Meghan Markle VS the British media
16th April 2021
From the beginning of her relationship with Harry the Duke of Sussex, actress Meghan Markle has been under scrutiny from the British press. The representation of a biracial woman in the British Monarchy could have been revolutionary for a country that stands on a history of colonialism. It could have been a step forward towards increased inclusion and diversity. Instead, Meghan and Harry’s marriage has simply revealed the racist and discriminatory undertones of the British media and the Monarchy.
The Suits actress came to the British media’s attention in 2016 when she began dating Prince Harry. Immediately, she was compared to her soon to be sister-in-law, Kate Middleton. While Kate was fawned over by the press, Meghan was attacked for how she held her baby bump to her choice of breakfast food. Held to a different standard than William and Kate, the bullying was becoming unbearable. In late 2016, Prince Harry released a statement condemning the “waves of abuse and harassment” that included “racial undertones” from the press and “outright sexism and racism from social media trolls”.
The bullying continued throughout Meghan’s first pregnancy with her son Archie. Conspiracy theorists believed the Duchess was faking her pregnancy. BBC broadcaster, Danny Baker, received backlash after tweeting a picture of a couple holding hands with a chimpanzee dressed in clothes with the caption: “Royal Baby leaves hospital”. The blatantly racist comment led to his departure from the BBC, and a half-hearted apology, claiming the picture likening the baby to a monkey was just a “stupid gag”. This display of bigotry only emphasised the growing understanding that Meghan was coming under racist attacks.
Shortly after the birth of their first child, the Duke and Duchess revealed their untimely departure from their senior roles in the Monarchy. In their recent interview with Oprah, viewers were shocked to find out the reasoning behind their retreat from royal duties.
“The Duchess told Oprah: ‘In those months when I was pregnant, all around this same time, we have in tandem the conversation of he won’t be given security, he’s not going to be given a title, and also concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he’s born’.”
Harry made emotional reference to his late mother, Diana, by saying he “didn’t want history to repeat itself”.
Meghan’s experience of discrimination at the hands of the British Monarchy was palpable to the viewers. The xenophobic and racist undertones which define British media were proven to be true. Despite being a mother, an actress and even a duchess, Meghan still experiences racism. The insight into her private life addressed her struggle with mental health. This was quickly invalidated by TV personality, Piers Morgan, whose outspoken critiques of Markle eventually led to him stepping down from his role on the morning talk show Good Morning Britain. The denial of overt instances of racism and its consequences only further normalises its everyday instances.
The racism and sexism that Meghan Markle experienced has highlighted the burden that black women face in all walks of life. Despite this, the interview has provoked waves of support and allyship. Beyoncé shared a picture with Meghan and Harry using the caption “Thank you Meghan for your courage and leadership. We are all strengthened and inspired by you.”