In May 2018, American actress Meghan Markle married Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and became the first person of color in the British royal family. Instead of this historic event being celebrated as a sign of progress, the British media unleashed a torrent of disrespectful headlines and articles about the new Duchess that continued long after the union.
There were also rumors about tension between Markle and the Prince’s immediate family behind closed doors. Although all claims of prejudice have been refuted by the crown, many believe that Markle’s unpleasant experience stemmed from racial bias. After months of slander and a baby on the way, Markle and her husband made the decision to move overseas and step down as senior members of the royal family
Almost a year after the couple left the British royal family, Markle and Prince Harry agreed to a tell-all interview with American talk show host Oprah Winfrey in CA. The discussion included questions about Markle’s experience, Harry’s role in the separation from the crown, and racial bias within the royal institution.
While much of what Markle discussed was known to the general public, there were also revelations that shocked Winfrey and the public after the interview aired. The most controversial of topics were that there had been conversations within the crown about how dark the color of Markle’s child would be and that Markle had contemplated suicide after the constant attacks from the media had not been dealt with by the crown.
Immediately after the interview aired, the character of the British royal family was put under public judgement. Many on social media agree that the crown has a severe racism problem.
While movements around the world have fought for racial equality in recent months, the 1200 year old British monarchy seems to be rejecting progress with these racist developments uncovered by Markle. As calls for representation for women of color continue within discussions about race, Markle’s entrance as the first black woman in the royal family should have been celebrated as a symbol of this new era of inclusion and diversity.
Instead of this, the crown failed to protect Markle from the constant attacks from the British media, which often included racist propaganda. This failure makes it clear that the crown is not dedicated to the equality the world needs to move forward.
The conflict between the former Duke and Duchess of Sussex and the British monarchy serves to draw the public’s attention to how problematic these old, secretive institutions can be. Even with knowledge of the colonial past of the British monarchy, many still romanticize it because of the pristine image that is presented to the public. Keeping in mind the past and present of the royals that occurs behind closed doors will make it easier for progress to happen because people will be more likely to believe victims like Markle.
The issue of the British media is pertinent as well because it should not be acceptable in 2021 for tabloids and platforms to be pushing out racist, demeaning content about a princess that is obviously fueled by the color of her skin. While the press has every right to criticize the monarchy, publications fueled by racist bias must be rejected by the public.
Markle, her husband, and their son Archie now live in Canada with a new company of their own. This new independence and life away from the royal family has given them a new opportunity to build a life outside of such a suffocating environment. The couple also announced that Markle is pregnant with a baby girl due in the summer, completing their family and fresh start.