watching and let us hope the boys win.
In one of the saddest cases of terrorism come to light in the UK in recent years is that of the young Safaa Boular, who was only around 16 years old when she was radicalised by her boyfriend, Naweed Hussain, who was actually an Islamic State agent. Now at the age of 18, she has been given a sentence of life imprisonment — as she planned with her boyfriend to bomb the British Museum. We sometimes forget how easy it is to brainwash the vulnerable into thinking they are fighting for a cause — while teaching them to murder hundreds of innocent people. Boular’s boyfriend would woo her, as well as play computer games with her — and teach her about terror tactics. Some of her family and friends have also been convicted, including her mother, and the taped conversations showed how lightly the plan to kill people was treated. We must remember that in this world where reality and fiction are so easily mixed — no ideology is really needed to make young people take the wrong path. Often life becomes just like a computer game!