Meghan Markle and What She Means for People of Color

A Beacon of Light from the Royal Family

Prince_Harry_and_Meghan_Markle.jpg

    The royal wedding; an event celebrated far and wide. The union of a prince and a princess in holy matrimony is something the world stops and stares at in awe each time it occurs. This past royal wedding however, is a bit different than those that have come before it. This year, Meghan Markle has married Prince Harry, and Meghan is biracial. Once the news of Harry and Meghan’s engagement went live, the first thing to be talked of was that Meghan is the daughter of a white man and a black woman.

     Meghan Markle has never shied away from her background. At her wedding this past Saturday, she made sure to represent her status as a woman of color. One article written for the Guardian by Afua Hirsch, called the wedding a, “rousing celebration of blackness” in the title of her article.         

    While the celebration was rich with praise and excitement for the new princess and her proud heritage, complete with photos being shared of her and her overjoyed mother after the ceremony, an all-black gospel choir performing, the beautiful performance of Sheku Kanneh-Mason, and more; there were those who took to Twitter to bash the new princess and the ceremony. A tweet from the verified account of Katie Hopkins showed two pictures, one of princess Kate in her wedding dress and the other of now princess Meghan in hers, captioned, “No competition. You can’t buy class. #RoyalWedding2018” Clearly meaning to say that Kate was the “classier” bride and insulting Meghan. This tweet got tons of backlash and very little support, but the tweets with negative connotation and outright insults towards Meghan were not hard to find.

    While the tone was mostly upbeat about the ceremony, but the insults being thrown brought another conversation to light; what does Meghan Markle’s blackness mean to and for the royal family? Well, according to an article in Newsweek, some who are celebrating Meghan’s arrival into the family as a woman of color are going to be sorely disappointed. In an article from Newsweek published on November 27th of 2017, a professor of sociology at Birmingham City University is quoted saying, “She won’t be allowed to be a black princess. The only way she can be accepted is to pass for white” she then goes on to call the people celebrating her “naïve”. This was written before the wedding took place, and the clear representation of Meghan’s background was shown during the celebration front and center. Many people of color are coming forward saying how excited they are to see a woman of color in the royal family, and there is becoming less and less criticism of the situation, but it is not completely gone.

    Nobody knows what will happen in the future, but seeing a woman of color in such a powerful family could be an amazing thing. Meghan is by no means the first black princess, but she is, as of now, the most talked of one in current events. This could mean great things for people of color in the United Kingdom, with the possibility of Meghan using her now lofty platform to advocate for marginalized communities and shine lights on injustices that are swept under the rug or ignored. The hope is that Meghan will stand tall as a forward step for the royal family, and that only good will come of this beautiful union.

ANNA LOPEZ is a rising sophomore at Ithaca college. She is a writing major with aspirations of heading to law school after completing her undergraduate years. She loves animals, art, and travel; she can't wait to see where writing takes her! 

Screen Shot 2018-05-31 at 12.54.11 PM.png