Toronto hurray for Ricky Ray .. and Meghan Markle from “Black Beverly Hills”

Nov 28th, 2017 | By | Category: In Brief

Ricky Ray at the Grey Cup game in Ottawa, Sunday 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson.

Toronto residents, some would say, have two particular reasons to thank the Golden State of California in late November 2017 :

(1) Ricky Ray from Happy Camp, CA: To start with, Ricky Ray, the quarterback who has just led the fabled Toronto Argonauts to their 17th Grey Cup (venerable prize of the Canadian Football League), was born in a place called Happy Camp, California.

A short account of Ricky Ray’s hometown on the net offers some greater understanding of the world that made the ultimate Canadian football champion (four Grey Cups : two with Edmonton and now another two with Toronto) :

“Along the banks of the mighty Klamath River in far northern California rests a sleepy mountain town. Steeped in history, fraught with lawlessness, altered by industry, and even haunted by the legend of Bigfoot himself, the oddly-named settlement of Happy Camp has beckoned eclectic groups of miners, adventurers, and mysterious lone wolves throughout its tumultuous history.”

As far as this year’s quite astounding Grey Cup game in the Ottawa snow itself goes, even some Toronto residents will agree that Shadoe Davis from Winnipeg has a point in “Did the Argos win or did the Stamps lose?” Still, I live in Toronto. I’m happy the Argos did actually get to take the Grey Cup home.

(2) Meghan Markle from “the View Park-Windsor Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles, sometimes known as ‘Black Beverly Hills’” : Judging from Toronto TV and other media today, the absolutely crucial local news right now is –

Toronto in the early 1970s, before either Meghan Markle or Prince Harry were born!

How Meghan Markle and Prince Harry fell in love in Toronto: The timeline of a royal romance … From stepping out for the first time publicly at the Invictus Games to rumoured last-minute flights to visit each other, we go through Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s courtship in Toronto.”

As various friends and family can tell you (to everyone’s immense boredom etc), I very definitely do not believe that the British monarchy has any official, legal, and/or constitutional future in the modern “free and democratic society” we are so lucky to inhabit in Canada today. And in any case the Prince Harry Meghan Markle will be marrying this coming spring 2018 is unlikely to succeed to the throne. (Though that is also no doubt what some people once said about the stammering young man who eventually succeeded his abdicating brother as George VI.)

Yet even a fool such as I in these matters can agree that there is something genuinely new and intriguing about Meghan Markle in the history of British royal marriages. It’s not just that she is American, divorced, and Catholic – all anathema to earlier generations of the current British monarchy that descends from the 18th century German prince, George I.

As nicely explained in a piece from Ms. Markle’s own hometown newspaper (the Los Angeles Times), she is “the daughter of an African American social worker [Doria Ragland] and a white Hollywood TV cinematographer [Thomas Markle].”Â  As Meghan Markle’s IMDb biography also explains, she “Grew up in the View Park-Windsor Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles, sometimes known as ‘Black Beverly Hills’.”

Doria Ragland (l) and her daughter Meghan Markle (r) on their way to yoga class in Toronto (where Ms Markle was working on the ”Suits” TV show), just after Christmas last year.

The Los Angeles Times piece noted as well : “While sipping a coffee in the Hollywood & Highland Center [near Ms Markle’s old hood, so to speak]  Renee Heck, 58, remembered watching the late Princess Diana’s wedding in 1981. It was right after her own wedding … Heck, who said she casually follows the royal family, was familiar with Markle from her role on ‘Suits’ and was happy to see the prince marry someone biracial … ‘It’s a big deal to me to know the queen is accepting of that,’ Heck said.”

My own view is that the British monarchy would have even more strongly shown how it is open to the future if Prince William (first in line after his father Charles) had, eg, married the daughter of a maharaja from India.

Even if that had happened, I would still believe very strongly myself that the British monarchy has no constitutional future in Canada. But I agree Renee Heck from Meghan Markle’s Los Angeles hometown is onto something : It is in its own way impressive enough, in this current crazy age, that the British monarch is happy to see her grandson marry a mixed-race Catholic divorcee from the American city of dreams, where many now speak Spanish at the edge of the Pacific Ocean, far far away from the deepening swamp in Washington, DC.

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