Meghan was right to speak out during what was so much more than just an interview.
Much of the backlash about the interview that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry gave for CBS last week focuses solely on Meghan. People argue that she shouldn’t be airing her dirty laundry in public, or that she’s making claims without giving “the other side” the opportunity to share their perspective. No matter the critique, though, the focus appears to have been on Meghan.
The focus is on Meghan even though Harry joined her. He watched the interview, then took part in it. He has been with Meghan throughout this whole process; they are a married couple, after all. This unequal and unfair focus on what Meghan should or should not have done really reflects the root of this whole issue: Meghan was serving a society that discriminated against and discredited her from the very beginning, largely because of her race and her gender. The focus has always been on her, not the society that allowed her mistreatment to happen, nor the family who refused to protect her.
Meghan and Harry both aired their dirty laundry in public. But this was laundry that needed to be aired, especially when it comes to race. Meghan mentioned the Commonwealth and the fact that many of the Commonwealth nations are primarily Black. As the first mixed-race member of the Royal Family, Meghan served as a symbol to the people who live in nations that were once colonies under this same royal family.
At the same time, there were conversations about how dark her son’s skin would be. She knew that the tabloids, which are deeply connected to the Royal Family, covered her so much more negatively than Kate Middleton. She suffered through vicious rumours about her that she knew to not be true. And, all the while, the Royal Family refused to support her.
Meghan’s gender also plays a role in this. People view her as a social climber who, when she realized her life in the palace wouldn’t be the fairytale she believed it would be, became a conniving escape artist who manipulated her husband into leaving his family behind. It’s almost a compliment that people think she holds so much power. However, it makes Harry look not like a Prince, but a clueless puppy who would just follow Meghan around at any cost.
This is an incredibly diminutive perspective to hold about Prince Harry. He is a grown man with complete control over his life. He had the power to silence Meghan, or to stay in the family, or to do whatever he wanted to keep his life comfortable. But he didn’t, and he chose to do what was best for his wife and child. How could the blame possibly be all on Meghan, as if she had complete and utter control over Harry’s every move?
Overall, this interview was necessary. The Crown can speak for themselves and release statements to attempt to discredit what Meghan and Harry said if they want to. But there is no basis to argue that this was “private information” that shouldn’t have been shared. This is one of the most public and famous families in the world. There are TV shows, documentaries, movies, and endless articles about them. They are public figures, and Meghan and Harry have every right to explain the ways they’ve been harmed by these public figures. This is not just family drama or celebrity gossip. It’s a reflection of how our society treats Black people, women, and Black women specifically.