Two years ago today, on the 19th May 2018, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle said ‘I do’ in a ceremony at St George’s Chapel in Windsor.
The marriage between a white British ‘blue blood’ royal and a mixed American actress, made waves throughout the world. For the right and wrong reasons.
It brought out the best and the worst of modern British society. The beauty of modern royals choosing who they want to love and a black gospel choir singing in St George’s Chapel, contrasted with the dirt-digging of the press and racist memes.
Since their controversy-stirring union, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have had to navigate many hurdles that have come their way. The British press (mainly the tabloids) could barely conceal their hatred towards an interracial royal marriage.
“While my mixed heritage may have created a grey area surrounding my self-identification, keeping me with a foot on both sides of the fence, I have come to embrace that. To say who I am, to share where I’m from, to voice my pride in being a strong, confident mixed-race woman”- Meghan
During the last four years it has been quite shocking to see how the couple has been hounded and heavily scrutinised by the press and public.
Of course, being a member of the royal family comes with being in the public eye, but it’s hard to argue that racism hasn’t been the root of this.
In a first for the royal family, Kensington Palace even spoke out with a statement against the tabloid coverage.
“…Meghan Markle has been subject to a wave of abuse and harassment. Some of this has been very public – the smear on the front page of a national newspaper; the racial undertones of comment pieces; and the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and web article comments.”
A media circus ensued as soon as news of Harry and Meghan dating hit. The likes of the Daily Mail, the Daily Express, and the Sun had an absolute field day.
Despite Meghan being a success in her own right as a lead character in Suits, she was made out to be a ‘ghetto’ commoner who’s undeserving of ‘our’ Harry.
As Meghan’s black parent, her mum Doria was a target of racial stereotyping – even being compared to a gang member by the Daily Mail.
“Harry’s girl is (almost) straight outta Compton: Gang-scarred home of her mother revealed – so will he be dropping by for tea?”
In what could’ve been an opportunity for Britain to show the world how we embrace multiculturism and multiracialism, it was screwed up. Royally.
In January 2020, the Duke and Duchess released a statement to announce that they were stepping away from being working royals and moving to Canada. Unsurprisingly this brought another wave of hate, with the tone that ‘she thinks that she’s too good for us’.
Personally, I was so disappointed but not surprised. Two years ago I watched on the edge of my seat in wonder that a mixed-race woman, just like me, was marrying into the royal family. It felt like progress, and in a lot of ways it still is. Twenty years ago that wouldn’t have been allowed to happen.
I remember just after the engagement was announced on the news a relative said that she doesn’t like her because she is ‘coloured’. Although most wouldn’t be so outspoken about their prejudice, it did make me wonder how many other people were thinking that exact same thing.
In some ways, I am glad that this all happened on the world stage. Ugly racism on full display for all to see, rather than whispered in private. Proof that it does still exist in 2020, and we’re not just being special triggered snowflakes.
Despite the drama that has followed Meghan and Harry, two years later they are going strong and moving on with their lives minus royal duties.