The extraordinary scenes on Saturday as the Queen welcomed an American actor into her family cloaked an uncomfortable reality. Despite the apparent public appreciation of the pomp and pageantry, the monarchy’s hold on its position is nothing like as stable as the hysteria might suggest.
Nor should the 230 pages of coverage of the event in Sunday’s national newspapers blind us to the fact that the days of newsprint are numbered too. Without denying that there was an intense and genuine public interest in the marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, we need to remove the blinkers to view it for what it is: a turning point in Britain’s history.
In truth, two institutions, monarchy and the press, are walking hand in hand towards their doom after 400 years of interdependence. Viewed rationally, we can see how popular newspapers – which is an oxymoronic term nowadays – spent months manufacturing synthetic public excitement about the marriage. Their coverage, far from reflecting modernity, was marked by all the old tropes: fawning fascination, carping criticism, preposterous speculation and the elevation of the trivial to an implausible level of significance.
It is a portrayal of Prince Charles tailor-made to fuel republican ire and royalist outrage while at the same time leaving House of Windsor watchers of any stripe salivating over a veritable state banquet of telling anecdote and revealing foibles.
There is the heir to the throne’s apparent predilection for sending pre-mixed martinis ahead to his overnight hosts along with a truckload of necessaries including bed linen and a brand of luxury toilet paper preferred for the royal posterior.
Then there is Charles’s claimed habit of listening to the Today programme while on his exercise bike, occasionally throwing items at an oft-repaired radio when a news item excites displeasure.
The American will become the first person who identifies as biracial to join the upper echelons of the U.K.’s royal family when she marries Harry in May.
But some black women said coverage of the Los Angeles native’s roots by some media outlets is indicative of the underlying racism that they experience daily.
“I feel like racism in the U.K. is pretty insidious,” said Paula Akpan, a co-founder of Black Girl Festival which celebrates black British women. She added racism tended to be “not as openly acknowledged” as in the U.S.
Following the royal engagement, the Daily Mail publicized one of its stories with a tweet reading “from slaves to royalty, Meghan Markle’s upwardly mobile family.” Last year, the newspaper suggested that Markle was “(almost) straight outta Compton.”
Journalist Rachel Johnson, the sister of British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, last year wrote in the Mail on Sunday newspaper that Markle could help bring “rich and exotic DNA” to the royal family. She also described Markle’s mother as “a dreadlocked African-American lady from the wrong side of the tracks.”
The Spectator magazine this week questioned the “Suits” star’s suitability for Prince Harry because she is divorced and attended a Catholic school.
“Obviously, 70 years ago, Meghan Markle would have been the kind of woman the prince would have had for a mistress, not a wife,” a comment piece read.
Harry last year took the highly unusual step of asking the media to stop the “wave of abuse and harassment” against Markle.
The prince cited a “smear” on the front page of a national newspaper, “racial undertones” of newspaper opinion pieces, and “outright sexism and racism of social media trolls.”
Akpan said she felt much of the objection to Markle was to do with her mixed background.
“We all know what you’re trying to say, spit it out, say it,” she said, citing “the quiet and unique brand of racism that takes place” in the U.K.
British comedian Gina Yahere, who is based in the U.S., said there is always an undercurrent of racism in society on both sides of the Atlantic.
“It’s more outward in America, not so much in England. In England they like to use sort of dog-whistling terms like exotic,” she told Britain’s Channel 4 News.
“She’s not exotic,” Yahere added, referring to Markle. “She’s not from a tribe in the Amazon. She’s American.”
Markle, whose mom is African American and dad is white, has described herself as a “strong, confident mixed-race woman.”
Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff, deputy editor of gal-dem, an online magazine written by women of color, said she felt some U.K. press coverage betrayed how the British elite feel about people who look different to them.
“Britain is not in the grand scheme of things a multicultural country, especially compared to the States,” she said. “We’re very much a minority here and there is a lot of prejudice against black people.”
The number of black Britons living in the U.K. is relatively small. Three percent of the population in England and Wales identified as Black British, Black African or Caribbean, according to official data from the 2011 census. Only 2 percent of respondents identified as being of mixed ethnicity.
Meghan Markle providing inspiration for British kids 2:06
“I think a lot of people think we’re in a post-racial society but it certainly doesn’t feel that way for the black and brown people living here,” Brinkhurst-Cuff said. “Racism is still alive and cooking here.”
Akpan agreed. “Britain is still racist, it’s still very racist,” she said.
However, British commentator Afua Hirsch suggested that when Harry marries Markle it would “change Britain’s relationship with race” forever.
“Don’t underestimate the symbolism of a royal marriage,” she wrote in The Guardian this week. “From now on, it will be impossible to argue that being black is somehow incompatible with being British.”
But while Akpan said she recognized the enormity of having a woman of color as a member of the royal family, she didn’t think it would have much bearing on black people living in the U.K.
“When we start unravelling everyday racism then we can talk about race relations moving forward,” she said. “People are ignoring that there is still so much work to be done.”
Reni Eddo-Lodge, the author of “Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race,” said the royal wedding shouldn’t be seen as a huge step forward.
“Markle is not Britain’s Obama moment,” she posted on Twitter. “Being chosen by a prince is not democracy.”
This is something we all need to be aware of. In these instances we need to look out for our fellow citizens and be aware of what could be occurring.
Lets be clear anyone placing these markers is as guilty of any resulting crime as those who commit the resulting act. So to be proactive these persons placing these markers should be prosecuted accordingly.
This has been going on for years in Denmark. Rocks, bottles, coke cans … even the trick with a charity asking for donations being left outside.
I use a mobility scooter which certain low lifes find it ok to steal as well. I moved recently and have been warned by several neighbours in the area that they have seen people fiddling with it. I use a heavy chain and lock but really – a…
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry will cheer on runners at the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon as part of Heads Together, which is Charity of the Year Prince Harry has recorded a video messages for all 39,000 runners encouraging them to wear the Heads Together headband they will be given to help make it the ‘mental health marathon’ The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry will attend this year’s London Marathon together for the first time to support runners taking part for their mental health campaign Heads Together, which is this year’s Charity of the Year for the Marathon. Heads Together wants to make this year’s marathon the ‘mental health marathon’ that gets the country talking about mental health and Their Royal Highnesses will cheer on all runners at points along the route. Prince Harry has recorded message a video message for all 39,000 Virgin Money London Marathon runners letting them know that they will be given a special Heads Together headband
Racism in any form from any quarter should not be tolerated and it not just from one sector, but racism can be in many forms, from any race or religion and for many reasons. You have the out and out racists who will never conform for they truely believe that they are best and everyone else is not, while another large area are the ignorant, who because of lack of knowledge distrust anyone who is different and here this ignorance can be against not just race, but the powerless, the homeless, the disabled and in some respects the seriously ill.
Coupled with racism, is power and sometimes envy, but not always for they can also be on a stand alone basis.
So it is sometimes difficult to understand and reason with persons in the aforementions areas.
With regards to Prince George is it envy or jealousy, for some yes or for others it may not be as it could be the assumed power and in some respects possible racism.
Can any of the above really be defeated and the simple answer is no, but it can be mitigated by reasoned arguement, especially to those who are not of the out and out extreme.
It goes without saying that the world would be a much better place if there were no racism or abuse of power, but that is extremely unlikely to occur as over Europe and America the extreme is in high ascendant.
The world’s most famous toddler, Prince George, is a mere three years old. Born into a life of wealth and prestige, the young prince will experience the highs and lows that are part and parcel of the British royal family, through no fault of his own.
But this hasn’t prevented the obnoxious left from brutally attacking our future monarch for his ‘white privilege’.
Stunned by the savagery of such an assault, I’m left wondering; When did whiteness become such a bad thing?
Some valid arrguements and these should be taken on board, especially as the Queen is technically a tenent in recept of State Benefits, so should these buildings be also subject to the infamous ‘bedroom tax’.
To a large degree I am a royalist supporter, but not to all incumbents of the family, some of whom are not on the fringes of the family.
Also as the Monarchy is a public funded body them and their finances should not be exempt from the FOI.