Apr 2, 2021 | OPINION | By Mahnoor Rehman | Illustration by Xixi Qin
The bombshell Oprah interview of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, royal family rouges, has sparked multiple debates and raised many important questions. The recent confessions have become instantly viral, spreading accusations of royal racism to Twitter and beyond. The interview confirmed that the royals are not yet ready to accept a woman of color as an official member of their family.
Central to the interview were Markle’s comments about her mental health and the lack of support during her time at the British palace. She was driven to suicidal ideation by the suffocation and racism which defined her palace life.
Furthermore, her claims were supported by her husband Prince Harry, who told Oprah that his calls were left unattended by the royal family members and they were left financially unsupported.
Perhaps the most controversial of these confessions was the one the couple made about the judgments on their future baby’s skin color. It seems that the royal family was scared of the fact that the child might be dark-skinned. This unmistakable racism is not surprising, knowing the white supremacist and oppressive history of the British monarchy.
Last year, during an eruption of social activism surrounding Black Lives Matter, the royal family was silent. The racism Markle faced is a drop in an ocean of racist practices that have been linked with the royal family. The Queen has yet not apologized about the slave trade and its implications. The palace has never seen a person of color in any of the head positions and therefore remains a symbol of white supremacy and injustice.
Additionally, the colonial past of the family has left indelible scars on their power image. It is extremely necessary for the family to acknowledge its history and understand the ongoing effects of past actions.
Markle’s interview led to a series of explanations from the palace as the media continued to critique the racist attitude of the royals. The fact that the accusations of racism were coming from the actual family members made the claims much more powerful and provoking.
The Queen made the following statement: “While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately.”
Other family members took a defensive tone, giving an ambiguous message about their stance on the whole issue.
“We are very much not a racist family,” added Prince William, when questioned. Real-life experiences, however, contradict this statement. There has been very little support given to the couple and members of the royal family have never spoken out against the discrimination that Markle has continued to face through the British tabloids.
Vague condemnation and refusal to acknowledge the racist features of the royal family are not going to solve prevalent issues of racism. In order to move forwards towards an inclusive future for the royal family, there needs to be accountability for the past. It is high time that the members of the family accept their bias and unfair treatment of Meghan and her child and start rethinking their future steps to fight racism.