Meghan Markle is still taking racist punches, but she is living her best life
OPINION: Despite all the attacks from social media and the British media in general during the mourning period for Queen Elizabeth, the Duchess of Sussex continues to take the high road.
Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.
After Queen Elizabeth II died on Sept. 8, most of the buzz was not so much on what kind of king Charles would be but rather on what Prince Harry and his beautiful, Black-American wife, Meghan Markle, would do now that the beloved monarch was dead.
Will the reunion for the queen’s funeral heal the rift between Harry and his father, now King Charles III, and his brother, Prince William? Will Harry and Meghan allow their two small children to keep their new titles—reportedly without the HRH status—as Prince Archie and Princess Lillibet? What will Harry’s royal role be going forward?
None of us know the answer to these questions right now. But what we do know is that the British media, social media and white Brits in particular (especially Piers Morgan) are still at it with their attacks on Meghan and demonizing her at every turn—even for simply holding hands with her husband. When the queen suddenly took ill, Meghan and Harry were already in the U.K. working on some of their charities. When news broke that the family was headed to Scotland to be with the queen, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex also announced that they would cancel their engagements and head to Balmoral instead. It seemed like a normal reaction and caring thing to do. And yet, the media seized on the young couple. There was apparently an uproar in the royal family, now headed by King Charles, and of course, there was a huge uproar on social media.
Harry was welcome at Balmoral. His wife was not. This is what the royal family and the British media were consumed by as the world had yet to discover that Queen Elizabeth had already passed away. They couldn’t even allow Meghan the space to mourn. She was clearly fond of the queen and was well-liked by her—at least until the infamous bombshell Oprah Winfrey interview, which was said to have horrified the queen and offended her deeply.
But it’s not all on Duchess Meghan, is it? Let’s not forget that Prince Harry told reporters back in 2020 that he and Meghan decided together to “step back” from royal life and move to California because of the “toxic” environment created by the British media. But you would think after the fallout and the lawsuits, the British people would leave them alone and let them live their lives in peace—particularly on the occasion of the queen’s death. No chance.
Let’s face it—haters are gonna hate. They hated Meghan for being an American. They hated her for being divorced. They hated her for marrying Princess Diana’s baby boy. They hated her for not being British. They hated her for being half Black. They hated her for daring to speak truth to royal power too many times to count. Yet, everyone conveniently forgets what Prince Harry will never forget: the tragic death of his mother, Princess Diana. He was just 12. And that is really what was at the heart of his passion for getting Meghan away from his famously dysfunctional family.
Like Diana when she visited New York’s Harlem Hospital in 1989 and embraced sick babies with HIV/AIDS, Meghan was a bridge for the ancient monarchy with people of color, young people and the dispossessed. Diana picked up crack babies and hugged them. Instead of being congratulated by the royals, she was attacked and ridiculed. Harry clearly saw the dangerous parallels and got his wife the hell away from the palace intrigues. Harry has always understood what perhaps Charles, William and others will never understand. He said it all in the video about mental health and how Meghan was treated by his family and the media from the moment their relationship became public. And once he did so, Harry became persona non grata.
I talk about this phenomenon in my newest book—it is what happens when you break away from family toxicity and dysfunction. But, when you break the code of silence, you will be punished. When you push back or expose hypocrisy, you will be shunned. Called a liar. Called crazy. I know. I’ve been there. And yet like a Phoenix, Meghan was able to rise. Meghan had what my grandma called a “front row,” which included Tyler Perry, Oprah and people with money, access and influence who stepped in to bridge the royal gap. She and Harry made their own way, despite all the traps that were set for them to fail and come groveling back.
Ironic isn’t it? The Brits, who so pride themselves on decorum, protocol and keeping a stiff upper lip, have been absolutely ungracious, unkind, bullying and downright racist to Meghan Markle from the start. They cannot stand to see this divorced, biracial woman from America be married to a British prince and be a mother to his British heirs. That’s the truth of the matter.
And yet, despite it all, Meghan has taken the high road, like when she stood once again as part of “the Fab Four” on Monday at Windsor Castle to greet mourners. Some embraced her, while others openly snubbed her. She just kept going with a smile. But here is the great news for Meghan: She is really living her best life. She has Harry—truly has him. By being transparent, Meghan and Harry have helped countless people suffering from mental health issues, emotional stress and strain or worse get the help they need. They have helped people break away from unhealthy relationships, even if they were with their own families. For my two cents: Meghan, like Diana, is the breath of fresh air the stuffy royal family needs even more than ever now that the queen has passed on.
We may not know what the future holds for Meghan and the monarchy. But we do know that she doesn’t need their approval, their money or their protection. She has a popular podcast. Harry and Meghan have made millions in book and movie deals. And regardless of how his family may treat Harry, he is still an heir to the queen and his father, as are his children. Money, fame and success are things Meghan has in abundance, but what she has most of all is something King Charles, Prince William and every royal secretly craves: her freedom. Her voice. Her own life.
Sophia A. Nelson is a contributing editor for theGrio. Nelson is a TV commentator and is the author of “The Woman Code: Powerful Keys to Unlock,” “Black Women Redefined.”
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