How the Meghan and Harry Debacle Shows that Sexism and Race are Still Big Issues in the UK

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex Australian Tour - Day 3

I have been debating writing this post for a few days now. Wondering whether to wade in to a quite saturated world of social media commentary on the issue of Meghan and Harry making the decision to step down as senior members of the royal family.

After debate though, I think it’s an important subject. No whether they should step down or not, that’s their decision. But people’s reaction to it.

Let’s take a step back from a moment. We have a woman, a successful business woman worth about $5 million, with a great career who is going places. She meets a man, she falls in love. If she wants to marry this man, she has to give this up, no, she has to give everything up, her career, her home, her family, even the country she lives in in order to be with him.

I watched in the lead up to the wedding when all of Meghan’s social media accounts were deleted. She departed from a very successful TV show, saying goodbye to something she has spent her entire life working towards and I felt sad for her. Watching part of her life being erased. I remember thinking that I wasn’t sure I could do it, to give up so much, to so drastically change every component of her life.

We were all swept away by the American actress who has stolen the heart of Prince Harry. The actress who would become a princess. But being a princess isn’t all it cracked up to be. The media started to slowly vilify her. It started small, she closed a car door wrong, her outfits weren’t quite as good as Kate’s. Then it got downright nasty. Things that Kate was praised for, Meghan was criticised and picked apart for. A woman who gave up everything, a new Mum vulnerable after the birth of her baby, ripped apart at every chance possible by the press. I can only imagine how miserable and isolated she must feel. Have a look at these headlines comparing Kate and Meghan and tell there has been a crazy double standard with the press when it comes to Meghan. Honestly the differences in headlines are astonishing.

We have seen Meghan accused of domestic violence, destroying the royal family, being manipulative, controlling Harry and taking him away from his family. Amongst many other things.

Then there’s Harry. His parentage regularly questioned by the press. His mother killed by them. We watched him at 13 walk in procession behind her coffin. We have watched him fight for independence, serving in the army in Afghanistan. Let’s face it, he’s never going to take the crown, he’s currently 6th in line.

Why wouldn’t they want to walk away? To carve their own path? With the Royal Family regularly criticised for costing the tax payer money, here are two royals determined to become financially independent. Why are we all not applauding that?

The sad truth is that Meghan is not quite white enough or aristocratic enough for many members of this country, and quite frankly they want her to know about it. It shows a darker truth hiding under the psyche of our nation, that there is still a terrible racist undercurrent sitting there. As the wife of a prince she is expected to put up, shut up and be the dutiful wife, to look a certain way, be a certain way and have a very certain upbringing. Meghan does not tick all of these boxes. The line of succession for women didn’t change until 2013, you can’t really view the Royal Family as progressive.

But why shouldn’t they be? It is 2020 after all. If the Royal Family want to survive in a modern world, perhaps it is time they updated. Isn’t it about time we had a progressive Princess or Duchess? Who works for a living, who fights for equality and truly gives our daughters something to look up to? I for one applaud Meghan and Harry’s decision to protect themselves and their family and carve a new path for themselves. I am also beyond disgusted at the media’s portrayal of her.

Meanwhile, as Meghan and Harry are publicly being destroyed for wanting to be independent, not living off the state and doing what is right for their family, Prince Andrew, the white British, aristocratic male sits comfortably living off the tax payer’s money and not even taken questioned by the police for the very serious allegations against him. That’s male, white privilege right there. And it’s not ok.

4 thoughts on “How the Meghan and Harry Debacle Shows that Sexism and Race are Still Big Issues in the UK

  1. Very well said Laura! These are exactly my thoughts as well. Good Luck to them I say and the media should just leave them alone to live their lives as they wish.

  2. So well put Laura, I agree wholeheartedly. I read those headlines (I’m not normally a newspaper reader) and I was utterly horrified at the way they have treated Meghan. I’ve also seen Social Media posts slating the couple. But you are so right, they are not doing anything wrong, in fact they are doing something very right for them and baby Archie, and I, for one, wish them all the very best. x

  3. I totally agree with everything you say other than the racist part, I am certain that there are sadly many racists in this country still but I think for many its not even that deep. The treatment is slightly similar to Princess Diana and Andrew’s then wife Sarah many moons ago, Diana was treated like a princess and everybody adored her and Sarah sadly ‘who didn’t quite fit the princess cap as well’ was constantly picked on by the media. I do agree though, even when the queen released her statement a couple of days I looked at the paper headlines the next day and all were just creating their own stupid stories around it.

  4. I also agree with you Laura, I was horrified when I saw the difference in the headlines regarding Kate and Meghan – appalling!
    I completely understand their desire to step away, having said that I don’t think they did it in quite the right way. Rightly or wrongly The Queen is the head of the family and the family is essentially a business. I think it would have been more appropriate to inform (not ask) The Queen first before going public.
    If nothing else it would have made the family appear united and given the press no scope to write about rifts etc.

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