Last Monday, I settled in like millions of others across the UK to watch the Duchess of Sussex spill the tea about her departure from The Firm. And boi, did Meghan pull the pin or what (wouldn’t you have loved to have been a fly on the palace wall during that TV dinner?!? 😱💀👻).
I’d been a big fan of her and Harry’s nuptials (although admittedly, not so much the dress 👀) – but unfortunately, this wedding was never just going to be seen as two individuals declaring their undying love for each other. Because this bride was half black – becoming only the second person of colour to marry into the family, and instantly making the pair the poster campaign for the modern multicultural Britain the royals supposedly serve.
I remember the wedding like it was yesterday (hard to believe it was almost three years ago already). It was claimed as a victory by the black community – even though deep down, we all knew it was Meghan’s whiteness that got her foot in the door (I’m not sure that ceremony would have been sanctioned had she been as dark-skinned, broad-nosed and kinky-haired as me). Still, it was incredibly exciting to see a person of colour in a crown; it certainly felt like a ‘moment’ in the quest for equality. And for a minute there, it looked like the monarchy was finally moving with the times. But alas – not as fast as they’d have had us believe, it now seems.
Ms Markle sat demurely in the sprawling acreage of Oprah’s ‘backyard’ (lol – it looked like the whole of Surrey!), smiled serenely, and proceeded to pour petrol all over The Firm’s fragile facade, before flicking the match on her way out. She clearly could not give two hoots about burning any bridges – Tower, London or otherwise; the duct tape is off, and she is done keeping her mouth shut.
It was a fascinating insight into royal life, and the revelations came thick and fast – from Kate actually being the one who made Meghan cry during ‘flowergate’, to effectively being held under house arrest in a bid to keep her out of the papers. And then Harry joined in, serving up such secrets as being cut off from the family ATM, and being blanked by Prince Charles as the couple planned to “step back” (not ‘step down’) from public duty.
But obviously, the biggest bombshells were Meghan being denied help for her deteriorating mental health; and shocking accusations of racism – from questioning the darkness of Archie’s complexion (hands up who else thinks it was Charles? 👀), to seeking to rewrite a historic convention (a ‘letter patent’ issued by King George V in November 1917) in order to prevent him from becoming a prince.
Regarding the former, it seems The Firm is far more partial to prescribing a stiff upper lip than professional help, for fear of ‘looking bad’. This dangerous ‘put up and shut up’ attitude may go some way to explaining Diana’s tortured existence behind palace walls as she struggled with post-natal depression, bulimia and self-harming, among other things – and also suggests that lessons still haven’t been learned.
It’s ludicrous to think that in this day and age, The Firm doesn’t have any systems in place for members to get this kind of assistance when needed. Especially when you’ve got the likes of Kate and Wills and Harry himself waltzing around supporting mental health initiatives like Heads Together, while the palace itself doesn’t practise what they preach.
It takes a lot of strength to muddle through it alone, and even more to admit that you need help (my sister, aka Bald Font, recently did a whole Ted Talk on the topic that goes live on April 6 – you can get tickets here). I can’t imagine what it would be like to have your cries for help so blatantly ignored.
Look, I understand – it’s a business; there are protocols and hoops to jump through and whatever. But if someone literally came begging for help because they were feeling suicidal, surely the only response would be to throw away the rulebook and help them?!? I mean, how could you do anything else and go to sleep at night?!? The fact that multiple members of the royal household did just that is irresponsible at best, and inhumane at worst (had Meghan acted on those feelings, they’d have had blood on their hands).
Regarding the latter, in all seriousness, I don’t think there is one single person of colour who batted an eyelid when she suggested that the royal family might be a tiny bit racist. I mean, hellooooo… 👀 – the entire institution is historically mired in slavery and imperialism. And don’t pretend like you’ve never heard any of Prince Philip’s dodgy remarks (thank goodness he’d been hospitalised this whole time and unavailable for comment; who knows what might have come out of his un-PC mouth. The Lord works in mysterious ways 🙏🏾😅).
And to be fair, the undue fascination with the physical appearance of mixed-race babies is commonplace, albeit inappropriate. If you’re lucky, such scrutiny comes from a place of curiosity rather than “concern”; the Sussexes weren’t so lucky. And despite not being entirely surprised, I think we were all saddened to hear that such a convo had taken place.
As too it seems was the Queen, with the palace releasing the following, very brief statement on her behalf in the aftermath of the interview:
The glaringly obvious omission here, of course, is an apology. But in the words of Oprah herself, maybe the question we should be asking is: Dear Queenie, “were you silent – or were you silenced?”
Being ‘saddened’ is not the same as being ‘sorry’. But being ‘sorry’ would be an admission of guilt, and therefore liability. So there was no way that we were ever going to see that in writing – lest the palace be sued for every last one of its stolen-from-India-and-the-motherland Crown Jewels for racial discrimination.
The statement also asserts that “some recollections vary” – suggesting that ‘memory loss’ may well be used as an excuse to explain the racism away (Prince Philip alone is nearly 1,000, after all – although it’s been confirmed that, for once, the racist comment wasn’t made by him).
Either way, it looks like this sorry saga is far from over (Piers Morgan was the first to fall on his sword – who knows what the final body count will be?). Let the battle royale commence. 😎🍿
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