Meghan Markle stands up to British royal family

Oprah Winfrey’s interview special with Meghan and Harry exposes institutional racism

Anna Gramling, Contributing Columnist

In 1995, Princess Diana was in a controversial interview with Panorama that is still making headlines today. Last week — 25 years later — her youngest son’s wife, Meghan Markle, broke her silence in a tell-all special with Oprah Winfrey. This of course, followed the bombshell that was dropped last January, when Markle and Prince Harry announced that they would be stepping back from their roles as working royals. The “Megxit” stories that followed claimed that she manipulated the Sussex departure and was responsible for Prince Harry’s estrangement from the family. Truly, I didn’t know much about her and believed most of what I read about her. I have had quite the change of heart regarding Meghan. She has received a lot of detrimental press from the second she entered the royal limelight.

In the Oprah special, Meghan addressed the slew of malicious, misleading press that she received, saying that she was not protected from media defamation like other senior members of the family. She became suicidal. This statement was eerily reminiscent of Diana’s struggle with isolation, alienation and her heartbreaking battle with bulimia. After hearing Meghan’s side of the story, I am in awe of her strength of character. She’s authentic, cool and an advocate for mental health and women’s rights. People just don’t want to see that side of her and the media has used that to villainize her just as they did with Diana. Meghan Markle has shattered the enchanting facade that has always drawn me to the royal family.

In a not-so-shocking twist, Meghan and Harry revealed that members of the royal family were concerned about how “dark” their child’s skin would be. They discussed denying him the title and security that Prince Charles’ other grandchildren possess. Harry and Meghan weren’t given an explicit reason why this was happening, but honestly, it isn’t hard to guess. Snippets of the family’s prejudice towards Meghan have been evident for years. The family had an extraordinary chance to embrace Meghan and make her part of the family. She is a stunning, intelligent and accomplished woman of mixed race. One would think that the royal establishment would have seen Meghan marrying into the family as a chance to become more aware and representative of their diverse, multicultural English Nation. Instead, they opted for the route of tearing her self-image to shreds. They would not reveal who raised these extremely racist concerns, which has sent the world on a witch hunt. I think it was William. My first suspicion was that the culprits were Charles and Camilla. I mean let’s be honest — few truly admire those two, especially if you’ve watched Season 4 of The Crown. However, these “concerns” allegedly started before the wedding. Charles walked Meghan down the aisle in place of her father. I am not a fan of Charles and Camilla, but I highly doubt Meghan would have been comfortable with Charles holding this deeply personal role in the wedding if he had been a part of those conversations. In the post-special coverage, Oprah shared that Prince Harry insisted that it was not his grandparents. This leaves me thinking it must have been William, especially since Harry said their relationship has been on the rocks.

People are polarized about this issue. They either applaud Meghan and Harry for their call of fundamental change or heavily criticize the couple for putting their own family in the line of fire. Certain critics of Markle, such as Ben Shapiro and Candace Owens, say they don’t believe any racist comments were made whatsoever. Shapiro even went so far as to say that her acting in the interview was as bad as it was in Suits, because it totally makes you sound smarter when you drag a woman’s success through the mud to prove your point.

The Palace released a 61-word response. This struck me as a feeble attempt at remedying the issue — it was barely even a paragraph. The statement read: “The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan.” According to Meghan and Harry, they certainly did know. The question is: did they care when Meghan came to them because she was suicidal and wanted help? No. Prince William came out saying they are “very much not a racist family.” After seeing the interview, that is about as unbelievable as the Prince’s own glow-down. The Palace says that the issues raised about race will be handled privately, but only time will tell. I don’t think people are actually shocked about racism in the royal family; I think they are shocked that Meghan dared to say it on national television. Hasn’t she been silenced for long enough? And if she didn’t say it, who would?