Her waxwork is installed in Madame Tussauds, her face is etched on the coins and imprinted on the tea towels. For Meghan Markle, for better or for worse, there is no going back now.

In just over a week, the former actress from California will become the Duchess of . . . what? Sussex? Clarence? Creme De La Mer? No one knows for sure.

What is certain is that after the wedding ceremony in Windsor, she will ride off to her future in a gilded coach, a handsome prince at her side, a new life unfurling before her like a golden ribbon.

Will she breathe a sigh of relief once that Windsor knot has been tied?

Certainly, despite all the Cinderella trappings, it hasn’t been much of a fairytale so far.

As young men about town, William and Harry could, and probably did, have their pick of any number of agreeable and fruity young women

As young men about town, William and Harry could, and probably did, have their pick of any number of agreeable and fruity young women

As young men about town, William and Harry could, and probably did, have their pick of any number of agreeable and fruity young women

Old lives have a nasty habit of encroaching on new lives; the dread spectre of the past a-gorging at the wedding feast.

And in Meghan’s case, there has been no shortage of attempts to sabotage her big day.

The poor girl seems to have more than her fair share of aggrieved friends and relatives harvesting their own bitter crop of gossipy Meghanalia, determined to do her down.

It would be embarrassing for any bride to have this banquet of juicy tattle laid before her prospective in-laws. Yet as awkward as this may be, perhaps Meghan will take consolation in the fact that the Windsors are absolute world-beaters when it comes to in-house dirty laundry.

Indeed, in the great laundromat of disgrace, the royals have dabbled in everything from flogging off official gifts to Squidgygate and Toe-Gate to Cherry Brandy Gate via tax havens, bribes, mistresses, love children, and nobody mention naked billiards or even, um, the Nazi fancy-dress outfit.

Apart from a few regrettable dates, what has St Megz done? Nothing as embarrassing as her future husband’s youthful indiscretions, that’s for sure. Nothing to startle the horses.

Even if she had, protocol no longer demands that royal brides be meek, virginal Protestants without a past — ability to look good in tweeds and wear hats a bonus.

And anyway, who among us could stand up to this level of scrutiny and emerge without a stain?

Shake the snow globe of any modern adult’s life and at least a few flecks of quiet disgrace will come floating down.

A former boyfriend of Meghan’s has a porn past?

A former boyfriend of mine has joined the SNP, and I think we all know which is the greater embarrassment.

In the long run, none of this froth damages Meghan Markle. But what does drive me insane is the endless, weary insistence by some that she is on the make; an unfeeling schemer who had long plotted to marry Harry before she even met him.

She was photographed outside Buckingham Palace when she was just a kid! So it must be true.

The same kind of noxious conjecture was also applied to the Duchess of Cambridge. For some, she was the chilling Waity Katy, a cold-eyed conniver who applied to study at the same university as Prince William because she wanted to ‘snare’ him.

It is pathetic, sexist and exhausting but it won’t go away.

Not only is this gold-digging theory patently untrue and demeaning to both women, it is also insulting towards the princes.

What are William and Harry? A couple of dim-bulb dolts incapable of thinking for themselves whenever a pretty girl crosses their path? Defenceless baby-boy turtles scrambling for the safety of the sea, only to be picked off on the beach by a brace of carrion with excellent blow-drys and devious smiles?

Call me old-fashioned, yes, call me naive, but I believe in true love and also that it truly is a love-match for both couples.

You could not mistake the electric sparkle between Harry and Meghan during those filmed interviews on the day their engagement was announced. It was there, too, when William and Kate left hospital after the recent birth of Prince Louis.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are set to tie the knot in little over a week

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are set to tie the knot in little over a week

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are set to tie the knot in little over a week

They are a less demonstrative, more controlled couple than Meghan and Harry, schooled in the discipline of public appearances. Yet there was something in the way William reached back to take his wife’s hand as they walked towards the car that was tender and touching. And real.

As young men about town, William and Harry could, and probably did, have their pick of any number of agreeable and fruity young women.

Actresses, starlets, singers and society darlings, plus no end of Honoria Glossops and Stiffy Byngs from Totleigh Towers — I imagine they were all ready to fall like frisky skittles under the ermine aphrodisiac of their royal spell.

Yet somehow, amazingly, each found a singular, strong young woman brave enough to take on a prince.

Kate has become a mum of steel, a devoted duchess, a companion of honour in the best possible way.

Meanwhile, Meghan hasn’t just put Harry on a diet, she has made him look happy and erased that lonely, wayward air that used to cling to him.

Despite the best efforts of the malcontents — and it is asking a lot — I am quite sure she will become a terrific duchess.

Summertime, and the dressing is… cheesy  

Let’s be honest with each other. British people are hopeless at dressing well in hot weather.

Give us a rainstorm on a windswept hillside and we know where we are and what is required. Cosy quilting, waxed outer garments, scarves and mittens, nice socks inside wellies, hat with a bobble, sorted.

Place us in the middle of a heatwave and we wilt like parched tulips. We quite often look ridiculous. We just can’t help ourselves.

Men cope by either dressing like toddlers or wearing clothes reserved for sporting activities, in public. They think this looks nice.

Entire families, such as the Jacob Rees-Moggs (above), take to the balmy outdoors in outfits that have been cobbled together from remnants on grandad’s attic floor

Entire families, such as the Jacob Rees-Moggs (above), take to the balmy outdoors in outfits that have been cobbled together from remnants on grandad’s attic floor

Entire families, such as the Jacob Rees-Moggs (above), take to the balmy outdoors in outfits that have been cobbled together from remnants on grandad’s attic floor

They then put their unspeakable feet in eight-year-old sandals stitched from boiled ferrets and consider themselves quite the summer dandy. They should be locked up.

Women try their best in useless High Street linens cut into blocky gravestone shapes, which shrink after the first wash.

Entire families, such as the Jacob Rees-Moggs (above), take to the balmy outdoors in outfits that have been cobbled together from remnants on grandad’s attic floor.

We just haven’t got a clue.

If I want stimulation, I’ll watch a box set 

Veuve Clicquot, the champagne brand that’s a great champion of British businesswomen, gave its rising star award this year to sex-toy entrepreneur Stephanie Alys.

She is co-founder and self-styled chief pleasure officer of something called the MysteryVibe. It is a ‘smart’ vibrator that can be controlled with a smartphone, bringing a whole new meaning to the term ‘hands-free’.

Apparently, if your partner travels a lot, it can bring you closer in the bedroom.

Most wives I know adore it when their husbands are away for a few nights. The peace, the quiet, the watching of Netflix, the reading in bed alone for as long as you wish? What bliss.

Who wants a sex-pest ringing up from his Premier Inn for a bit of kink just when you’ve downloaded the new series of The Bridge? Gah.

What is wrong with everyone today? This need to be constantly stimulated and satiated is exhausting, with no respect granted to the concept of deferred or anticipated pleasure.

It’s now or never. Wham, bam, oh I’m losing the signal, ma’am.

Stephanie Alys has been praised by Veuve Clicquot for bringing sextech to the masses, but is this really what women want?

That’s what I call flagging in the heat!

At the Cannes Film Festival, actress Carey Mulligan flew the flag for BSC (British Summer Crime) this week by literally wearing a flag.

Was her red half-mast trouser suit fashioned from a Union Jack? Or did she borrow it from the man playing Dick Deadeye in the St Tropez Strollers production of HMS Pinafore?

Carey Mulligan out and about at the 71st Cannes Film Festival

Carey Mulligan out and about at the 71st Cannes Film Festival

Carey Mulligan out and about at the 71st Cannes Film Festival

We will never know. But what I love about 32-year-old, London-born Carey is that in the South of France, surrounded by starlets in pretty sundresses, she chose to wear this Hi-de-hideous outfit.

It makes you proud to be a Brit.

Oh really, Little Miss Thornberry   

An academic study from the University of Lincoln — don’t they have anything better to do? — revealed that the much-loved Little Miss books by Roger Hargreaves are sexist.

Emily Thornberry MP agreed, because ‘Little’ in the names implied that women are somehow ‘less’ than the Mr Men and, indeed, the men.

The researchers found that the female characters had less dialogue than the Mr Men, that they did more domestic tasks and needed to be rescued more often than the Mr Men and by the Mr Men.

I want to be honest here. Having a quiet morning doing some light housework before Mr Jolly or perhaps even Mr Tickle ring up to say ‘let’s go for lunch’ is my idea of utter heaven. There’s nothing demeaning about that, darling.

When asked which Little Miss character she might be, Thornberry suggested Ms Trouble. But I beg to differ. The Shadow Foreign Secretary is surely a dead ringer for Little Miss Dotty, who lives in Nonsenseland with Mr Silly and Mr Nonsense.

No prizes for guessing who they are.

 

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