To: Queen Elizabeth II

From: Joe Mathews

Re: Mutual respect

Your Majesty, I don’t mean to rush someone who just turned 92. But it’s high time that you showed California some appreciation—by making our entire state an honorary member of the British royal family.

Perhaps that seems a bit much, but ask yourself, Ma’am: Does your family have a more devoted servant than the Golden State?

For all the public relations vassals you’ve employed, none has been as effective at telling your family’s story over the last century than the folks in Hollywood.

In more recent years, British royalty and Hollywood have converged, with an avalanche of productions about your family. The King’s Speech, about the stuttering struggle of your father, won the best picture Oscar. (Investigative reports suggest you may be the only woman that its producer, Harvey Weinstein, ever treated with respect.) The Academy gave Helen Mirren the best actress award for playing you in The Queen. Even Silicon Valley has been in your (streaming) service, with Netflix casting the charismatic Claire Foy as a young you in another award-winning series, The Crown.

These and dozens of other productions would be enough to humanize most families. But you require more. So now California is giving you our own flesh-and-blood, a glorious child of Los Angeles: Meghan Markle. She is set to marry Prince Harry on May 19.

Markle brings your clan a new level of diversity (she’s biracial), education (she has an international relations degree from Northwestern), and beauty (those teeth!). She is marrying your less accomplished younger grandson, best known for having dressed up like a Nazi for a party. And Markle has handled herself graciously, in the face of paparazzi, an Andrew Morton biography, and racist tabloid commentary.

As matter of foreign policy, this classy California girl has impeccable diplomatic timing. She provides a crucial boost to the faltering special relationship between our two countries, while also giving your nation a gorgeous distraction from the self-inflicted consequences of Brexit. Not since FDR has an American performed so great a rescue of the U.K.

If there is something already regal about her, that’s no accident. As the child of a cinematographer and as a student at a snooty private girls’ school, she grew up around wealth and celebrity in Southern California, about as royal a milieu as you can find outside of Buckingham Palace.

Indeed, California has taken the lead from you in advancing monarchical ideals for the 21st century. Our wealthy folks live like royals—behind gates and high on hills. Many of our richest are Anglophiles—keeping apartments in London, playing polo in Santa Barbara, or even hunting in the countryside with hounds, through clubs like the Santa Fe Hunt in Riverside and San Diego counties. Like any good aristocracy, they make sure job opportunities stay in the family. Drew Barrymore and Emilio Estevez have film careers, so they don’t call it Hollywood royalty for nothing.

And in the Bay Area, our tech lords are catching up to royal standards. Did you catch Zuckerberg’s Congressional testimony? His upper lip was even stiffer than yours!

One dirty secret about California is that, for all our populist culture and direct democracy, we’re soft on monarchs. We’ve even granted the Queen Mary, the ocean liner named after your grandma, a permanent berth in Long Beach. We Californians also have a demonstrable weakness for elderly leaders who refuse to abdicate power—like your generational cohorts Jerry Brown and Dianne Feinstein.

And we’ve produced some of America’s most self-consciously regal chief executives, like Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger. While covering the latter for the L.A. Times, I once called him “an Austro-Californian king” in print; I meant it as a teasing barb, but he called to thank me for the line.

Now, even as I hereby request gratitude from a Queen, I also must thank you. Filming your family’s stories has made a lot of money for our state’s entertainment industry. And we realize that, in sending you Markle, we’re not giving you a film or TV network A-lister. The series in which she appears, Suits, is on basic cable. And she’s a divorcee, which probably brings up all the pressures visited on your father after your uncle abdicated to marry another American divorcee, Wallis Simpson.

I must also confess that California could use a good wedding, like Harry and Meghan’s May nuptials, that celebrates our state’s diversity and glamor. These strengths of California are now mocked by our president and others who wish to divide the country and stir resentment. It feels good to have at least one country that respects us and welcomes us, even if that country is not our own.

Forgive me, but I do have to lobby you on one thing. Can you do a little better for our Meghan than the titles currently being talked about in the British press? We read that you might make her a duchess, but there are plenty of duchesses already. In one account, she would lose her name entirely to her husband and become, weirdly, Princess Henry of Wales.

I realize this breaks protocol, but it would be delightful if you could make her Princess Meg of Windsor Hills. That’s the predominantly African-American, upper-middle-class neighborhood in South L.A., where her mother lives; it has lovely breezes and views. Such a title would be a beautiful way to bind a California community and your family name together.

It’d also be cool if the organist could play at least a few bars of Tupac’s “California Love” during the ceremony. But that’s not a priority. It’s far more important for you to acknowledge what this wedding really is: the official consummation of a longstanding partnership.

Most of us Californians can’t make the wedding, so please pass on our best wishes to your entire family. Mazel Tov, Meg and Harry! And God Save the Queen!

Joe Mathews writes the Connecting California column for Zócalo Public Square.