This post deals with suicide and might be triggering for some readers.
It was less than three years ago.
May 19, 2018. Less than three years ago, but another time altogether.
In a state of collective amnesia about the pretty s**tty fates that awaited most of the women who pulled on a vintage tiara and an improbably big dress to marry a prince, we all lost our minds about Meghan Markle marrying Prince Harry.
Watch: Meghan and Harry from birth to now. Post continues below.
It seems almost quaint, when you consider what has happened since, that the sunny Spring day in Windsor was considered something of a jolly morale-lifter for the British people. They were mired in a stinking Brexit stalemate. Trump was still A Thing. Sporadic, lone-wolf terrorist attacks stalked their major cities.
A great big wedding was just what everyone needed to buck right up. Bunting on streetlamps, commemorative tea-towels, ridiculous hats. A happy event, indeed.
"The wedding was great, wasn't it?" We all said to each other afterwards, as if it was the season opener of the last Game Of Thrones (actually, maybe it was). We critiqued the guest-list, the soundtrack, the performers, the costumes. "Loved what they did with it. Better than we thought," we said.
And Meghan Markle herself. What a breath of fresh air. A real person, with a past, a job, a life. Exactly what this fusty old royal family needs. Wills and Kate and Harry and Megs. Talking about mental health. Talking about race. Wearing clothes from shops we'd heard of. This was more like it.
Well, we really overestimated almost everyone, didn't we?
It's fittingly 2021 that the reality of what followed that optimistic day was a garbage fire of racism, bullying and denial.
As every single person in the world right now knows (because, let's face it, there aren't that many people who didn't watch Meghan and Harry showing Oprah Winfrey around Archie's Chick-Inn on Monday night), that fairytale was already a horror show before Meghan stepped foot outside her golden coach.
But if there's something positive to come from the revelations that the royal family and the "institution" they head up have learned precisely nothing in the last 40 years, perhaps it's this.
We can finally put the whole "princess" fantasy to bed.
Can't we? Can't we stop calling little girls that? Can we stop with the 'Daddy's Little Princess' bedazzled tees? And the fairytales that end with the wedding that looks just like the ones we know end in tears? Can we silence the collective gasp of envy and admiration for a woman who "snares" herself a prince, whether at the Slip Inn in Sydney during the 2000 Olympics or at a blind date in Soho after an ill-advised drink with Piers Morgan?