The Darkest Shade of Fame
By Ronald Yates
It all started out so beautifully, a young woman of color was joining the Royal family. For Meghan Markle it was the dream of a lifetime, for her a girl from a suburb of Los Angeles to be marrying into one of the most powerful and wealthiest families on Earth. I can just imagine her shock and surprise when Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and one of the worlds’ most eligible bachelors proposed to her. For Meghan she had beat out so many other women, who so desperately wanted the title of “Duchess of Sussex.” But inside of every dream, there is a nightmare lurking, a nightmare that Meghan Markle would soon find herself trapped in.
After the pomp and circumstance of the Royal Wedding reality began to set in… Meghan did not fit the profile of “a Royal.” She was an American, a former waitress, former actress and someone who would bring shame to the House of Windsor. But how would she bring shame to the Royal Family? Surely Duchess Meghan could learn the intricacies of royalty, after all she was an actress; but being Prince Harry’s wife was a role she could learn. The British tabloids would have none of it. They made their displeasure with the Duchess quite clear. They were, of course, careful not to appear to be racist, or bigoted in their criticism. But when days turned to weeks, weeks to months, this perceived interloper was still there. The criticism, that was relatively mild at first, turned nasty.
The Royal family’s “gatekeepers,” who were supposed to protect the image of the monarchy, were silent when the tabloids criticized and attacked Meghan’s every move. Harry and Meghan were under intense scrutiny. If Meghan rubbed her pregnant belly it was considered an act of vanity. If her sister-in-law Duchess Catherine did the very same thing it was viewed as a “Tender moment.” If Catherine ate an avocado to alleviate morning sickness (nausea) it came with “Best wishes for the (Boy’s mummy).” For Meghan, on the other hand,” she was wolfing down a fruit linked to water shortages and illegal deforestation.” Where was the protection for Meghan? Why was there no concern for the image of that part of the Royal Family? In her interview with Oprah, Meghan while away from the constant attacks of the British media, was still hesitant to go into detail about her ordeal. She deflected many of Oprah’s questions, preferring not to harm the reputations of some, either in the Royal family, or those closely associated with them… the very same people that showed no concern for her wellbeing and mental health, when she reached her breaking point, were those she tried to protect.
One would think that someone as high profile as the Duchess of Sussex would be granted all the support she required. Typically, a doctor could be summoned to the palace or she be discretely taken for treatment; but that would not be the case for Meghan. When Prince Philip suffered his most recent health crisis there was no hesitation to seek treatment. He was immediately taken to a hospital. Of course, there are differences, Prince Phillip is 99 years old and has been a mainstay of the Royal family for as long as most Brits can remember. On the surface it would appear that Meghan, in a moment of crisis, would be afforded the same level of care and compassion, but for the Duchess the surface may be the problem.
It has been more than two centuries since a woman of color sat on the throne of England beside her husband. Many in the British press either are not aware of the African ancestry of Queen Charlotte or are too ashamed to admit it. Like so many throughout history their ancestries have been hidden; but today with DNA tracing, we can find out the truth… just how much African blood runs through the veins of those that lay claim to the British Crown. Perhaps that was their fear when Meghan became pregnant with Archie, that the bloodlines (Harry’s and Meghan) would together reveal what many in The United Kingdom and the British tabloids have been attempting to conceal for centuries, that many, if not all of the Royal Houses of Europe have distant African ancestors. Maybe Meghan was under the belief that in Europe the color of one’s skin did not have the same negative connotation as it does here in the states. Perhaps in England what happened to George Floyd and Breonna Taylor would never happen. While racism exists everywhere it would never be an issue within the halls of Buckingham Palace. Surely everyone would embrace Prince Harry’s first born, just as they embraced Prince Williams’ children; but there is obviously a dark side to fame, even with the Royals.
Why would Princess Diana want to leave the splendor and opulence of Kensington Palace? Why was Princess Fergie in such a hurry to part ways with the Royals? If anyone knows, understands, and feels the pressure it’s Meghan. The British press has no loyalty to those that marry into the family. Their purpose is to protect the monarchy even if it means driving the Black Duchess to the point of suicide. Is it all about “race,” no… not entirely. But there is ample evidence that race was a big factor. This notion of race, that permeates every aspect of our lives, apparently is the case for the Royals as well. I don’t think Meghan was asked to complete an application that requested her racial classification. For the tabloids that was not necessary. The darkness of her hue was enough. It was all they needed to know about Duchess Meghan Markle. Isn’t it ironic that the British press follows the royals around the globe as they visit current and former territories that are comprised of people of color. The royals seem to easily interact with people of color just not so much when one of them shares the same roof as the Queen or sits at the same table. Truth be told, it is those darker territories that provided the British Crown with the wealth it has accumulated over the years. Perhaps Piers Morgan should remember that the next time he opens his mouth and spews his brand of racism as well as those on the inside who elect to question how dark Meghan and Harry’s child could potentially be.