Last week, there was an engagement.
Kensington Palace announced that Prince Harry, 33, was officially engaged to actress and humanitarian, 36-year-old Meghan Markle.
The story – as was expected – has dominated the news cycle ever since. There was the proposal, where Prince Harry got down on one knee in their cosy cottage, while a chicken roasted in the oven. Then there were the first pictures of the engagement ring. Then the rule they broke during the photo shoot. Then the details of the wedding, set for Spring next year. Then the conspiracy theory behind why they’re marrying so soon. Then the images of Markle in a wedding dress. The list goes on.
LISTEN: Why we need to seriously reassess our excitement about the royal wedding. Post continues below.
And it is not difficult to see why.
The world watched on as a 12-year-old Harry stood at his mother’s funeral, gazing at nothing in particular, his expression a mixture of confusion and devastation. We warmed to her two sons, born into a royal family they would never be able to escape.
Markle, divorced, biracial, American, a feminist, an actress, is the anti-Princess; everything a royal should not be.
By all accounts, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are decent people. And are they not just celebrities – rich, beautiful and powerful, constituents of a class we have always harboured a unique fascination for?
Simply, no. No they are not.
And it must be said, that when we excitedly speculate about the venue, or the guests, or the best man, we are entirely missing the point.
We live in a western democracy that believes in class mobility, achievements based on merit, the rule of law and elected officials. The royal family is the antithesis to everything we value.
The wedding that we so eagerly await will cost tens of millions of taxpayers dollars.
Kate Middleton and Prince William's wedding cost approximately $50 million. Middleton's dress alone was worth half a million, in a world where more than half the world's population, three billion people, live on less than $2.50 a day.
Despite the growing disparity between rich and poor, and the truth that no one is willing to acknowledge: You are poor because they are rich, we celebrate and encourage this absurd spectacle of conspicuous consumption.
For the cost of Middleton and Prince William's wedding, Britain could have housed every homeless person in the country for a week. They could have hired thousands of nurses. They could have invested in the public health system, or education or affordable housing.
But caring for the sick is unglamorous.
All over the world, people suffer because of the decisions made by the British monarchy. Not, to be clear, the decisions made by Prince Harry - but by the very institution he now represents.
Our investment in their love story is not harmless.
We are supporting a family with an estimated worth of $680 million. For that - you could quite literally eradicate homelessness in the United Kingdom. You could hire more than 16,000 nurses. You could provide 10,000 hospital beds. You could feed millions of hungry mouths.
That is something we ought to keep in mind when we watch two people, made of the same flesh and blood as you or I, not better or worse than anyone else, marry.
It will be beautiful. It will be on screens all over the world.
But is this, truly, what we believe in?
Listen to the full episode of Mamamia Out Loud. Where we discuss everything from Meghan Markle to Milo Yiannopoulos.