ZELLA COMPTON: You say two-mate-oh, I say tomato: let’s call the whole thing off

A marriage of two cultures - Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Picture: Alexi Lubomirski
A marriage of two cultures - Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Picture: Alexi Lubomirski

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Having married a man from overseas, a migrant, I feel in a special place to offer Prince Harry advice on his pending nuptials.

It’s not easy to handle a marriage from two cultures, starting with different customs for the wedding, spanning seasonal holidays with family, which country to spend them in, and then carrying on with where to raise the children.

I suspect it’ll be easier for Harry as he probably has quite a tidy wodge of cash behind him to switch back and forth regularly. But before any of that happens, the wedding...

My now-husband and I had very different ideas. Like the number in the wedding party.

Americans, and north Americans (as is my husband) have a strange habit at weddings which you’ll have seen in 101 movies. That is having as many groomsmen as bridesmaids at either side of the altar. It needs to match. Accept this and move on at speed. Harry will have to hope that all wedding guests will have watched enough TV to understand this seemingly bizarre turn, but on the plus side I suppose the commentators will explain all this.

Another peculiar habit is chinking glasses at the reception.

This is a sign, a dictator, that the wedding couple must kiss. There’s a whole lot of tinkling going on all the time. None of this hanging around waiting on ceremony to have a chaste kiss on the cheek after the speeches. Nope, it’s all about the full on love factor.

Once the wedding is over, real life settles in and that’s when it all comes pouring out.

Speaking different languages is all well and good until you have children and have to decide what to do about things like rubbish or garbage, garage or garage (that’s in the pronunciation), garden or yard.

While distinct, different languages can be a huge advantage for children growing up, a hybrid English can lead to them being accused – by relentless peers – of ‘putting it on’ for effect.

But if you want to preserve some element of your partner’s culture, and you do, you need to work out quite how much you want to go down this particular rabbit hole.

Then there’s the merging of Christmas traditions, shaking of presents is hugely un-British if you ask me, but it’s what my man likes to do, much to my annoyance.

So the best advice to give is to make your own traditions for every day of your life, and for every occasion.

Take the best of each culture and genetically splice them for a happy marriage.


In keeping with a royal theme, I’ve been delighted with the first few episodes of The Crown on Netflix.

I’m a latecomer to this particular party but it’s been lovely so far, and illuminating about the Queen’s supposed beliefs of separation of monarchy from person.

The relationship between her and the government, and the lack of control of her life gives a lot of food for thought.

Less illuminating and more confusing has been the rather fine sight of Matt Smith’s buttocks.

As he’s playing the Duke of Edinburgh, one has to perform the mental separation of actor to reality, but it is somewhat disturbing.

At times the show can feel a little stretched out, but overall it’s a sumptuous delight.


For the past 11 years or so of writing this column I usually twitter on about new year resolutions and what I’ll change this year.

Yet here I am, still no fitter, no thinner, no richer.

I’m still the same, in fact, as last year when I vowed to write to a politician once a week.

Hmm, that didn’t quite come to pass. I managed about three letters over the course of the year.

This year I will aim for a different route with my impact on the world and instead ask those handing out plastic straws if they’ve considered the environmental impact, starting from the bottom up, rather than top down.

Have a wonderful 2018, changing the world in the best way that you can.