I have many fine qualities – but being a good judge of character is not one of them. Put me in a room with six saints and a psychopath and we all know who I’m going to be swearing blood-brotherhood with by the end of the evening. Interestingly, this hasn’t left me feeling like a victim; as I’m extremely tough, reckless and self-mocking, I bounce from one inappropriate friendship to the next with no loss of enthusiasm.
But most of these relationships are by their nature not conducted in the public eye. When a journalist makes a fool of themselves drooling over a famous figure who later turns out to be an ocean-going rotter, it’s a different matter. However I may as well do a mea culpa on this matter – anything for a cheap laugh, even if that involves dragging my own name through the dirt. Twice, in this very magazine, I have lain down my pride like a cape over dirty water and begged Meghan Markle to walk all over me.
Worst things first. In the winter of 2017 I scribbled thus, no doubt dotting the letter i with hearts whenever it appeared:
‘Prince Harry is a lucky man to have found a companion who is so definitively un-princessy – even though she is as beautiful a woman ever to have walked the Earth… It would be nice to think – for reasons of spite and scandal – that Meghan Markle is that splendid thing “an adventuress: a) a woman who seeks dangerous or exciting experiences: b) a woman who seeks position or livelihood by questionable means” (Merriam-Webster). But I think the far more wholesome if less thrilling truth is simply that she is a young woman in love.’
There’s worse to come.