I remember that last year this time, I wrote a draft article that I never posted for the blog. (I’m going to try and weave some of those past thoughts here.) In January 2020, Meghan and Harry announced, via their Instagram account, that they were effectively stepping back from being senior members of the Royal Family of England, in pursuit of a new progressive role. This included them splitting their time between the United Kingdom and North America.
Fast-forward to today, and their Instagram account has been inactive for a year, they have left England for Canada, and then the United States, and have been stripped of their titles, security detail and any financial support from the firm. (The firm would be an over-arching term for the management team that handles the members of the Royal Family, in terms of press, image management, brand and reputation and more.) In case you haven’t had a chance to see the full interview, I thought that this analysis of the situation was quite fair:
Look over there! It’s a Distraction.
I wanted to continue my review of the entire situation. I think I put the magnifying glass firmly over Meghan. Now, I would like to focus on other factors. Meghan shared in the Oprah interview that she was not protected with the truth, but others were protected over lies. She has a point. Prince Andrew has been strongly linked to the infamous Jeffery Epstein. Somehow, he has managed to step down from royal duties and keep his title, and military patronages, despite the abuse allegations, connections to known predators, and potential pre-trial witness subpoenas in the United States.
Buckingham Palace wanted to investigate the claims that Meghan bullied her staff at the palace, but there has been no similar investigation with regards to Prince Andrew and his victims. I understand that Harry was officially cut off financially as of early 2020, and all security detail from their family was removed. In addition, it was announced publicly that they were staying in Canada during their transitional period. I wonder if Prince Andrew is still on the taxpayer’s payroll. In comparison between the two situations, the only differences that I can see are privilege, power, connections, and race. Prince Andrew was born a rich white man connected to old money. He claimed that his connections to Epstein gave him incredible value and that he regrets none of it. It’s frankly embarrassing that such a huge scandal and story is sitting behind the castle walls, and yet he is protected by his family and largely ignored by the media.
We saw similar issues happening with her and Kate. If they are out in public, and just living life, journalists want to tear apart their fashion choices, their expenditures, their way of being and going… and any deviance from Royal Protocol. However, if Duchess Kate does a similar thing, however, she is praised for being innovative. The hypocrisy is real.
Is it a skin issue? It’s likely.
I saw some people online claiming that criticism of them did not stem from racism, but their constant virtue signalling. Meghan did use her platform to promote more progressive issues, may have which put her at odds with a more traditional country and institutional monarchy. However, to state that racism wasn’t a factor AT ALL seems extremely disingenuous. I will never forget the time that The Daily Mail ran that story labelling Meghan as being (almost) straight out of Compton.
Speaking of skin colour as well, Meghan did hint at comments being made about Archie’s skin. I believe that situation happened, and those comments were racially insensitive. If Meghan had been truly welcomed within the family, why the colouring of her children even an issue? That said, it seems weird to tease that information without offering any names. I also wonder why Meghan hinted at something being said to Harry, and Oprah’s team, along with other media bodies ran with the story, only to have Harry remain completely tight-lipped over everything. That said, they may be trying to keep things classy, maintain good relations with in-laws, and not burn the last of any bridges still standing.
Colourism provides nuance.
Now, every black person and their mama running to identify and cape for Meghan’s plight gives me pause. Meghan passed as white this entire time. I always knew she was mixed-race, as there are a lot of biracial people in my area. Would her race be a factor? I think so. I have already mentioned the Compton reference, linking her with NWA, the rapper group from the 1980s and 1990s. There was also a royal relative who wore an offensive broach to meet Meghan.
Colourism is what allowed Meghan to marry into the Royal Family and anti-black racism is what forced her out of it. That’s the nuance you’re looking for.
— skengesther. (@esthergbenz) March 8, 2021
All of that said, let us not get it twisted. Meghan would have never gotten as far as she did without her proximity to whiteness and her ancestral royal roots. Is it her fault? Do I blame her for it? No. In fact, I am quite impressed by her. However, it seems that she assumed that her looks, her smarts and her past successes were enough to secure the position. It was not. While I admit that it is wise of her to fall back on race and colour at this point, when things are no longer working for her, I wonder if she would have ever spoken up about colourism and racism if it had continued to work for her. Either way, again, I am not mad at her. I am just admiring the hustle.
I guess she assumed that it would be a big happy family instead of the mercenary business that it really was. I wonder to myself, again, why were you so unprepared? Why didn’t your mother warn you about possible issues of racism in all-white spaces? Why did your husband prepare you for how his family could be? Why did you not google or do some research? Black women, we need to be craftier than this, and we need to teach our children. If you are interested in dating outside of your race and elevate above your station, you need to prepare for what that entails and teach your daughters how to navigate these spaces. Race and optics can huge factors if we don’t prepare for any issues.
You have to do the work.
To me, Meghan should have tried to see this position as an acting role. You want the role of a lifetime? You need to prepare. I mean learning how to curtsey, studying family dynamics, learning how to navigate the press and more. That said, in this situation, I think that there is a lot of responsibility to be had with the Royal Family and Prince Harry. They know how things go. They know the ropes. If you want someone to join your family and do as the Romans do, you need to work with her to prepare for the position. Why was she not trained on fashion and behavioural protocols? Meghan should have never been brought into the limelight without being adequately prepared to handle the roles and responsibilities required of her.
Mental Health is a Serious Issue
The heaviest accusation for me was the lack of mental health services available to her when things got overwhelming. Of course, the roles and responsibilities played a significant role, but the media definitely exacerbated the situation. The press was ruthless. They attack her for every breach of protocol, even during her pregnancy. We saw media personalities casting doubt on her emotional state, and continuing to support the monarchy while tearing her down. All the while, the royal family did nothing. Harry’s parentage is even being called into question(, my gossip magazines,) in response to the recent interview.
If she did not have her passport, her identification cards and her movements or outside contact are monitored and restricted, then why not allow her to use her own money to procure services? Could a Zoom call not have sufficed? Maybe not have a person secretly visit the palace to support her. It is frankly embarrassing that as she was not a paid member of the Royal Family, she was not eligible for critical mental health services. Is this not something that they plan for when outsiders marry into the Royal Family?
By the way, if any of you ever need mental health services and support, I want you to please take advantage of resources. I want to take some time to list a few places where you can find support.
While I still have so many thoughts, I must say that the approach from the Royal Family has been extremely disappointing. One would think that they would have learned from the past scandals with Diana and Sarah. In addition, the hypocritical way other members of the Royal Family are protected and defended, while Meghan was left out to dry, is extremely telling. I am personally very disappointed in this failure, and I don’t see this boding well for the future of the monarchy. While Meghan could have definitely prepared herself better, an institution that is looking to modernize, as well maintain their relevance and popularity, could have handled this way better. At the end of the day, the royals have way more to lose here. Meghan and Harry will be fine.
Thank you so much to the Beyond Black and White family for this platform and for hearing my thoughts. I am excited to continue this conversation with you as soon as possible. In the meantime, feel free to enjoy Christelyn’s recent chat on YouTube, covering this topic.
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