OPINION: ‘Hard Megxit’ racist solution to racist problem

From wedding bouquets to baby bumps: the racism of the British press finally drove out Meghan Markle.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle going to church at Sandringham on Christmas Day 2017.

Courtesy of wiki commons.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle going to church at Sandringham on Christmas Day 2017.

This week Buckingham Palace broke its silence on what the press has dubbed “Megxit,” or the change in role for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex prompted by their desire to “step down as senior royals.”

A statement from the Queen outlined the new arrangement. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will cease to use their HRH titles, are no longer able to represent the sovereign formally, must return honorary military appointments and will no longer receive public funds for royal duties as they work towards financial independence. Furthermore they have “shared their desire” to repay the refurbishment costs of their UK residence, Frogmore Cottage.

This arrangement has been called a “Hard Megxit” and any royal watcher with a modicum of context would be hard-pressed to ignore its seemingly punitive nature.

The arrangement seems particularly harsh when compared to that reached recently to accommodate Prince Andrew Duke of York’s scandalous implication in the sexual crimes of Jeffrey Epstein.

The Duke of York, while unable to work publicly on behalf of the monarchy, has retained his HRH status, his military honors and continues to be funded by the Crown while he lives in Windsor Park at the Royal Lodge, a residence far grander than Frogmore Cottage.

Yet there is clear justification for the Duke of York’s relative slap on the wrist: his disastrous connections to Epstein.

But what have Meghan and Harry done to deserve a more stringent arrangement than the Duke of York?

In short, nothing besides opt out of a vicious cycle of racist double standards and outright slander on the part of the British press aimed at Markle.

Such coverage began the instant Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s relationship was publicized.

The Daily Mail ran a headline reading “EXCLUSIVE: Harry’s girl is (almost) straight outta Compton: Gang-scarred home of her mother revealed – so will he be dropping by for tea.”

Such shoddily concealed racist takes abounded in the early days of their engagement prompting Harry to release an unprecedented statement lamenting the “wave of abuse and harassment” Meghan had been subjected to including a “smear on the front page of a national newspaper; the racial undertones of comment pieces; and the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and web article comments.’’

Despite the apparent relief offered by the couple’s widely watched nuptials, once Meghan officially joined the royal family, racist comparisons between her and her sister-in-law, Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge began.

On the topic of foreign nannies, Express wrote “Prince William and Kate hire a Spanish nanny with 20 years of experience for Prince George” while simultaneously writing “Meghan Markle baby: How Meghan’s American nanny could BREAK royal tradition.”

More egregious examples followed. 

According to the Daily Mail Kate Middleton “tenderly cradles her baby bump” while Meghan Markle “Can’t keep her hands off her bump…Is it pride, vanity, acting – or a new age bonding technique.”

The Guardian claims Kate Middleton “follows royal code” when she uses the toxic, but traditional, lily of the valley in her wedding bouquet whereas Express writes that Meghan Markle “put Princess Charlotte’s life at risk.”

Such transparent double standards might seem harmless were it not for the fact that they seriously impact national discourse, reveal the widespread racist resentment against Markle, and fuel the flames of much more vitriolic hatred on the part of online commentators and pundits such as Piers Morgan and Katie Hopkins, the later of whom told an Australian radio channel that Meghan Markle is a “half-arsed, half-fake actress divorcee who doesn’t really want to play the royal game.”

Can anyone be surprised that both Harry and Meghan have opted for privacy and autonomy, things not afforded to them as royals, in response to what has been a plainly unfair and often cruel reception from the British establishment?

As Markle herself said to documentarian Tom Bradby, “I never thought this would be easy, but I thought it would be fair.”

If Britain itself cannot accept a black princess, one would hope that the Royal Family would treat its first black member as well as it treats a family member credibly implicated in human trafficking.

But alas, “Hard Megxit” is the latest admission on the part of the British Monarchy that it is irretrievably rooted in the past, a past wherein a black princess was never really a possibility.