The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, revealed that the racism she faced as a member of the British Royal Family led to her suicidal feelings and thoughts in an emotional interview with Oprah Winfrey.
Meghan said that racism in the Royal family and the media contributed to her feeling that she “didn’t want to be alive anymore.”
Several famous black women in the United States who watched said it demonstrated the crippling impact of racism.
Tennis player Serena Williams, a good friend of Meghan, expressed her thoughts on Instagram, clarifying that systematic injustice and victimization are crippling, isolating, and all too often deadly. Others predicted that Meghan’s revelation that questions about the colour of the couple’s baby’s skin would shake Americans. The Royal Family is, however, yet to respond to Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s claims.
It was made evident in perhaps the most surprising allegation: that when Markle was pregnant with their son Archie, a member of the royal family approached Harry with “concerns and conversations about how dark his skin would be when he was born.” Meghan is a biracial American.
Racism Is Probably the Major Reason Why Royal Couple Left Royal Life
It was also implied in the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s account of why they left the royal life—and Prince Harry’s home country—for more private life in Southern California. Markle expressed her surprise at learning that Archie, Queen Elizabeth II’s first mixed-race great-grandchild, would not be granted the prince’s title. He would also be refused security cover, which worried Markle, given the racial attacks she and her family have faced since becoming royals.
Markle dismissed the commonly held misconception that she and Harry were the ones who refused to give their son a title. She said that she was more worried about her son’s welfare than if he would be named “Prince.” “They would not like him to be a prince or princess,” Markle said. She said, “He wasn’t going to get protection.” “We’re not saying don’t make him a prince; however, if the title is going to influence his safety, our son must be safe.”
The Royal family made no apology for the couple’s decision to split for personal reasons. In another clip, Harry says, “The impression is that it was our mistake, but the consequences are on us.”
“It’s been very difficult because I’ve always been a part of the system with them, so I’m mindful that my brother can’t leave the system, but I have.”
Meanwhile, the secretary of the New York Association of Black Journalists, Stephanie Guerilus, told BBC News that “bullying Meghan Markle has been a national past-time” in the United Kingdom.
The Skin tone could be a “problem”
She explained that questioning a baby’s skin tone could be prompted by ignorance but asking several questions in a row would lead her to believe that they were motivated by racism.
Meghan’s “brave” decision to leave the Royal Family was also lauded, including Amanda Gorman, the US Youth Poet Laureate.
She wrote on Twitter, “Meghan’s resilience will undoubtedly redefine families everywhere.” “Imagine the people who will be motivated to fight for their lives, and the husbands who will be kinder and braver than their family,” she said. “You are othering this baby when he is still in the womb” by posing these questions, she said.
According to the poet, a security guard labelled her as “suspicious.” Some black women in the United Kingdom have also expressed their displeasure with the interview. Dr. Shola Mos-Shogbamimu, a political and women’s rights activist, told BBC News that “racism is so normalized” that many white viewers will doubt Meghan’s encounter was racist because “racism is so normalized.”
People “wish to ignore that the Royal Family is entrenched in colonialism, racism, and white supremacy,” she said. Although the pair admitted to having a conflict with certain Royal Family members, including Harry’s father, Prince Charles, they spoke fondly of the Queen, whom Meghan compared to her grandmother.
History of Racist Attacks on Meghan Markle
Much before she was an official member of the royal family, racism has been one of the overarching problems that has dominated Markle’s time as a royal. When the pair first started dating in 2016, Prince Harry issued a public statement via Kensington Palace defending Markle’s privacy and protection, calling out racist and sexist media and social media—an action he continued after their marriage and the birth of Archie.
The openness of Markle and Harry to deal with the topic of race not only made the Oprah interview a must-see, but it also sent a strong message that they were breaking with the monarchy’s traditional aversion to discussing race.
As Oprah pressed Markle and Harry about which member of the royal family had inquired about Archie’s skin colour, they all refused to comment. When Winfrey pressed Harry, he replied, “The discussion, I’m never going to share.” “It was uncomfortable at the moment, and I was a little surprised and shocked.”
The British tabloids have relentlessly (and sometimes overtly racist) covered Markle, a disturbing parallel to the rabid media attention on Harry’s mother, the late Princess Diana. Harry has said on many occasions that his worst fear is “history repeating itself,” something he believes may be much more dangerous for Markle due to her race.
The tabloid coverage even pitted Markle against her sister-in-law Kate Middleton, with a story claiming that as a bride-to-be, she made Middleton weep over flower girl dresses six months after Harry and Markle’s wedding. On the other hand, Markle said that “the opposite was true,” though she insisted that she and the Duchess of Cambridge had made amends. Markle claims the Palace has the power to suppress the reports but chose not to. She used the event to demonstrate how the constant negative media attention and lack of encouragement contributed to an emotionally traumatic first year as a royal.