JK Rowling may have achieved worldwide fame with her Harry Potter books, but she’s every bit as well known for delivering killer putdowns on Twitter. So, when someone penned a vicious article about Meghan Markle, we weren’t all that surprised when Rowling made a point of calling them out on it (in her own unique way, of course).
US actor Meghan Markle announced her engagement to Prince Harry on Monday (27 November), sparking a series of excitable headlines all over the internet. Who would design her dress? Would her Suits co-stars take on bridesmaid duties? And, perhaps most importantly of all, would we get a day off for the royal wedding? (Spoiler: we won’t. Sorry, guys).
However, there were, of course, a number of people who weren’t happy about the news. At all.
Ever since her relationship with the prince came to light, tabloids have hounded Markle, penning lengthy articles about her divorce, her age (she is 36 – and, as such, a few years older than the prince) and her race (she has a black mother and a white father).
Stunned by the abuse and harassment that Markle had been subjected to, Prince Harry was forced to issue an unprecedented public statement, condemning the behaviour of some parts of the press.
“Some of this has been very public – the smear on the front page of a national newspaper; the racial undertones of comment pieces; and the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and web article comments,” he said.
“Some of it has been hidden from the public – the nightly legal battles to keep defamatory stories out of papers; her mother having to struggle past photographers in order to get to her front door; the attempts of reporters and photographers to gain illegal entry to her home and the calls to police that followed; the substantial bribes offered by papers to her ex-boyfriend; the bombardment of nearly every friend, co-worker, and loved one in her life.”
For a time, the stories seemed to quieten. However, upon learning of the engagement, a number of highly critical articles began to appear all over the internet – not least of all Melanie McDonagh’s, which appeared in The Statesman.
“It would be churlish to express reservations about a young couple who have just announced their engagement,” the article begins, before going on to add, “but needs must. Someone has to say it…”
McDonagh goes on to label Markle as “unsuitable” to be Prince Harry’s wife “for the same reasons that Wallis Simpson was unsuitable. She’s divorced and Harry’s grandmother is supreme governor of Church of England.”
The article has some basic facts, sure: Markle has been married once before, to American film producer Trevor Engelson. Yes, Simpson’s 1936 engagement led to the abdication of the king, Edward VIII, who decided he would rather give up the throne than the socialite. And yes, in 1953 Princess Margaret decided against marrying the man she loved, Capt. Peter Townsend, because the Church of England would not countenance it.
But it’s 2017, and things have changed – for the better. Indeed, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby revealed no qualms about Prince Harry marrying a divorcee, insisting: “I wish them many years of love, happiness and fulfillment and ask that God blesses them throughout their married life together.”
He also went on to suggest that the couple have already settled on an Anglican wedding ceremony (a right which was denied Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles), saying: “I am so happy that Prince Harry and Ms. Markle have chosen to make their vows before God.”
Plenty of people pointed these facts out to McDonagh on social media, with many insisting that there are plenty of modern royals who have been divorced – and that, as any Year 5 history student will tell you, the Church of England was founded by King Henry VIII as a means of facilitating his divorce from Katherine of Aragon.
Rowling, however, kept her response far more simple and to the point.
Reminding the world that she, herself, is (shock horror) a remarried woman (she tied the knot with Neil Murray in 2001), the celebrated novelist wrote: “Team Divorcée”
Two little words, but they’ve had a phenomenal impact on social media: at the time of writing this article, Rowling’s post has been retweeted more than 1,557 times and liked over 15,000 times.
Additionally, a huge number of people have taken up the hashtag #TeamDivorcée theselves, as a means of addressing the double standards to which our society holds women.
#TeamDivorcée Pretty sure Harry is marrying for love. Harry's dad is divorced, so is uncle, etc.. can't you let the guy be happy? He's fifth in the line to throne.. if Grandma said it's okay.. I think she's familiar with the protocols!. Just sayin! https://t.co/HVdjUC24WR— Susie Sherman-Hall (@SusieShermanH) November 27, 2017
Others, meanwhile, praised Rowling for her (always) exceptional use of the English language – and, y’know, grammar:
All hail Rowling.
Images: Rex Features