By Yvonne Sam
Let us fast forward to the point, where, on January 8, the couple stunned the nation, the world and disconcerted the Royals, by announcing, on Instagram, that they were all but divorcing “The Firm” (a term for Royal family) and planning to split their time between Britain and North America.
The two met on a blind date, when Harry was in Canada promoting the Invictus Games, and began dating in July 2016.
Immediately, the British tabloids started sensationalized coverage of Meghan Markle — an actress best known for her role as Rachel Zane in the American legal drama, Suits — the daughter of a Black mother and a White father.
They referred to her as Prince Harry’s saucy divorcee, further alleging that she had engaged in raunchy snaps, and might still have been dating an ex-boyfriend at the time she met Harry.
Markle marks a change in Harry’s taste in women, as he tends to go for society blondes. Additionally, she is also no shrinking violet. Her Suits character – a legal assistant – is filmed in one scene in her bra as she consummates her relationship with junior partner, Mike Ross, in the office store room
In 2011, Jamaica was the venue, where Meghan married her long-term boyfriend, film director, Trevor Engleson. Three years later, the couple split. That same year, she was also linked to Rory McIlroy, professional golfer from Northern Ireland.
On November 27, 2017, Prince Harry announced his engagement to Ms Markle. “I think both of us were totally surprised by the reaction, after the five to six months we had to ourselves, of what actually happened from then,” Prince Harry said in their interview with the BBC.
Notwithstanding, the world looked on as the couple celebrated their union on May 2018 at Windsor Castle.
Once again, their wedding, of a kind the royals had never before experienced — the chapel of the thousand-year-old castle echoed with the sermon of an African-American bishop and a gospel choir — was viewed by nearly two billion people around the globe.
The couple left the chapel as a gospel choir sang Etta James’s version of “This Little Light of Mine”, a song synonymous with the American civil rights movement.
In the midst of the tabloid carryings-on the royal couple announced that they were expecting their first child. The acerbic coverage continued apace. Meghan was criticized for showing off her baby bump, and worse yet, for flying to New York for her baby shower.
On May 6, 2019, Prince Harry did not tarry and could barely contain his glee, when he faced a news camera to announce the birth of his son. The couple was accused of being too private with pictures of their new child, and it would be two days before they presented Archie Harrison Mountbatten to the world.
They were then blasted for being overly protective, when opting to make Archie’s christening a private affair.
To the very same world that was existing under the belief that Megan’s leap (though somewhat steep) from Hollywood and into the Royal family was a sign of modern times, and being a mixed-race member to boot, was hailed as a milestone in British history.
Plainly stated or romantically fated, the marriage symbolized a new era, for the bow from Cupid’s arrow had given the royal family an exclusive opportunity to open itself up and show the country and the world that it can do a lot more than just tolerate diversity and modernity—it could live it.
Britain has prided itself on being a tolerant, inclusive and multicultural society, while still holding, steadfastly, to rigid class structure, and at the very top is the royal family — the peak and global symbol of elitism.
While historians have claimed that Britain had its first Black queen in 1761, when Princess Sophia Charlotte, at the age of 17, wed King George, very little is known about her place, status and contribution to the royal family, due to the fact that she was near enough airbrushed from public record — no trace of her place in the royal race.
On January 8, 2020, with no aforethought of malice, Meghan and Harry sent shock waves through the palace and the world, when they announced, on Instagram, that they were stepping down as royal seniors, a statement reportedly published without the foreknowledge of the Queen or the other members of the Windsor family.
Such a statement should produce no surprise, as before our very eyes, the couple has been doing their own thing, all justified by Harry’s pledge to avert history repeating itself, by protecting his wife from the destructive elements responsible for the death of his mother in 1997, while fleeing press photographers.
In a British newspaper interview, the Duchess of Sussex reported being warned by British friends that the British tabloids would destroy her. Currently three newspapers have been sued by the couple.
The unanswered questions remain — Where did it all go wrong? In an unprecedented move so bold, what does the future hold? What is to be of the British Monarchy? Shall we all just wait and see?
Harry was never comfortable with his royalty, and as the onus of one day becoming king was on his older brother, it allowed him the opportunity to be more open about his world. The recent bombshell is just one of many.
Six weeks after their wedding, Meghan and Harry announced that they were moving from the Cambridges to Kensington Palace. Millions of British taxpayers’ money was spent renovating Frogmore Castle.
There are claims that it was Meghan who fostered the alleged estrangement between the two brothers, by failing to get along with sister-in-law, Kate Middleton. Their recent six-week furlough in Canada, along with advance announcement that Archie would be spending his first Christmas in Canada, as they needed time to recharge and make plans.
The Sandringham Summit, called by the Queen, has ended on a happy note, as there were fears of reprisals should an unfavorable decision be made by the head of The Firm. Harry and Meghan have been allowed to step down, as royal seniors and begin creating a new life in U. K and Canada.
In order to ensure that the transition is a success, certain issues should be put to rest. Not to be regarded as a threat, but it is claimed that the Duke has never fully recovered from his mother’s death. Prince Harry has appeared on a documentary with Oprah, openly speaking about his struggles with mental illness; even seeking counselling after two years of “total chaos”, while still struggling in his late twenties, to come to terms with the death of his mother.
Could future developments come back to reveal that the mental health of the Duke, and not his wife, is responsible for the seemingly rash decisions made. The Monarchy may soon come to realize that fiscal wealth is not synonymous with mental health.
Yvonne Sam, a retired Head Nurse and Secondary School Teacher, is Vice-president of the Guyana Cultural Association of Montreal. A regular columnist for over two decades with the Montreal Community Contact, her insightful and incursive articles on topics ranging from politics, human rights and immigration, to education and parenting have also appeared in the Huffington Post, Montreal Gazette, XPressbogg and Guyanese OnLine. She is also the recipient of the Governor General of Canada Caring Canadian Citizen Award.