Going into the broadcast, most of us were expecting a certain kind of tea, right? Maybe some sh-t about Prince William and his relationship with Harry, and yes, by extension Kate would come up too. She did come up. But as I mentioned, she came up EARLY. And I think we all know by now, since we’re so familiar with storytelling, if you’re including that detail so close to the top, it’s because you know that it’s not as impactful as whatever you’re saving up for later. There was a time when “I didn’t make Kate cry, she made ME cry” would have been the main event. For that to be relegated to a side stage tells you everything you need to know about what went down between Oprah, Harry, and Meghan last night.
Which is why we don’t need to spend a lot of time on it. Because the real significance of that incident is not that there was tension between two women during a very tense time – which happens, it can happen to anyone, and there was an apology and flowers sent afterwards, and Meghan called Kate a “good person” – but rather how it was handled. Or mishandled. How did we go from Kate making Meghan cry to Meghan made Kate cry? Again, as I wrote in my first post about the Oprah special, this is part of a larger picture being drawn about the lack of support and protection that both Meghan and Harry experienced in the royal family. That includes being sold out by people who distorted the situation in favour of Kate, a white woman, to position Meghan, a Black woman, as the aggressor, fueling misogyny and the stereotype that we just saw come up last week when Meghan was accused by royal aides of “bullying” staff members. To further compound the distortion, even though as Meghan said, everyone knew the truth of what really went down between her and Kate, the palace refused to correct the fallacy so she ended up on the cover of the British papers as the “angry Black woman”.
This is the biggest headline – the racism, the racism that Meghan had to contend with from outside the palace, and in the tabloids but, most hurtfully, from INSIDE the palace… from family members. Very senior family members. One of whom, according to both Meghan and Harry, actually asked Harry about what Archie would look like when he was born, specifically how dark his skin would be. Which is obviously gross. But beyond that, this is about a family of colonisers who claim to prioritise the Commonwealth, and as Meghan said, and what I’ve been saying, is that most of the members of the Commonwealth are people of colour. And here they are, internally, not willing to do anything about the racism being directed at Meghan – and the potentially dangerous consequences of said racism, especially where a child is concerned – and being racist TO Meghan and Harry and their then-unborn child! When you consider that the royal institution is there to uphold a certain status quo, let’s get specific then about that status quo in the context of this racism, both external and internal.
But as Meghan told Oprah, in a clip that was just released on CBS This Morning, the royal family, is totally ignorant to it. Which… many privileged people are. Many unprivileged people are. I was, maybe still am. Those are who aren’t Black or Indigenous have been learning this lesson over the last few years. Harry certainly has been, as he shared last night. But the rest of his family? They’re not listening. Actively NOT listening. And their excuse for that is … well… we’ve been criticised in the past too, we got over it, so should you, Meghan. Her rebuttal to that is excellent – and I wish this had been included in the original two-hour special but, I mean, they ran out of room. So here it is:
"Kate was called Waity Katie, waiting to marry William, while I imagine that was really hard & I do... this is not the same & if a member of his family will comfortably say we've all had to deal with things that are rude. Rude & racist are not the same." â€”Meghan #OprahMeghanHarry pic.twitter.com/2QWtDh24ef— CBS Mornings (@CBSMornings) March 8, 2021
"Rude and racist are not the same.”
What the British royals are being told about themselves then is that they can’t identify racism in the tabloids because they refuse to identify it in themselves. Which is why one of them could actually engage Harry in a conversation about his future child and the colour of his skin while insisting on reminding the parents of said child that he would not be equally ranked. Now there may be royal scholars who have memorised the royal bible and all its thousands of titles and how this f-cksh-t aristocracy works, as a pillar of that goddamn status quo, but when it’s personal like that, and if you’re Harry and Meghan, especially, and you’re living through being attacked from the outside by newspapers describing you as “straight outta Compton”, and on the inside, someone with a lot of royal power is asking questions like…ummmm…how UN-white is your kid going to be, is it even possible to come up with another interpretation of the situation?!
This has been an ongoing question mark for the British royals for some time now. You’ll recall, a few weeks ago, when Prince William decided to repudiate racism because of what was happening in the English Premier League, he was checked online by people who were like…um… where were you when your sister-in-law was getting racistly harassed but you’re out here sticking up for football players? After all, during a year of civil unrest, when Black Lives Matter was a worldwide focus, the British royal family remained steadfastly mute on the movement for Black justice and equality, calling it a political issue behind the scenes – as if Black people advocating for their right to life and opportunity could possibly be political.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have now pushed this into the spotlight. What the world is talking about today is the racism of the British royal family. Towards their own blood. So if they finally decide to get down with BLM, what we’ve just learned will undermine that effort. And they didn’t see it coming.
For Harry and Meghan, the pain of that may never go away. Because remember, the royals were trying to get ahead of this last week – they thought maybe Meghan would come for Kate, they thought for sure she and Harry would attack the tabloids, they assumed that they’d address how the institution didn’t support them. But were they ready for this story to come out? About a very senior member of the royal family wondering about Archie’s skin colour?
I don’t think they did. You know why? Because whoever it was – and I’m sure you have your ideas, and I have mine, and I feel like they might be the same? – in the moment, and afterwards, and right up until last night, and probably even now, they didn’t think it was wrong. This is the damage. And this is why their racism is going to be a major issue for the British royal future. More on that in the next post.
I’m still working on the third post about Harry and Meghan’s Oprah interview. It’ll take me a bit of time because I’m starting my TV hits soon so there will be some non-royal related content posted in between but please know that there is more content about the royals coming.