Meghan Markle faced subtle racism and was cast as an “invader” by the British press and public, according to a documentary which charts her time as a senior royal.
Airing on March 31st, the final day Prince Harry and Meghan worked for the Crown, the programme explored how the duchess had to deal with being stereotyped and criticised throughout her time as a royal.
At one point, the British public is blamed for the duchess’s final exit from the royal family.
The Vice TV documentary brought together experts and activists and featured interviews with palace insiders and experts including William and Harry’s former butler, the US wives of the British aristocracy, and royal correspondents.
Professor Kehinde Andrews, who lectures in black studies at the University of Birmingham, told Vice Meghan was portrayed as “aggressive” and “diva-ish” saying: “The angry black woman is a clear stereotype we see.”
His views were echoed by US comedian Kemah Bob, who lives in the UK and said: “The idea that just because people are not hanging nooses to a tree here, [racism] is not happening is wrong.”
Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu, an equal rights activist, said: “If you can get away with that to a biracial member of the royal family, imagine what the rest of us are experiencing.”
Canadian columnist Stephen Marche lay the blame at the feet of Britons, saying: “The British public feels totally entitled to annihilate these people.”
The experts explored the comparative press coverage between Meghan and her sister-in-law Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, including headlines reporting on each of their pregnancies.
The documentary charted the duchess’s rise from childhood activism, to using her voice as a successful actor to champion causes close to her heart.
It also tackled the struggles she faced inside the royal family, having to shut down her social media pages and blog, and change the way she spoke about issues she was passionate about.
Grant Harrold, former butler to Meghan’s husband Harry, said: “To be a member of the royal family you have got to change everything, your lifestyle, to a degree your personality.
“Your life is pre-planned – she cannot just turn to a friend and say to go for lunch tomorrow, as a royal that is gone.”
Omid Scobie, royal editor at Harper’s Bazaar, added: “I remember speaking to her friends who said we don’t really hear her voice anymore.”
He later adds of other royal family members: “They should have been defending her, that silence spoke volumes.”
The documentary was filmed before the Sussexes chose Los Angeles as their new home, making a last minute dash over the border from Canada before it closed to tourists to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
They shared their final post on their Sussex Royal Instagram on Monday evening, ahead of their last day, urging their followers to look out for one another, as they explained they would be going quiet on social media for a while.
Words by Rebecca Taylor
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