Earl Ofari Hutchinson
Almost certainly Meghan Markle had to know the moment she became the Jackie Robinson of British royalty; she’d always be a target. But at first there seemed to be a bit of naivety if not on her part about the backlash of racism she’d be hammered with, but on the part of hubby Prince Harry.
Two years before their 2018 marriage, Harry lashed out at the perennially gossipy, muck raking British tabloids for what he termed the “wave of abuse and harassment” against his fiancé. He could have saved his breath. It was the rare moment when there wasn’t some tidbit of gossipy alleged insider news about the royal marriage splattered over a tabloid. Always lurking underneath the finger-point stories was the strong odor of race.
The pattern was set the instant the couple announced their wedding plans. Markle was quickly put under the looking glass. Every scrap of information about her family background, her career, her education, and her interests was endlessly raked over the tabloid coals. It didn’t take long for the standard racist cracks and quips to kick in about her and her motives for crashing the royal family. She was not simply the soon to be Duchess of Sussex. She was the Black, colored, or somewhat more charitably, mixed race, bi-racial Duchess of Sussex. No matter how silent the Queen Mother, Elizabeth, was or how many terse denials were made, that there was no antipathy or friction toward Markle based on race, the speculation was non-stop that it was. And, that she would never be accepted by the family as one of them.
It was only a matter of time then before the dam burst. Harry and Markle would make their exit from the royal family ceremony, pomp and circumstance, ritual and so forth that surround British royalty. When they announced they wanted to be left alone and would relocate to another land to escape the back biting, gossipy glare of the press and the royal family, that didn’t stop the carping and backbiting about her and them. They were branded ingrates, spoiled, and ripped for eternally playing the race card to hit back at any criticism aimed at them no matter how valid that might be.
A prime knock was that they enjoyed all he perks and privileges of royalty, while demanding a hands-off attitude from the press even when they allegedly misbehaved including the issue of allegedly using royal monies on frivolous spending. Each time Markle and Harry screamed that they were the targets of a relentless, well-crafted campaign of racial abuse masquerading as merely normal curiosity and public interest about the doing of royalty, there was a counter. One of the biggest is that Britain supposedly is one of the most tolerant European countries on race. And since Blacks make up a relatively small percentage of the British population it’s easy to make the case that Britain is not a country where you’ll see a George Floyd or massive, poverty stricken urban ghettoes ala the U.S.
As for Markle, then, the critics message is that she should be grateful for the colossal privilege of being royalty with all the perks and the adulation that supposedly go with it. Markle may well have bought this line, except for one thing, she was never allowed too. Even after pretty much being done with the royal family stuff, she was still hounded with yet another barrage of accusations. This time she allegedly bullied staff members to the point where they fled from service to the couple. The proof of this is scant and Markle and Harry hotly denied the charge. Both chalked it up to yet another of the by now standard racist attacks on them.
It was inevitable that sooner or later Markle would seek as big an audience as she could find to voice her anger and frustrations of the five-year bumpy ride she’s been on as the Duchess of Sussex. Or, that the Black, or if you prefer bi-racial, Duchess of Sussex has been on. She got that audience with her and Harry’s interview with Oprah. But there was one person, though, who would not watch. That was Queen Elizabeth who made clear she wouldn’t have the telly turned on for the interview.
The Queen Mother may have taken a pass on them. But legions of Brits didn’t follow her lead. No, Markle is just too compelling a subject of interest, and for many more Britains too compelling a target.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. His latest book is What’s Right and Wrong with the Electoral College (Amazon) He is the host of the weekly Hutchinson Report on KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles and the Pacifica Network. His political affairs commentaries can be found weekly on thehutchinsonreport.net