The move is unprecedented for two reasons: Aside from the sublimely millennial move to release news on a social media account, according to Jonny Dymond, royal correspondent and presenter of BBC News, they did not consult any member of the royal family prior to announcing this decision.
But the question begs: Why should they be? Meghan Markle was never the British monarchy or media’s first choice. She’s been unfairly scrutinized from their courtship to the birth of their son Archie. Because she’s always been an outsider predominantly because of her racial background, there is poetic justice in that she was always destined to break protocol because she never was meant to exist inside of the order in the first place.
There was a moment that, in retrospect, was a turning point in our understanding of Markle’s strength. Back in October 2019, just five months after she gave birth, in an interview with reporter Tom Bradby for a documentary called Harry & Meghan: An African Journey, Meghan was fighting to hold back tears although the rest of her face confessed her despair. Bradby asked about Meghan’s wellbeing, and she frankly told him, “Not many people have asked if I’m okay … it’s a very real thing to be going through behind the scenes.” She pulled back the veil a little further when Bradby asked her if she’s not really okay and if it’s been a struggle, and she replied with a faint yet succinct, “Yes.” The short clip was a disgrace.
The royal family still has not learned their lesson from another woman, who unlike Markle, was born into aristocracy and still struggled to exert her agency: Princess Diana. Twenty-five years ago, in 1995, Princess Diana did an interview with BBC in which she told reporter Martin Bashir that she doesn’t think she’ll be queen (even though she was still married to Prince Charles at the time) because the “establishment” that she married into wouldn’t want it.
When Bashir asked why, Diana responded, “Because I’m a non-starter. … Because I do things differently. Because I don’t go by a rulebook. I lead from the heart, not the head.” The stark difference between Meghan and Diana is that Diana’s rebellious nature is not compounded by her race. Because of Meghan’s Blackness, her controversy is attached to not only what she does but also by her being in the royal family at all.
The stark difference between Meghan and Diana is that Diana’s rebellious nature is not compounded by her race.