This March, Meghan Markle and her husband Prince Harry embarked on a journey after leaving their $14 million, 18,000 square-foot home in Montecito, California. Courageously defying the oppressive and archaic British monarchy, they lambasted the negative aspects of being a member of the British royalty—such as gaining fame, power, and prestige. Upon arriving at Oprah Winfrey’s $100 million ranch, Harry and Meghan sent ripples through every echelon of British and American society in an interview that aired on March 7, complete with a shocking exposé that supposedly revealed the domineering, autocratic nature of the British monarchy. Beneath the veneer of false accusations and thinly-veiled publicity grabs, the entire interview was a debacle that highlighted Harry and Meghan’s abortive attempts to portray themselves as victims.
Meghan Markle was the indisputable primary character in the interview. Her stories of neglect and abuse by the royal family, which included receiving disparaging remarks about the skin color of her baby and a failure to provide her with mental care when she was suffering from suicidal thoughts, portrays her as a victim and has garnered the sympathy of readers around the world. However, such accusations are either false, misleading, or downright ridiculous. Markle’s tale of heroism begins with the infamous curtsy. Right before Markle was about to meet the Queen of England and Britain, the 61st ruler of a 1200-year-old monarchy, Harry told her that she had to curtsy as a sign of respect. This standard show of decorum was, in her words, “the first moment that the penny dropped.” To Markle, paying respects to the Queen of England, as everyone else has to do, constitutes neglect.
Other statements she made were similarly improbable. Markle says that due to how the royal family treated her, she began to experience suicidal thoughts but was denied treatment. Of course, no one is in any place to deny that someone may be experiencing certain negative thoughts, and these must be treated seriously. But to claim that the entire royal household was not only apathetic but moreover dismissive of her attempts to receive care for her suicidal thoughts is quite an accusation. It’s quite improbable that there would be anyone who sought to actively prevent Markle from accessing healthcare services provided to members of the royal family.
Most scathingly, Markle remarked that racism acted as the final straw, citing that “conversations about the color of her unborn child and how dark his skin might be” between other royal family members prompted her to abandon her position as royalty. It is clear, given her statements, that the investigations ought to be conducted to see whether racism is indeed prevalent in the royal household. These hurtful comments about an unborn baby, no less, have no place in society and should be harshly condemned. But it is likewise important to recognize how this might draw attention away from how detrimental racial discrimination can be. As a highly privileged individual and a former member of the royal family, Markle uses racism to garner public sympathy and, in doing so, diverts attention away from more pressing racial concerns. Especially in this time of racial reckoning, when racism is finally being addressed at the systemic level, and positive change is being made for BIPOC communities that have been marginalized and set aside, we cannot allow attention and general understanding to be diverted away from the concerning problems that millions of people of color in our society face.
Markle made a plethora of statements about the royal family’s cruelty, but these really are just vague allegations. Curiously she has yet to provide the names of the people who drove her out, which is generally something people do in a tell-all interview. Until then, it would be imprudent to accept the caricature she draws of the royal family and monarchy. After all, her staff have also made allegations of bullying against her—it is only fair to adopt an ‘innocent until proven guilty’ mindset and remain impartial without substantial evidence.
Ultimately, the underlying theme throughout the interview is how willing people are to believe a narrative composed by one person, a narrative that serves only that person’s self-interest, and a narrative that is unsubstantiated. No objective observer of this situation can say for certain who’s fault this entire conflict is, and thus we must be careful to ensure that we are not pointing fingers. It’s critical to understand that Harry and Markle’s future platform rests solely on public opinion, so we should not be so naive as to believe that emotionally yet aimlessly supporting the duo is a moral obligation to two people who have been preyed upon, as the possibility that this dispute is a ruse on the part of Harry and Markle is quite possible. It will continue to be so until some tangible evidence proves the contrary.