Disney’s got a lot to answer for really. Lose a glass slipper, kiss a frog, chow down on a poison apple and hey presto, sooner or later you’ll live happily ever after as a princess.
The love of that prince will then take you from tending the cinders, whisk you away from a life of poverty and see you firm installed as a much-loved character who is revered by the masses.
Cue the credits, bring on the birdsong because of course, most Disney epics end there.
A recent interview with Meghan Markle has revealed just how challenging ‘happily ever after’ can be.
In a documentary for ITV, journalist Tom Bradby asks about the physical and mental impact of the intense public scrutiny that has followed her since she first came into Prince Harry’s life. And it makes for a thought-provoking moment.
Meghan takes her time to process these questions. She looks uncomfortable, a little emotional, and is cautiously choosing her words, because she knows, you know, and I know – she’s damned for whatever she’s about to say.
"Any woman, especially when they're pregnant, you're really vulnerable. So that was made really challenging. And then when you have a newborn, you know? Especially as a woman it’s a lot," Meghan carefully replies.
"You add this on top of just trying to be a new mum or trying to be a newlywed, it's um... yeah.”
“Would it be fair to say not really been OK. Has it been a struggle?” Bradby gently probes, to which Meghan responds with a quiet “Yes”.
In the uncomfortable moments Bradby spends asking these questions and Meghan quietly answers them, you’re reminded of the young woman and very real person she actually is.
The words “It’s um…yeah” open up a cavernous space for us to consider exactly how her reality might be.
Imagine being critiqued for every word you utter, move you make, thing you wear – being commented on endlessly in headlines and social media.
Imagine being pitted against your family and in-laws, being painted a villain and doing it on the world stage?
There are some choice adjectives which could fill that gap between the ‘it’s’ the ‘um’ and the ‘yeah’, because those days might be nigh-on unbearable.
In a telling moment, Meghan also thanks Bradby for even asking, indicating just how little we consider there’s a person behind the headlines.
"Thank you for asking because not many people have asked if I'm OK, but it's a very real thing to be going through behind the scenes," she says.
It must be a very, very real thing. We can all appreciate the sinking feeling that comes with walking into a room and feeling you’ve been spoken of less than glowingly. Imagine knowing that’s every room you enter and still having to front up all smiles.
It wouldn’t be OK, it could actually be quite debilitating and as much as it comes with the job, there’s little doubt it would take a toll.
So, no thanks Disney, I don’t want to be a princess, a queen, a duchess, or even a celebrity. Courtesy of social media, tabloids, and mass bullying, ‘It’s um...yeah’ a job that would totally suck.
You can see Meghan Markle’s quite devasting responses to those Tom Bradby questions here:
Cassandra Charlesworth is a features writer with 20 years’ journalism experience. She loves a good old-fashioned story and getting to the heart of a great yarn. She’s also a mum to three children who have encouraged her to hone some secret skills. Nimbly navigating Lego pieces left on her lounge room floor and creating stylish Barbie attire from all manner of household objects are just a couple of credentials she’s recently added to her resume.