The controversial feminist academic and author has predictably controversial thoughts on the upcoming royal wedding.
Germaine Greer has a long history of making controversial statements, whether she’s criticising the #MeToo movement or claiming that transgender women “can’t be women”. Now, the 79-year-old feminist academic and author has offered her take on the upcoming nuptials of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry – and her predictions aren’t wholly positive.
In a new interview with 60 Minutes Australia, Greer – a staunch anti-monarchist – said she thinks Markle “will bolt” once she realises that life in the British Royal Family is actually pretty dull.
“Let’s hope they’re in love. If not it’s going to be totally unbearable,” Greer said. “She will see vistas of boredom that are unbelievable. I think the pressure to escape the firm is crushing.”
‘The firm’ is a term frequently used to describe the Royal Family. Both Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip have been reported as using the phrase in private, and King George VI spoke the line “we’re not a family, we’re a firm” in the 2010 film The King’s Speech. While the phrase suggests a business operation, it has also been used to describe organised criminal gangs that put a high value on a culture of loyalty and silence: the group run by infamous London gangsters the Kray twins, for example, was also known as “The Firm”.
When asked what she thought the future held for Prince Harry and Markle, Greer replied: “I think she’ll bolt.
“She’s bolted before,” she continued, referring to Markle’s 2013 divorce from Trevor Engelson. “She was out the door. I think she’ll bolt.”
“I think she’ll bolt”: Germaine Greer
It is, of course, ludicrous to suggest that having been divorced means a person is incapable of sustaining a happy marriage, and the term “bolt” has extremely uncomfortable – and unfair – connotations of flightiness and fickleness, qualities that are rarely attributed to men. However, Greer went on to add that she would actually quite like to see Markle leave the Royal Family: “I hope in a way that she’ll bolt, but maybe she’ll take Harry with her.”
Greer was then asked why she thought Markle, already a successful TV star thanks to her role in Suits, would give up her career to marry into the Royal Family. “Why would a girl born in poverty marry a man with 53 million quid?” she replied. “I can’t think of single reason.”
Oof. It seems odd to have to point this out to a woman who wrote one of the most influential feminist texts of the Seventies and should really know much, much better than to rehash the kind of joke told by misogynists of that era, but: Markle wasn’t born in poverty. Her father was a lighting director on TV sets in Hollywood and her mother was a social worker, and she was always privately educated.
On top of that, she is believed to have earned around $450,000 (£333,000) a year from her salary on Suits and other acting and sponsorship deals, so she was hardly strapped for cash before meeting Prince Harry. Also, positioning other women as gold-diggers is… really not a Win for Feminism, Germaine. Just saying.
Rounding off the conversation, Greer threw in a bit of light anti-redhead sentiment for good measure. “She probably is in love with him,” she conceded. “He’s glamorous despite having red hair.”