Oprah’s interview with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry has been viewed around the world. In the primetime CBS interview, Meghan discussed the vitriol she received from the British media and the Royal family for the first time. Coming right off of the heels of her and Harry stepping down completely from their royal duties, the public got a glimpse of what being a royal is like. While the reviews are largely split, there are a few things to take away from what they divulged. The way Meghan Markle was treated as a working royal was extreme and excessive. However, it seems as if she was doomed from the beginning. Two things that exacerbated this epic disaster were Meghan not doing her own research during their courtship and her not publicly acknowledging her Blackness. Those two major faux-pas proved to be significant in the deterioration of Harry’s relationship with his family.
For starters, Meghan never researched the royal family. She trusted that Harry was telling her everything she needed to know about them. Unfortunately, that is where she first went wrong. While it could be hard to research a royal specifically, their policies are available for interpretation. Their lineage and history of how they handled situations are readily accessible. Harry probably did tell her everything he felt she needed to know. That does not mean he didn’t leave vital information out of their discussions. How often do you tell someone you are dating about the worst parts of your family? What if you do not realize those parts of your family are that bad, to begin with? Family is discussed with care due to the proximity you have to them. “Uncle Charles says racist things, but he’s a good person.”
Harry did not have the breadth or depth to advise her on what she was getting into as a biracial (more on that later) woman. He has never had to experience racism. How would he know? No doubt, he knew his family had racist tendencies, but he never had to be on the receiving end of it. Harry most likely did not get the full impact of it. That is until the discussions surrounding how dark his unborn child would be started to arise. If Meghan had done even the slightest bit of research on her own, outside of what Harry told her, she would have been able to prepare herself a little bit better. Even researching Diana, and listening to the interviews she gave before her death. So much of what Meghan experienced mirrors Diana’s. Unfortunately, Meghan had the extra layer of race to battle.
From the beginning of Meghan and Harry’s engagement, Meghan always referred to herself as biracial. While this is true, she always seemed to stress that as a response to the media calling her Black. Meghan is not completely White passing. However, her skin is very fair. In America, she had the privilege of dissociating herself from being Black. Racial ambiguity worked in her favor. Maybe she never experienced racism in the way non-passing Black people do. That all got flipped on its head upon their engagement announcement. Meghan never publicly announcing that she was, in fact, Black gave the British media a way to excuse their racism. The press even went as far as lying that they did not know she was part, Black. The media essentially skirted around the fact that a lot of their headlines were blatant racism because they could say “but she doesn’t call herself Black”.
The “tabloids just don’t like her,” it has “nothing” to do with her being part Black. However, all Black women know that the insults become different. The press never likened Diana to an animal, despite how much they hated her initially. The media disgraced Fergie in the ’90s. They never dehumanized her the way they did Meghan. Meghan had to discover this on an enormous scale. She did not have the verbiage to articulate she was experiencing racism. In fact, in the interview with Oprah, Meghan shied away from even using the word racist until Harry used it first. Harry does not even appear in the interview until an hour in. Her benefitting from colorism made her ill-prepared to handle racism. Meghan publically embracing her Blackness would not have stopped racist headlines. However, it would have made it easier for her and Harry to point it out.
Overall, nothing Meghan experienced is her fault. It is typical to victim blame in situations like this. An American could not fathom what it takes to be royalty. Being any part Black among a family of White people is difficult. Put that on the pedestal of being in the public eye and add the layer of it being the royal family? It had the makings of a disaster from the jump. However, if she had the slightest bit of insight beforehand, would she have still decided to marry into it? Meghan and Harry appear to be very much in love. Is love enough? Harry mentioned that time will heal the wounds caused by how Meghan was treated. That is almost impossible to believe considering that the royal family has never, once, acknowledged how race has played a part in everything. Only time will tell how this plays out.