Prince Harry and Meghan Markle made their final appearance as senior members of the Royal Family yesterday afternoon, at the annual Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey. The couple joined the Queen and other family members for their last official appearance with the Windsor.
Back in January, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced that they were stepping down from their roles as members of the Royal Family. Therefore, now they no longer represent the Queen and won’t receive public founds from their royal duties.
And even though this decision has been approved by Queen Elizabeth herself, a lot of people didn’t take it very well. From the beginning, the couple’s announcement that they’re distancing themselves from the Royal Family has been met with shock and anger by many in England and beyond.
However, while both the Duke and the Duchess took this decision, much of the blame is being put on the Meghan Markle. British tabloids also coined the word ‘Megxit‘ to indicate who they are pointing the finger at for creating waves.
While we may never know for sure every factor that contributed to their decision, we do know that the couple was not happy at all about the coverage and stories they were seeing from the British press.
Some may argue that this narrative is simply a custom of the Royal Family: an ongoing dissection of every choice, gesture and action. But in many ways, the treatment Meghan received has surpassed this ‘norm’. While the press has a history of being cruel to almost every new entry, Meghan Markle has been targeted more so than most other members of the royal family.
The former actress entered on tiptoe, but someone thought of making noise in her place. Meghan Markle has been widely criticized for the age difference, being older than Prince Harry, and for the fact that she was an Afro-American woman, already divorced.
Disparaging reactions to Prince Harry’s relationship with actress Meghan Markle have indeed highlighted the racism and class snobbery that persist in British society.
The image of a biracial, foreign woman has indeed never been accepted by the white, traditionalist British press. But the collateral damage extends far beyond the palace walls. Meghan’s treatment has sent a damaging message to young British people of colour, who perhaps saw her as a sign that racial prejudice might be finally ebbing away.
Now that the fairy tale is over, the message couldn’t be clearer: even if you’re rich and of a certain status, you’re still black. You’re black first and foremost before you’re rich.
To make things even worse, I do believe this was not just a matter of Meghan’s skin colour. It was purely outright sexism.
She was not just a foreign, but also a strong women, with a successful career and economic independence.
And now that Meghan Markle and her husband Harry are stepping down from their royal duties, she is blamed for something that we should consider extremely normal.
She is blamed for her desire to build a life with her husband on their own term. She is blamed for making decisions with her life, as a mother, wife and woman. She is blamed for taking her personal and professional life into her own hands. She is blamed for the every single thing, big or small.
In many ways, this is nothing new. All the women who marry into the royal family always endure horrendous headlines in British tabloids and sexist critics. Diana was too emotional, Sarah Ferguson was an embarrassment, Kate seemed too desperate.
And those are not the only cases. Generally speaking women are blamed more easily than men. Any examples? Yoko Ono was accused of breaking up the Beatles. Angelina Jolie took all the blame for Brad Pitt’s divorce from Jennifer Aniston. Lady Gaga apparently caused the separation of Bradley Cooper from Irina Shayk.
But one thing I still cannot understand. Why do we always blame women?
Ladies are the repository of blame for almost everything that goes wrong in our society. How often, when a man fails, do we hear it turned back on a woman? In any unfavorable situation, the female counterpart is solely held responsible.
Why does this happen? Society. Our society as a whole lets this happen every single time. It focuses so much on blaming the woman, that everyone else gets away without any consequences.
Hence, when something goes wrong in a relationship, society always points its fingers at the woman. Even when there’s nothing to blame.