Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are marrying Saturday at Windsor Castle in England. But while we are definitely here for Meghan — She is someone we have never seen marrying into the Royal Family: American, divorced and identifies as biracial — that isn’t enough for us to give a damn about anything that has to do with this deeply problematic family with a serious history of racism. Expect this to be our last coverage of the weekend on these two saying, “I do.”
Why do we not care about the so-called Royal Family?
First, they have blood on their hands. Yes, all of Europe is packed with bloody colonizers, and conquering from “sea to shining sea” is not unique to the Royals. But the wealth of the Royal Family was built off the African slave trade. As The Guardian reported back in 2004, “Between 10 and 28 million Africans were forcibly sent to the Americas and sold into slavery between 1450 and the early 19th century. By then Britain was the dominant trader, transporting more than 300,000 slaves a year in shackles on overcrowded and disease-ridden boats.”
In 2007, activists demanded that Prime Minister Tony Blair and Queen Elizabeth pronounce an official apology or the slave trade. They refused, even though slavery built Britain’s economy.
However, outside of history, let’s not forget the what people in the current Royal Family have done, like Markle’s soon-to-be husband Prince Harry. In 2005, he attended a costume party as a Nazi. Although he was only 20 years old, he was grown enough to know the outfit was despicable.
Although Prince Harry apologized and has done great work since then, he will always get the side-eye for this vile costume.
But it’s not just a one-time incident from Harry. There is Meghan Markle’s soon-to-be relative, Princess Michael of Kent. In December, she was reportedly going to meet Meghan Markle for the first time and wore a blackamoor-style brooch on her coat. Blackamoor art depicts African people as exoticized figures and is considered racially offensive.
NYU described blackamoor art as “Gaudy by nature, and uncomfortably dated — a bit like the American lawn jockey, or Aunt Jemima doll.” Blackamoor is basically the blackface of European art. The princess offered a lame apology: “The brooch was a gift and had been worn many times before. Princess Michael is very sorry and distressed that it has caused offense.”
In addition, Vanity Fair recently reported Aatish Taseer, an ex-boyfriend of the Princess of Kent’s daughter, said Princess Michael Of Kent named her Black Sheep after Venus and Serena Williams. This woman was, of course, invited to the Royal Wedding.
In April, Anita Sethi, a British writer for The Guardian, claimed when she met Prince Charles, he asked her where she was from. Sethi said she was from Manchester, a city in northwestern England. According to Sethi, Charles responded with, “Well, you don’t look like it!” and laughed. Yep, Prince Charles thinks only white people can be from England. Makes you wonder how he reacted when he heard Meghan’s mother is Black.
Outside of the family, Markle has been a target of racism since her engagement to Prince Harry. She has received hate mail and UK newspapers have been off the racist hook with their references to her. The Daily Mail sparked major backlash when they printed Markle and Harry’s engagement photos with the caption reading, “A Niggling Worry,” in December. Many folks on social media wondered if the caption was intentional.
Will Markle be forced to publicly speak out on against racism, like she has in the past, in England or will she now act as if color doesn’t exist? The latter sounds impossible considering the fact that there are reports that racism there has become “normalized” in recent months.
Lastly, no one can ever forget how Diana, Princess of Wales, was treated by the Royal Family. Prince Charles was flagrant with his cheating and she was openly shamed by the Royal Family when she divorced him. When Diana died in a tragic car crash in 1997, Queen Elizabeth, who had an arduous relationship with her, reportedly said, “Someone must have greased the brakes.”
We hope Markle is treated with respect as she joins the Royal Family, but out of respect for the countless Africans who lost their lives in the brutality of slavery, we cannot imagine celebrating anything that is associated with the faux Royal Family.