A royal couple have finalized a lucrative departure from an institution they hate. Cue the tearful tell-all.
On May 19, 2018, nearly 30 million people tuned in to the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, a celebration of their biracial relationship and marriage of two cultures.
A black gospel choir broke out in “Stand By Me” before Meghan and Harry took their vows—and landed a Sony deal afterwards. Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland was hailed as “chic” and “a legend” by fashion magazines, no match for the continuous, flattering coverage heaped on Meghan from the likes of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar before and since.
Around twice as many viewers were expected on March 7, 2021, when the same royal couple joined Oprah Winfrey on CBS to tell the world how they have been silenced by the forces of unconscious bias and institutional racism.
Prince Harry? Never Heard Of Him.
Markle opened her CBS special with the risible claim that she had no familiarity with the British royal family before she started dating Harry, and that she didn’t look up her husband online.
The only problem is biographies of Markle have alleged otherwise, reporting that Meghan binge-watched footage of major Diana events as a teen and even owned a copy of Diana: Her True Story.
In 2018, the Sunday Times published the following from author Andrew Morton:
In September 6, 1997, Meghan Markle, 16, and her friends watched the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, tears coursing down their cheeks at the poignant moment when the cameras zoomed in on the royal coffin. Perched among the white flowers was an envelope bearing the word “Mummy,” containing Prince Harry’s last note to his beloved mother.
After the discussion, Meghan and her friend Suzy Ardakani sat and watched old videos of the 1981 wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer. According to family friends, Meghan was intrigued by Diana not just for her style but also for her independent humanitarian mission. She saw her as a role model. Inspired by the princess, she and Suzy collected clothes and toys for less privileged children. In fact, such was Meghan’s interest that Suzy’s mother, Sonia, even gave her a copy of my biography, Diana: Her True Story, which remained on her bookshelves for the next few years.
As her childhood friend Ninaki Priddy observed: “She was always fascinated by the royal family. She wants to be Princess Diana 2.0.”
So why does Markle claim ignorance with statements like “I didn’t do any research about what that would mean,” “I didn’t fully understand what the job was,” and “I didn’t romanticize any element of it”?
To prove that she couldn’t have realized the palace was a systemically hateful institution until she had already married one of its senior members and soaked in the lucrative limelight.
But yeah, Markle had never really heard of Harry before she married him. Sure.
A Bombshell Allegation, Minus The Allegation
Meghan and Harry claimed that the palace was “concerned” about the color of their children’s skin—and that this may be the reason Archie Mountbatten-Windsor does not hold the title of prince or have a personal security detail.
“Was there concern that if he was too brown that that would be a problem?” Oprah asked.
“I wasn’t able to follow up with why, but if that’s the assumption you’re making, I think that would be a safe one,” Meghan replied.
“That [conversation] was right at the beginning, when she wasn’t going to get security, when members of my family were suggesting that she carries on acting, because there was not enough money to pay for her, all this sort of stuff,” Harry added when he joined the program. “There was some real obvious signs before we even got married that this was going to be really hard.”
The substance of the remarks, who made them, or their actual connection to anything else is wholly left a mystery, but the insinuation is crystal clear: that members of the royal family excluded Archie from normal benefits and privileges of royalty because of the color of his skin.
“Concerns” about the color of a child’s skin are obviously nonsense and have no place in a loving family. But the implied link between Meghan and Harry’s children being biracial and not receiving HRH titles is not based in reality.
The only great-grandchildren of the queen who hold Royal Highness (HRH) titles are William and Kate’s children George, Charlotte, and Louis—i.e., those who are the children of future monarchs. The fact that George, Charlotte, and Louis are all styled princes and princesses is due to a 2012 Letters Patent from Queen Elizabeth declaring that all the children of the eldest son (William) of the Prince of Wales (Charles), not just William’s eldest son, may receive the titles. The children of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex would become eligible for HRH titles upon accession of the Prince of Wales.
Meghan and Harry’s purported expectation that Archie would have an HRH title at birth was not protocol—it was their desire. But even technical explainers in lifestyle magazines were swiftly updated with the new guidance effective 3/7/2021: that Archie is not a “prince” because of racism in the Palace.
Harry Windsor/Royal Harry/He/Him/H/”Haz” Speaks.
Harry, the grandson of a Monarch upon whom the Crown was unexpectedly thrust at age 25, claimed during the primetime special that he was “trapped” in his life as a prince—and that his father and brother still are.
When asked whether he would have left the royal family if not for Meghan, Harry replied, “I was trapped, but I didn’t know I was trapped. But the moment that I met Meg, and our worlds collided in the most amazing of ways and then [I began] to see how trapped within the system, like, the rest of my family are. My father and my brother, they are trapped.” (Historically, members of the royal family can and have left, at the expense of titles and financial privileges. Meghan and Harry’s specific grievance is not that they couldn’t leave the royal family, but that they were required to foot their own expenses, especially private security, after withdrawing as senior royals and moving abroad.)
Harry’s main accusation against his “trapped” family is this: They regarded Meghan as part of their tradition, failed to understand “the race element,” and didn’t consider Meghan’s discontent with royal life different from anyone else’s.
But it was, Harry said. “It wasn’t just about her, but it was about what she represents.” He critiqued his family for not actively taking opportunities to show special support for Meghan in light of her race, and for lacking moral courage because they fear the tabloids.
Harry’s revelation boils the narrative of a systemically oppressive institution down to two major claims: That an unknown person made mention of their children’s appearance, and that his family did not perceive how Meghan’s situation was different from their own.
Meghan and Harry Have It All.
What, exactly, are we supposed to feel for Meghan and Harry?
Meghan claims their marriage is a fairy tale. They are expecting their next child this summer. They have signed multiple mega-million-dollar deals with Netflix, Disney, and Spotify. They live in a luxury compound in the Santa Barbara area, surrounded by friends and neighbors of opulent wealth and privilege. They are free of obligations that made them want to die. They are now raising chickens. Are viewers supposed to pity them?
Likewise, what is it supposed to mean to the millions watching when Harry glumly says “Without question she saved me,” and Meghan replies “He saved all of us”? Are they heroes? What exactly makes this story of breaking away from the English monarchy to becoming even bigger pop culture royalty a “fairy tale”?
The true magic of Meghan and Harry isn’t that Meghan Markle married a prince, became a triumph of representation for young girls the world over, or gave up a Hollywood career for true love and fulfillment of duty.
It’s that Meghan and Harry can marry in a royal wedding, live in a palatial setting, consolidate unlimited wealth, power, and influence, and nonetheless sit down with Oprah to describe, for hours on end, how they have suffered in silence.
If Meghan and Harry can be victims, anyone can.