The Interview that Splintered the Image of the Crown

Content Warning: self-harm, bulimia

The British monarchy has been instituted for over 1,000 years, its reverence and influence far transcending Britain’s borders. While the idea of royalty has been immensely romanticized by fairytale love stories, the authentic emotions of British Royals have revealed there is more to their life than a crown and glamorous whirlwind of ballgowns. On March 7th, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, shared the experiences that shadowed their titles in a shocking interview with Oprah Winfrey. As recognized by the audience, it held echoes of an unprecedented refreshingly honest interview in 1995 with the late Princess Diana who publicly acknowledged her own struggles with self-harm, bulimia, and her fractured marriage. 

 In 2016, the public learned of Prince Harry’s relationship with the American actress Meghan Markle, dubbed the “American Divorce” by many tabloids. Almost immediately, Markle received a fusillade of negative media attention commenting on a wide range of topics from her identity as a biracial woman to her fashion choices. As time passed, the criticism grew increasingly absurd with a plethora of articles slamming Meghan for crossing her legs, wearing dark nail polish, or even holding her baby bump. Many headlines also compared Markle to her sister-in-law, Kate Middleton attempting to pit the women against each other. 

 Following Harry and Meghan’s lavish wedding and the birth of their first son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, the couple made a decision that astonished the public – to step back as working members of the royal family. In their recent interview, they elucidated the rationale and pent up emotion behind this choice. 

Quite concerningly, Meghan explained to Oprah that she began enduring suicidal thoughts as a result of her newfound role as the Duchess of Sussex. Despite her attempts to receive help by clearly notifying the Institution, she was offered no support for her mental health in fear of the way it would reflect upon the monarchy. In addition to the blatant disregard for Meghan’s wellbeing, Prince Harry also mentioned that he was questioned about the skin color of his unborn son, an evidently racist concern. With Archie being the first inborn member of the Royal Family to have African American heritage, the apprehension surrounding his skin color was yet another testament to the racism and colorism that plague humanity, and how it is still deeply ingrained in certain societies. 

While some of the interview’s 49 million viewers expressed beliefs of the production being staged, exaggerated, or executed for a financial profit, many took to Twitter, posting with the previously trending hashtag “abolish the monarchy.” Though the occurrence of this singular interview may not have the capacity to hold the monarchy accountable for all it’s actions or initiate a major governmental change, it has placed this behavior into the public’s line of visibility. Hopefully, the decline in support for members of the Royal family will commence reflection and increase action taken on the harmful ideas perpetuated by Buckingham Palace.

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