'Modern princess' gets thrown around a lot, but Meghan may be it

The concept of the "modern princess" is a strange one. Refusing to accept the term as tautology, followers of the British royal family have tried to apply it for years, only for their labels to gain obsolescence when someone more "modern" rolls along.

Princess Diana was "one of the people". That is, she was before we were introduced to Kate Middleton and remembered Diana was actually from the aristocratic Spencer family, best known as the custodians of the 90-room Althorp estate.

(Not that Diana would have inherited it: thanks to the system of primogeniture, her younger brother was always going to jump the queue. In 2015, that younger brother announced he intended to skip his own three daughters in favour of his youngest son when he hands down the estate. How modern.)

Similarly, among all of the talk of the now Duchess of Cambridge being of non-royal lineage around the time of her 2011 wedding to Prince William, it was easy to forget that - with her private boarding school education and millionaire parents - she was hardly common.

But, could Prince Harry's girlfriend Meghan Markle indeed be the modern princess?

The Suits actress' relationship with Prince Harry first came to light in the most modern way: through a press release.

It was an unprecedented move for the palace. The statement, released last November, rebuked the media for their "abuse and harassment" of Markle at home in Toronto and her family in Los Angeles after rumours she was dating Harry began to circulate.

If she becomes a princess - and, if you trust the rumour mill or the betting odds, it is certainly looking that way - Markle will bring something fresh to the royal family.

She is an American, an actress, and undeniably tuned into a political culture you don't associate with the Sandringham Christmas invite list. She's written about her experiences of racism as a bi-racial woman for Elle UK. She can probably teach the boy once caught in a Nazi uniform a thing or two about politically correct party costuming.

She is famous and successful. She has her own charity projects. She - as was widely reported after the publication of pictures of Markle accompanying Harry on his official duties at the Invictus Games for wounded soldiers in Toronto this week - wears ripped jeans.

In short, Meghan Markle is modern. And, perhaps, she will even be a princess.

This story 'Modern princess' gets thrown around a lot, but Meghan may be it first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.