Ever anxious to find another thing to blame on bias, The New York Times, CNN and other outlets are blaming #Megxit on racism. When the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Harry and Meghan, announced their intention to depart from the British royal lifestyle and set out on their own, the tabloids balked and theories materialized as to why anyone would leave all that pomp and circumstance behind. This latest theory is that the racism inherent in British society and in the royal family itself was so horrific that the couple had to move to a country where the Prime Minister donned blackface for a laugh at parties.
“Her treatment has proved what many of us have always known,” writes Afua Hirsch for The New York Times. “No matter how beautiful you are, whom you marry, what palaces you occupy, charities you support, how faithful you are, how much money you accumulate or what good deeds you perform, in this society racism will still follow you.”
There’s a drive in media to control this narrative, to make it about race. So much so that when the BBC declined to do so, that was the story about the story.
CNN points out that “As Duchess, she hasn’t made race an issue. Others have.” And that’s exactly what so many outlets are doing.
The assumption that the press’s persistent pursuit of the Duchess is all about race doesn’t hold up. The greatest British pastime is squeezing the royals in a vice until they pop. They did it with the other ladies who dared join the storied House of Windsor, and they’ll do it with the next generation, too. It’s hard for many of us across the pond to understand even a little why anyone would care about a family of people whose claim to fame is that their blood is better than ours, but the Brits are confusing in so many ways.
There’s been a mixed reaction about the leave. Some women who have always wanted to be princesses wondered how Markle could ever step away.
Still, others proclaimed it a move in keeping with Markle’s American heritage.
Or chalked it up to that deep desire in all of us to abandon our family and their expectations.
But the leave seemed to have way more to do with lifestyle preference than discrimination. In fact, there’s no end to the many, hypothetical reasons that Meghan and Harry would want to leave Britain, their responsibilities as royals, and all the rest. They will be able to make more money outside the confines of the royal rules than within them, and it jettisoning the British Isles for the commonwealth of Canada, they leave the worst tabloid hounds behind them.
The message from Harry, a man who is not in line for the throne anyway, is that he doesn’t want his family to experience the same kind of nightmare that he went through with the incessant hounding of his mother to her own death. The loss he suffered at such a young age has stayed with him. In the work he does, furthering the work of removing land mines, speaking out for the disadvantaged, his mother’s legacy lives on.
Since taking the reigns as Duchess, Meghan has been clear about how much she’s not into it. She spoke candidly on a BBC documentary in fall 2019, saying “I’ve said for a long time to H… it’s not enough to just survive something, right, that’s not the point of life. You’ve got to thrive. You’ve got to be happy, and I’ve tried to adopt this sensibility of a stiff upper lip … I never thought this would be easy, but I thought it would be fair.”
The restrictions of royalty were more than they wanted for their life, and since the entire concept of a monarchy is pretty silly anyway, why not step away from something that’s meaningless into a life where they can create meaning for themselves. The question becomes if that’s even possible.
“Harry and Meghan want to ‘carve out a progressive new role for this institution,” writes Dominic Green for Spectator US. “But there is no progressive new role for monarchy, other than renouncing titles and hereditary privileges, returning the palaces and parks to the people to whom they once belonged, and then rejoining us, the great unwashed, as Mr. & Mrs. Harry Windsor, the friendly and unassuming mixed-race couple down the street, him good with his hands, her always happy to join in with a singalong around the piano, and little Archie playing in the front yard. None of which is going to happen.”
The predilection of blaming everything on race doesn’t make much sense in a society where a race didn’t play a factor in a woman becoming the Duchess of Sussex in the most prominent and visible royal family in the world. Sure, she got a tough time, but everyone gets a rough time. The press picks on those characteristics that they can easily caricature, and all they really care about are clicks. If you don’t like what they’re saying, don’t click, and they will come up with something else.