Oprah’s interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle revealed details of the couple’s split from the Royal Family. Meghan is now praised for bringing the alleged racism within the House of Windsor to light, and Harry has become a shining example of a devoted husband and father. The couple is deserving of such praise; they are also subject to criticism.
Meghan’s bombshell regarding the “race conversation” is appalling. She was quick to point out the Queen and Prince Philip were not at fault. It isn’t difficult, then, to identify the guilty parties. Questioning the tone of baby Archie’s skin rather than appreciating this new, little life - this grandchild, this nephew - is unforgivable. But so is the well known fact that Charles cheated on Diana throughout their marriage, and after her death, installed his paramour in the palace and expected the world to accept her as the future king’s partner. Obviously, the morals and values of some members of the Royal Family are questionable; it’s shocking but hardly surprising that the Royals were focused on how a dark skinned child would look in the Royal Family’s photos rather than on Prince Harry’s happiness. Little wonder Meghan and Harry expressed concern for their mental health.
Meghan Markle, again, is to be commended for discussing mental health and letting the world know it’s okay not to be okay. However, her claim that she had no idea what she was getting into when she joined “the firm” smacks of naivete or fabrication. Princess Diana’s long-standing suffering is well known. Markle must have been living under a rock if she had no clue what was ahead for her when she joined the Royal Family.
That being said, why was it necessary to bring the rest of this family dispute into the public eye? The couple claims they moved to the United States to live quietly far from the monarchy. Sitting down with Oprah, airing dirty laundry on television, is hardly that. If Meghan and Harry truly want to free themselves from the constraints of life within the castle, then they should totally remove themselves from it and live privately. Talking about it, especially on television, puts them right back in the middle of the muck they allegedly wish to avoid. The couple walked away from the monarchy; they shouldn’t have been shocked and offended when the perks of the monarchy, the security, the wealth, were taken away. They say you can’t have your cake and eat it, too. In this case, Harry and Meghan can’t pick and choose which pieces of the cake they want and throw away the rest.
Much has been said about Meghan Markle’s true motivation for the Oprah interview. Was Markle striking a blow for independence or intentionally stirring the royal pot? Were her words heart-felt or potshots at her royal in-laws? Was the interview Meghan and Harry’s defense against “the institution” or a bitter attempt to strip away all the pretty trimmings and shine a harsh light upon Prince Charles? Was Meghan’s frank discussion of racism and mental health authentic or manipulative? The answers are debatable. One thing in all this hoopla has been overlooked, and that’s the impact on baby Archie. At some point in his future, Archie will see the Oprah interview. He will learn the sacrifice his parents made for him, the steep price they paid to protect him. He will hear how much he is loved. And he will also hear that his grandfather or his uncle thought his potentially dark skin was undesirable. He will learn his relatives did not heed his mother’s request for help, and his grandfather stopped taking his father’s calls. He will recognize the pettiness, the jealousy, the bias inherent in his fancy relatives. He may feel less than. He may feel anger. He will have questions to which there will be no simple answers. And, much like that twelve year old boy, who was told not to cry and forced twenty-four years ago to walk in a public funeral procession for his beloved mother, Archie will be forever affected.