On May 19, 2018, Meghan Markle married Prince Harry in a widely publicized and celebrated ceremony. Furthermore, after the exchange of vows, many reported on how the couple appeared totally in love during the romantic proceedings. But it seems that not everybody is convinced that their marriage is destined to last. Certainly, renowned feminist Germaine Greer has had a few choice words to say about the new Duchess of Sussex.
Australia-born writer Germaine Greer shot into the spotlight in 1970 with the publication of her first book, The Female Eunuch. As the title suggests, the idea behind the text is that women have been systematically oppressed by society and therefore left, for want of a better word, castrated.
At one point in the book, for instance, Greer asserts that “women have very little idea of how much men hate them.” She further argues that women have been altogether too nice to admit that men are the main cause of their oppression. Unsurprisingly, then, The Female Eunuch was a controversial book upon release.
But while some were seemingly highly critical of Greer’s thesis, others found it utterly compelling. Whatever the reaction to the book, though, The Female Eunuch went on to become a worldwide bestseller and has since been transcribed into at least 11 languages. What’s more, as a result of this success, Greer was put forward as a figurehead for the feminist movement.
Greer’s career has continued apace too. Indeed, she’s written several other books exploring issues such as menopause, sex and – understandably – feminism. And she’s ruffled more than a few feathers with her outspoken and often highly divisive opinions. Most recently, for example, her comments about rape made international headlines.
In this instance, Greer was discussing the subject of sexual assault at the Hay Festival on May 30, 2018. And during her speech, she asserted, “Most rape is just lazy, just careless, insensitive.” She also argued that “most rapes don’t involve any injury whatsoever” and that the sentences for the perpetrators of rape should be reduced. All things considered, her opinions on the matter were not overly popular ones.
But before this incident, it was Greer’s comments about Meghan Markle’s impending marriage to Prince Harry that drew public attention. The controversy began when Greer appeared on 60 Minutes Australia on April 15, 2018. This was a little over a month before the royal wedding.
It should be stated that while Greer hails from Australia, she has in fact spent the past 50 years living in the U.K. And during that time, she’s apparently developed a not entirely positive view of the royal family. In fact, she reportedly once called Princess Diana “needy” and refers to the royal family collectively as “the firm.”
So when the subject of the royal wedding came up in the 60 Minutes Australia interview, Greer did not mince her words. For instance, at one point interviewer Tara Brown asked Greer what Markle’s “greatest challenge” would be. And Greer responded, “Just putting up with it.”
What did Greer mean by that? Well, simply that she believes that royal life is too constricting. As the author later said in the interview, “[Markle] will see vistas of boredom that are unbelievable. I think the pressure to escape from the firm is crushing.” She even went on to call royal life “horrible” and “anachronistic.”
Greer further opined that Markle could feel this pressure more because of what she has sacrificed for the union. After all, Markle has put aside her acting career – she appeared in more than 100 episodes of the TV drama Suits – so that she could fully commit to her forthcoming royal duties.
However, 60 Minutes’ Tara Brown responded to this claim by asking why Markle would forego her career if she wasn’t 100 percent certain of their bond. Greer quipped, “Why would a girl born in poverty marry a man with 53 million quid? I can’t think of a single reason.”
Perhaps it will come as no surprise, then, that Greer does not hold out high hopes for the marriage. Specifically, she said, “I think she’ll bolt.” Greer also argued that divorces were “everywhere” in the royal family and that “it’s nearly always a question of the non-royal running for the hills.”
And on the subject of running for the hills, Greer noted that Markle has “bolted before.” This was, of course, a reference to Markle’s divorce from her ex-husband, Trevor Engelson, in 2013. For the famous feminist, then, this is perhaps proof that Markle is prepared to walk “out the door” if a relationship isn’t working for her.
So when all is said and done, should Markle just give up now? Greer said, “Stay with it for as long as it lasts. Why not? But don’t stay for the bad bit. Be prepared to go when it gets bad. Just say, ‘That’s it. Gave it my best shot. I’m outta here.’”
And as is par for the course when it comes to Greer and her opinions, this interview did not go down well with many online. In fact, a Twitter user named Helen Murti called Greer “bitter” and said that her interview was a “spiteful attack on Meghan Markle.”
Murti was by no means on her own, either. For instance, Lisa Bol said on Twitter that Greer was “the wicked witch,” while others complained that Greer’s views were not feminist. For her part, though, Greer seemed unmoved by the criticisms. So unmoved, in fact, that she repeated her claims on the U.K.’s This Morning on May 4, 2018.
This latter appearance also caused a backlash on Twitter. And some of the users of the social media site did not hold back their feelings. In fact, one man called Greer a “sad old wombat,” while another person said that Greer should “get back in [her] box.” And although these comments are undoubtedly harsh, they do suggest that not everybody agreed with Greer.
Of course, this debate didn’t detract from the fact that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle did indeed get married. And not only did Markle become the Duchess of Sussex, but she has also accompanied the Queen on her first solo outing. For now, at least, there appear to be no signs of an upcoming divorce.
As for Greer? Well, she moved from a contentious discussion of rape onto a contentious discussion of Beyoncé’s clothing – or perceived lack thereof. Yes, it seems that wherever the Australian author goes, controversy is sure to follow.