Soon-to-be royal couple reflect the lifestyles of other young couples
Who could have imagined in 1737, when the News Letter began publishing almost 300 years ago, that we would still be in print almost 300 years later, and still reporting on royal weddings?
Those earliest editions of the Belfast News Letter were filled with reports on the then King George II and his family, including coverage that hints at his estranged relationship with his son, the then Prince of Wales.
There are reports on the births of Prince George in 1738 (later King George III) and Prince Edward in 1739.
All this news is interspersed with serious reports from around the world, on wars and economic and other matters.
Fast forward to the 21st century, and not only is the British royal family still in place, it has huge public support and there is as much interest as ever in a royal engagement.
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Today our coverage of the announcement that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are to marry includes an eight-page supplement.
The happy couple’s relationship is one that reflects the lives of so many young people today.
Both aged well into their 30s, they are, as is almost the norm today, settling down at a later stage in life than married couples typically did only a generation ago.
Ms Markle is in fact three years older than the prince. That she is a divorcee and that this has attracted little comment is a reflection of the fact that society is far more accepting of marital breakdown than it once was.
As an American of mixed-race and partly Irish Catholic heritage, Ms Markle cements the welcome new era in which royalty resembles the diverse society over which it presides much more closely than it ever did in the past.
Barack Obama, America’s first mixed-race president, yesterday tweeted his hope that Harry and Meghan enjoy a lifetime of joy and happiness together. It is a message that is being echoed around the world.