parent opinion

Dear Meghan: The way you were treated as a royal wasn’t fair. But it did teach us all so much.

Dear Meghan Markle,

Your time as a royal, the Duchess of Sussex, has come to an end, and I feel compelled to tell you that while I never liked you on Suits, I’ve loved you as a royal. And I want to thank you for being one for a while.

Meghan Markle’s style before and after becoming a royal. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia

My feelings towards you as a celebrity changed when you became the fiancé of Prince Harry. Not because I was impressed by status or believed in a ‘fairytale’; but because I, as a journalist, began writing about you, and discovered your depth.

I learned that you were royalty even before you met a Prince; because you’d overcome so much to become your own Queen.

You’re the actor who crawled out of the boot of her car to get to auditions (because your car doors were jammed and you didn’t have the money to get them fixed).

You survived a divorce. You were raised by an incredible single mum. As a biracial woman, a proud woman of colour, you’ve experienced gross discrimination.

These used to be factors that would prohibit a member of the House of Windsor from marrying someone. But you came along and smashed those rules, and I felt somehow liberated and excited to see some real representation on a global stage of a proud, feminist woman of colour – just like me. Just like so many of us who exist in real life.

As your courtship continued, Harry looked like a baby who’d just tasted chocolate (pun intended). Many of us loved you because you seemed to be the perfect person for the prince we saw say goodbye to his mum when he was just 12, and who struggled to find his path.

Your engagement was announced and you were accused of ‘tainting the family seed’; yet you stood by your man, and married him.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by The Royal Family (@theroyalfamily) on

ADVERTISEMENT

At your May 2018 wedding, you made history as the first biracial person to marry into the royal family. British gospel choir The Kingdom Choir performed, and the Most Revered Michael Curry gave an impassioned sermon, quoting Martin Luther King Jnr – more royal wedding firsts.

Your marriage was a glorious sign that an ancient institution, which many believe should be redundant, could potentially be relevant once again, and more reflective of the real world. You continued to breathe life into the monarchy in your new royal duties, representing change and a future in a family often accused of being out of touch, not worth the tax payer dollars, and obsolete.

Meghan, you did this just by being you.

The visual of your image in the most prestigious and impenetrable of British family jolted me every time. In a world of Kate Middletons being the standard, you were the trailblazing Oprah.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (@sussexroyal) on

ADVERTISEMENT

That was really your biggest mistake – not being more like Kate. An ‘English rose’, dutiful and compliant, aware of her role as the wife of the second in line to the British throne – a man who will be King in the next couple of decades.

Initially, the public – in particular the British tabloids – embraced your difference to Kate. To them, you were a refreshing and welcome change; until you stopped doing what they wanted you to do.

Your rebellion came in the last trimester of your pregnancy, which was a historic moment in itself. The hearts of so many sang to think the seventh in line to the British throne would have a mother of colour, and be biracial: so significant for acceptance and diversity in the world.

ADVERTISEMENT

It was around that time you made it clear there would be some aspects of your child’s upbringing which would remain private, such as his image and your childbirth experience, and people were not impressed.

You didn’t give birth and then 20 seconds later pose on the steps of the Lindo Wing. Archie’s birth announcement was made on Instagram. There was no invitation to the media for a photo opportunity at his Christening.

In no way, during the course of his first year of life, have you succumbed to the incredible pressure to share Archie with the world on anything other than your own terms.

By refusing to do so, you’ve shown so many new mums that their kids are not there for other people’s entertainment, and they have a choice in how and with whom their babies spend time with.

Meghan, you’ve also been a working mum. Despite being crucified in the tabloids for everything from going on a family holiday, to being a vegan and stopping Harry from the cruel ‘sport’ of hunting, you’ve continued to use your status as the Duchess of Sussex in a helpful and meaningful way, such as supporting the women of the Grenfell apartment building tragedy.

ADVERTISEMENT

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (@sussexroyal) on


Another example is the guest editing of last year’s Vogue September issue, which you took as an opportunity to raise awareness about women of all ages and races doing things to change the world.

You also made it clear that the cover shouldn’t have any editing of freckles. That doesn’t sound like much, but to women of colour, it’s huge, because the standard is normally smooth, white skin.

Meghan, you were pushed into your decision to move away from the royal family and regain some normalcy in your life. You said in the documentary Meghan and Harry, an African Journey, “I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but I thought it would be fair.”

The way you were treated as a royal wasn’t fair. But it did teach us all so much. Thanks for sticking it out as long as you did, and for being you. Seeing you as a royal for almost two years changed my world.

Now welcome back to real life.

Feature Image: Getty.

00:00 / ???