• Ashhar Hassan

The Not-So-United Family | Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Interview

In a rare, one-of-a-kind interview of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle taken by the famed Oprah Winfrey, the ex-members of the British Royal family opened up and revealed many disturbing truths about their Royal lives, along with the plethora of deep-rooted dilemmas and prejudices that they had to overcome.

Megxit

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s love story began in June 2016, and was plagued by the racist and hate comments mainly directed at Meghan from the very start. The mainstream media of Britain and internet trolls never left Meghan alone and constantly made remarks on her status as a divorced biracial American.

On 8 January 2020, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced their decision to "step back as 'senior' members of the royal family”, an event which was dubbed as “Megxit”.

Though the reasons for the same appeared to be hostile treatment reserved for Meghan in the mainstream media or the issues of racism that followed Meghan, Meghan and Harry said Megxit was primarily caused by them not getting the help they sought from the royal establishment.

Another important thing to note is that before the interview, a statement was released from the Queen which informed the people that the couple will not be returning as working members of the Royal family and Harry’s honorary military titles would be returned to her Majesty.


The Interview

Harry and Meghan spoke with splendid candour throughout their two-hour TV special interview, which aired on 8th March 2021 and sparked global interest along with hard conversations about the prevalent racism in Britain and the questionable actions of the Royal family.


The interview brought many points to light, including:

  • Meghan revealed that life within the royal family was so isolating and lonely, and that she felt so unsupported by the institution, that she contemplated s*icide while pregnant with her son Archie. She mentioned how emails were sent in which she was "begging for help”, yet no proper assistance was provided to her.

  • Meghan also revealed how “there was concern within the royal family about her baby's skin”. Meghan told Winfrey that an unnamed member of the family raised the issue of how dark their unborn baby Archie's skin would be while she was pregnant.

  • Harry mentioned how the royal family also asked, "What will the kids look like?” and added how “That was at the beginning when she wasn't going to get security, when my family suggested that she might continue acting (because there wasn't going to be money for her)."

  • The pair insisted on how they "never left" the family, and merely stepped back from their official roles. "My biggest concern was history repeating itself," Harry said, adding that he saw the circumstances that affected his mother, Diana, unfolding again- but more dangerously, given that racism and social media added to their challenges.

  • Harry specified the reason behind the lucrative deals the pair has made with Amazon and Spotify, i.e. the fact that the Royal family totally cut them off financially, ever since the first quarter of 2020.

  • The couple revealed how their second child, who is supposed to be born in a few months, is a girl, thereby ending the interview on a somewhat positive note.

Bigoted Tabloids of the United Kingdom

Meghan spoke of the constant negative media coverage of her in the interview, as well as the palace's refusal to refute false stories which caused her a significant amount of distress. Meghan claims that other members of the royal household told her flatly that she couldn't seek psychiatric help because it would be bad for the institution, while her husband immediately began working on a plan to help ease the pressure on his wife.

The racist backlash began when Meghan was first revealed as Prince Harry's long-term girlfriend. The press attempted to portray the talented Suits actor as nothing more than a divorced older woman at the time (Meghan is just three years older than the Prince). Many racist Twitter trolls claimed that the prince should not be allowed to date a biracial woman, evoking the mythical concept of royal purity and "blue blood”.


Countless stories highlighted the dissimilarities between Middleton and Meghan’s backgrounds which traumatized Meghan over the years.




Racism in Britain

Racism is very much prevalent in the United Kingdom, whether it be casual offhanded slurs or systemic differentiation. The history of racism in the United Kingdom is inextricably linked to the country's relationship with the former colonies and citizens of the British Empire, many of whom settled in the country before and after the Second World War.

  • Racism toward Afro-Caribbeans in the United Kingdom is perpetrated not only by long-established white Britons but also by other refugee races who arrived from Eastern Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, as well as from elsewhere after the 1950s.

  • In the early 1980s, African-Caribbean minorities were triggered by societal racism, discrimination, and poverty, as well as more feelings of powerlessness and discriminatory policing. They protested openly throughout England until they were shut in 1985.

  • Owing to the migration of Jews from Russia in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the number of Jews in Britain grew dramatically, resulting in a strong Jewish population emerging in London's East End, which led to several racial battles between the Britishers and Jews.

  • Racism against Chinese people isn't taken as seriously, according to Michael Wilkes, Vice-Chair of the British Chinese Project, and many racial assaults against the Chinese community go unreported, owing to widespread distrust of the police.

With Brexit and the rise in influence of far-right parties, the question of class and its relation to bigotry and racism has resurfaced in recent years.


The Not-So-Royal Marriages

1952 - Princess Margaret, the Queen’s younger sister, started a romance with her late father’s private secretary Peter Townsend. After the tabloids forgot about their bond, she chose to marry Antony Armstrong Jones, a British filmmaker. Their marriage did not last long and the couple decided to separate in 1978.


1992 - Princess Anne, Princess royal separated from Captain Mark Phillips, an English horseman because she was having an affair with Sergeant Peter Cross, her bodyguard.


1996 - Prince Andrew, the Duke of York and eighth in the line of succession to the British throne, split from Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York on the grounds of Miss Ferguson’s Infidelity.


1996 - The heir apparent to the British throne, Prince Charles divorced Lady Diana Spencer after she leaked startling details of palace life to author Andrew Morton for his 1992 book "Diana: Her True Story— In Her Own Words," she knackered the Monarchy. Diana knew about Prince Charles’ affair with Camilla Parker Bowels, a family friend. Following year, Diana died in a high-speed car crash in a Paris tunnel. Prince Charles married Camilla in 2005.


Darker side of the Crown

The display of deference to the royal family perpetuates privilege, hierarchy, and general discrimination – both in fact and, more dangerously, in people's minds.

  • In 1936, King Edward VII of England sought to marry an American divorcee called Wallis Warfield Simpson. Their ambition of marriage sparked a constitutional crisis and resulted in Edward becoming the first monarch in their 1000-year history to give up the throne of his own will.

  • In 1952, Princess Margaret wanted to marry Group captain Peter Townsend but was denied permission from the Institution, and eventually, the young fun-loving Princess Margaret’s life was doomed.

  • Michael Parker, the Duke of Edinburgh's best friend and personal secretary, divorced in 1958, almost brought the royal marriage to an end. The New York News reported in March 1957 that “despite his title as duke and first gentleman in the land, Philip could have been subpoenaed to testify for Mrs. Parker until his elevation to the Prince on February 22, which lifted him beyond the range of a subpoena.”

  • Virginia Roberts claimed in 2001 that Jeffrey Epstein forced her to have sex with Prince Andrew when she was only 17 years old. As the case was unsealed, accusations from a 2015 defamation case resurfaced in the media. Andrew has denied the accusations, and in an August 2019 statement issued to Insider, a spokesperson for Buckingham Palace "emphatically denied" the accusations. Prince Andrew announced his retirement from royal duties four days after a disastrous interview with "BBC Newsnight" in which he discussed his friendship with Epstein.

  • During her time with the royal family, Markle allegedly bullied two senior staff members, according to the Times of London. According to a spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, the allegations were made to undermine the Couple’s interview with Oprah and was part of just another "calculated smear campaign."

Hence, the Institution has always kept itself ahead of anyone else and has worked to safeguard the Crown, not caring that doing so might irreparably damage many people’s lives.


Sources:

The Insider

NDTV

CBS News

The Guardian

The New York Times Written by - Ashhar Hassan


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