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Meghan Markle: Race, Change and the Representation of Black British women

The excitement of Meghan Markle joining the Royal family has fizzled out. Despite the amount of adoration that was given to her new addition, hate and criticism were not too far behind. For some, she represented a more modern and accepting version of the royal family. But for others, she was a stranger who didn’t belong in the royal family. 

When the engagement was first announced, there was a lot of doubt souring into how long this relationship would last.  Meghan, as the first black woman in the royal family, would face a lot of pressure in representing the black woman. Vice versa, for many black women, there was a lot of scepticism regarding how the world and the royal family would accept her. It could be argued that there was a lot more leniency as Prince Harry would not become king. There remained resistance to a warm welcome for Meghan. But for those who resisted and criticized Meghan refused to see that they were racially discriminating against her, and instead tried to justify it. This was a woman who left her home and family only to be rejected by British society and its institutionalized racism.

Her marriage to Prince Harry brought an illusioned form of acceptance and was a temporary symbol of change. While Meghan’s union with Harry brought hope many for black women, some were quick to defend and claim that she is not black. Nonetheless, for black women all over Britain and America, she brought optimism back. Although a more diverse monarchy would call for better representation of black women, if anything, Meghan was still treated a lot harsher, who was called out for ‘not looking black’ enough, garnering a lot of attention. It’s easy to see that people instantly put Meghan as a standard as to what a black woman should be like and this simply remains unfair on her and the rest of the black community.

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People’s perception of Meghan turned ugly, especially with the biased and aggressive media coverage. The media, who would only drag up her past and paint her in a negative light, even forced Prince Harry to publicly call out the media for their racial undertones, intense scrutiny and harassment. With this, the hope of better representation for black woman went out the window. The media could not get past her race and background, causing much frustration as Meghan joining the royal family was supposed to unite differences. This is a woman who was criticized as a mother, wife and someone of two heritages, even though her high position should enable her to break free from the misjudgement and racial discrimination. Yet she cannot escape from the media’s harsh judgement because, in the end, all people will see her for is her race.

Regardless of the fact that she had become a Duchess, people took anything they could against her. It was her against the world. She was pitted against members of the royal family such as Kate and William, whether this be the way they live in the public eye or the way they interacted with each other and other members of the royal family. There was always something to say. It came to a point where her actions were dragged, her words broken down and over-analyzed, and her morals questioned.

Meghan and Harry’s decision to leave only made things worse. People were now blaming Meghan for the decision to leave, which unfortunately does not make her look any better. By doing this, she puts pressure on the black community in a negative way, meaning others would look at the black community in an even worse light. However, no one was surprised at them leaving, only that it took them so long. Meghan’s exit from the royal family only goes to remind people that nothing is worth your sanity.

The same way she came in, the same way she left of her own free will.

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