Sis­ters are in it for them­selves

The Press - - Opinion -

Game, set and match to the Ugly Sister. Her dad won’t walk Meghan Markle down the aisle to­mor­row thanks to heart trou­ble, but there was more than that in play. Sa­man­tha Grant, the half-sister 17 years older than Meghan, hasn’t stopped slag­ging her since her en­gage­ment to Prince Harry, and en­sured a last­minute drama to mar the cel­e­bra­tions. To give her credit, she has ad­mit­ted it.

How lucky I am to have no sister, and what an Ugly Sister this is. She may be stuck in a wheel­chair, which is a shame, but she struck with all the charm of an as­sas­sin. This wed­ding is the Broth­ers Grimm for the 21st cen­tury.

Pic­ture the in­no­cence of her ap­proach to their fa­ther this past week; his im­age in the me­dia is un­flat­ter­ing, a sure sore point for a fat man, and with pa­parazzi chas­ing him night and day he was un­der­stand­ably rat­tled.

Pic­ture the Ugly Sister – not bad-look­ing ac­tu­ally – per­suad­ing him to yield, a mooted $180,000 fee would be in­ci­den­tal, to a se­ries of ob­vi­ously set-up pic­tures to get the mob off his back.

Whose idea was it for him to be pic­tured gaz­ing at a pho­to­graph of Meghan and Harry?

Whose idea to have him pic­tured with a tailor mea­sur­ing his com­modi­ous tum? Not his. I think not. Not when he had an agree­ment with the palace to steer clear of such tacky in­va­sions of pri­vacy, and not when Sa­man­tha ad­mits she told him to do it. She only wanted to help.

‘‘He had no idea he’d be taken ad­van­tage of,’’ she says. Least of all by his daugh­ter, I should imagine.

Sa­man­tha, 53, is cur­rently a brunette. In blon­der times she bears a pass­ing re­sem­blance to Court­ney Love, a fel­low rebel against good taste and con­form­ity, though Sa­man­tha wit­ters on about good man­ners and fam­ily loy­alty in an amus­ing way.

You’d think she was Emily Post, whose man­ual of mod­ern man­ners could have proved help­ful, but this is the sister who of­fers ‘‘The Diary of Princess Pushy’s Sister’’ for pub­li­ca­tion in­stead. As you do to close fam­ily, as you claim to be.

Meghan’s char­i­ta­ble works an­noy the Ugly Sister. She refers to ‘‘sit­u­a­tions where celebri­ties visit a place that is poverty-stricken and they’re wear­ing im­pec­ca­ble cloth­ing’’.

She her­self would wear rags to be in keep­ing, is my guess. You be­gin to un­der­stand why her hus­band is said to keep a loaded gun in ev­ery room of their Mi­ami home.

What re­ally rat­tles her – she tells us – is that Meghan doesn’t send her fa­ther money. This is con­tra­dicted by an un­named ‘‘friend’’ who says she has done, lots, but Thomas Markle se­nior ‘‘has al­ways been a slob, selfish with no emo­tional in­tel­li­gence’’. He won two Emmy awards as a light­ing di­rec­tor, how­ever, and $500,000 in a lottery when Meghan was lit­tle. He is now bank­rupt and liv­ing in Mex­ico.

Life can be hard, I get that, and fam­i­lies can be as dys­func­tional as yours or mine.

Thomas’ grand­son wrote an open let­ter to Harry, telling him to call the wed­ding off, then wrote again ask­ing to be in­vited. He’s had a spot of bother over al­legedly hold­ing a loaded pis­tol to his girlfriend’s head. His son has a weed farm in Ore­gon, where he hopes to breed a new strain called ‘‘Markle’s Sparkle’’.

His brother, a pizza chain man­ager, sup­pos­edly gives cannabis to his three-legged dog. Medic­i­nal, of course. Some re­ports have sug­gested the broth­ers might fea­ture in wed­ding cov­er­age for Good Morn­ing Bri­tain, with their mother. But not the dog. A shame.

Watch­ing on the telly will be Sa­man­tha. You can bet the taste of vic­tory will be de­li­cious.

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