This week, Tyler Perry stopped by Today and reflected on why he offered up his house and security to Meghan and Harry amid their relocation to the U.S. and step back from the royal family in 2020.
“It was a difficult time for them,” he said to Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager. “What I know about the two of them, that I wish the world knew, is how much they love. These two people love each other. Out of all these odds against them finding each other, they found each other. The love they have is really, really moving, and I just wanted to do anything I could to support them.”
Then, he went on to say, “If I don’t have that ― what she and Harry have ― I don’t want it.”
His testament to their love is a far cry from what we heard about the couple over the last couple weeks as they attended the Queen’s funeral and surrounding events – and even long before that. Since reports emerged of her and Harry dating, British tabloids hounded Meghan, levying racist attacks against her. More recently, though, over the course of the Queen’s funeral, she was vilified in the press for everything from her and Harry holding hands to the fact she was even there in the first place. This sentiment was shared by social media users who had the hashtag #GoHomeMeghanMarkle trending as soon as she and Harry landed.
While the couple didn’t get the support they would have liked from most Brits or the Royal Family, there is something to be said about Tyler Perry’s desire to support them through the difficult year of 2020. It’s indicative of a larger support system that the couple can count on within the celebrity network. And it makes sense that they have that to depend on. So many celebrities can empathize with the nuances of dealing with the paparazzi, navigating the complexities of being in a very high-profile relationship and being betrayed by family members trying to sell everything from stories to interviews to books. Adding in the layer of marrying into a British royal family? That is certainly a new level of intensity. I think that’s why there were a lot of Black celebrities to step in and throw their support behind the couple. They knew what she was going through, they knew the history and felt it was their responsibility to show up for her.
Against the backdrop of massive changes being made within the monarchy as King Charles steps into his reign, Harry and Meghan also find themselves at a pivotal point – one in which they solidify their identities, less as royal figures and more as celebrities. What lies ahead for them as they continue to make names for themselves as philanthropists?
Harry’s commitment to supporting veterans has been proven. Next year, the 2023 Invictus Games will be taking place. It’s a true demonstration of his lifelong dedication to helping to provide visibility and opportunity to servicemen and women. So Buckingham Palace really did itself no favours when Harry was dicked around about whether he could appear in military uniform for the Queen’s vigil. The about-face only came after the British public and beyond scrutinized the decision. Harry served in the British Army for a decade, he did two tours in Afghanistan – what were they thinking allowing disgraced Prince Andrew, also no longer a working royal, to show up in uniform and not Harry?
Instances like this certainly pad the couple’s claims about much of the treatment they say they endured. And I think over the course of the Queen’s funeral, some members of the public tapped into that. This viral moment, deemed “morally bankrupt” by someone on Twitter, shows a woman deliberately avoiding eye contact and opting to look down at the ground as Meghan made her way down the procession. Would anyone ever do this to Kate Middleton? They’re not making this stuff up.
Perhaps a lot of the grace we’ve seen be extended to Harry and Meghan from celebrities like Oprah and Tyler Perry comes from what we saw happen with his mother in relation to the paparazzi. People remembered him as the meek little boy who trailed Princess Diana’s casket – and there was this communal urge to protect him from enduring that again. That’s also why Meghan stepped into the role of protector this time. He didn’t have that when he lost his mom. And with the countless similarities, not only between the mere circumstances, but between the two women, it’s no wonder.
Princess Diana and Meghan Markle were similar in their nature of “disrupting”. They’ve both been incredibly transparent and vulnerable about their experiences. Princess Diana made revelations no royal ever had before. She admitted to having lovers. In 1995 she opened up about post-partum depression, and she also spoke about her experience with bulimia. She managed to live in her truth and speak it, despite being in an institution where such things were looked down upon in the name of saving face and keeping up appearances. Meghan did the same thing. She spoke out about the racism she was experiencing. She called the royal family out. So Harry found a lot of qualities and characteristics his mother had in his wife.
While Harry occupies himself with preparation for the Invictus Games, and mourns the loss of his grandmother, Meghan seems to be stepping back into the spotlight, even doing interviews again. Last month, she did a cover story with The Cut and spoke about a host of things, including family ties. She’s also launched a podcast, Archetypes, which aired its first episode in late August. They seem to be moving forward with their lives as Buckingham Palace remains stagnant. The royal family wasted several perfect opportunities for introspection and reform. There could have been some major diversity and inclusion work that would have helped to modernize the monarchy. But hopes of that have been laid to rest, along with the Queen.