Susan Dalgety: A Valentine’s lesson of love from Harry and Meghan

On Valentine's Day the country will be awash with red roses and romantic cards
On Valentine's Day the country will be awash with red roses and romantic cards
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It would take a heart of stone not be moved by the love match that is Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Their engagement is a Disney fantasy come to life. A handsome prince, with a sad childhood, falls in love with a beautiful, feisty commoner, and we all go ga-ga as they prepare to live happily ever after.

“Oh, he looks so happy,” some trill on Twitter. “Isn’t she beautiful,” others gasp on Facebook. And of course we all chorus, “his mum would have been so proud of him”.

I have no doubt Princess Diana would have been very happy for her youngest son, and his big brother.

Despite their dysfunctional upbringing, and the tragic death of their much loved mother at only 36, William and Harry seem to have this love thing sussed.

Unlike their poor mum who spent all her life searching for someone to love her unconditionally, and died still not knowing the peace and security that a loving relationship can bring.

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day and the country will be awash with over-priced red roses, sickly romantic cards and expensive chocolates. We give around 25 million Valentine cards each year, countless bunches of red roses, and spend over a billon pounds on gifts. Apparently men spend 50 per cent more than women, and us Scots spend less than the rest of the UK.

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It seems we are a nation of hopeless romantics who, despite all the evidence to the contrary, still believe that true love is just around the corner, or the next right-swipe on Tinder.

But what is this true love we all crave? When I was younger, much younger, I thought I was “in love” every time my heart beat a little faster and my pheromones went into over-drive.

Now I am little older, okay, a lot older, I realise that true love is much more rewarding, if much harder work, than my youthful passions.

True love is caring for someone when they are sick. Wiping their bum or mopping up their sick if need be.

It is putting up with their annoying habits, just as they tolerate yours. Though personally I draw the line at watching reruns of Dr Who.

True love has no room for jealousy, abuse, or neediness. It is about kindness, respect and creating a sense of security.

It is about liking someone as much as it is loving them. And, above all, it is about feeling good. If your partner doesn’t make you feel good about yourself, then it is time to leave.

Life is far too short to waste with someone who makes you feel worthless. Trust me.

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Prince Harry’s father, the hapless Charles, shocked the nation on his engagement to Princess Diana when he replied to a question about being in love with a nervous giggle, and a blunt “whatever ‘in love’ means”.

He soon found out that “in love” was not what he felt for his young bride, and it wasn’t until he was reunited with his former girlfriend, the distinctly unglamorous Camilla, that he experienced true love.

Hopefully his son Harry has found true love at his first try. The signs are good. During his engagement photocall, Harry couldn’t hide his delight that Meghan Markle had agreed to be his wife. He even had some romantic advice for other young couples.

“If anybody at home is listening, maybe slow down the dates and maybe send more time at home,” he suggested.

The happy couple are in Edinburgh today, no doubt winning hearts wherever they go, but I am sure tomorrow they will spend Valentine’s Day alone, just the two of them at home, enjoying each other’s company.

And that is what we should all plan to do. There is no need for grand gestures on Valentine’s Day to prove your love.

One hundred red roses may take your breath away, but I would much rather have a cosy chat on the couch at the end of every day than a flamboyant gift once a year.

Just as long it is Come Dine with Me on the telly, and not Dr Who.