By Lucy Osborne
The whole world came to a standstill over the past weekend, waiting with baited breath to hear Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s unearthing of their hellish few years. My English teacher once told me that the greatest weapon we possess is words. In Meghan Markle’s case, this is the unfortunate truth that led to the demise of her life and mental health.
Since stepping back as senior members of the royal family, Meghan and Harry left for Canada, hoping to continue their work in the commonwealth countries; however upon the removal of their security, they were forced to seek refuge with American actor Tyler Perry before moving to America and creating a home for their son, Archie.
It is not up to us to dispute the horrific events of Meghan’s time as a working royal and her experience with racism in the royal family. The hurt in Meghan’s eyes as she revealed traumatising suicidal thoughts were so real and sincere, it would be cruel to accuse her of acting. Anyone who accuses her of acting in the interview should be ashamed of themselves; suicidal thoughts are something that should never be taken lightly, the ever increasing rates of suicide during the Covid pandemic should be proof enough.
Over the past few years, the UK press robbed Meghan of what should have been the happiest period of her life. Welcoming a child into the world is one of the most intimate and precious moments we can experience, yet Meghan could not have a moments peace without being shunned for holding her bump or eating avocados. These were things Kate Middleton was famously praised for throughout all of her pregnancies. In the eyes of the UK press, Meghan Markle can do no right. This lends us the question of the colonial undertones of the media industry and the symbiotic relationship of the royal family with the tabloid network. Meghan herself seemed somewhat hesitant to bring race into the issue, however this appears to be the fundamental trigger for the press incessantly hounding Meghan.
I have seen many criticisms over recent days questioning why Meghan and Harry took part in such a dramatic interview when they claim they wish to be left alone by press. The way I see it, without them finally getting the opportunity to set their record straight, the press would have continued badgering them forever, creating further heinous rumours and conspiracies. Many people have said it is insensitive for them to still air the interview with Prince Harry’s grandfather so unwell. However, in the interview itself Meghan stated that as soon as they heard about Prince Philip they were consoling and talking to the Queen; they still love and respect their family, it’s simply the lack of support that proved to be life threatening for Meghan.
We all hoped that Caroline Flack’s tragic death last year would have ensured kinder headlines and slander from the tabloids, the barrage however, has continued. British Youtuber Josh Peters created a video proving royal experts lie about the royal family. He interviewed them before the Oprah interview had even aired, the experts each accused Meghan of lying, acting and of condemning the royal family whilst Prince Phillip was so unwell. If these royal experts are lying, it begs the question who else is? We can either choose to listen to these biased experts or pay greater attention to Meghan’s true friends. Patrick J Adams, Meghan Markle’s close friend and co-star on ‘Suits’ took to twitter to defend her image, “Meghan Markle and I spent the better part of a decade working together on Suits. From day one she was an enthusiastic, kind, cooperative, giving, joyful and supportive member of our television family. She remained that person and colleague as fame, prestige and power accrued”. This testament to her personality has been echoed by many others of her friends and family. The media don’t seem to be able to handle successful women with a voice; the constant pitting of Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton demonstrates this.
The two most shocking parts of the interview were Meghan’s confession that she suffered from suicidal thoughts and the revelation of the royal family's concerns about the skin colour of their child. Prince Harry has always been a huge advocate for mental health and therapy, after the death of his mother. Therefore, for Meghan, who is such a prominent public figure to speak out about her own struggles too, it is incredible to try and end the stigmatisation. I am truly astounded by the institutions handling of Meghan’s mental health, to deny someone who is suicidal medical attention could have catastrophic consequences. There needs to be a serious reconsideration of mental health accessibility, this is a scenario that very rarely has second chances. Oprah’s shock that a member of the royal family questioned how dark the baby’s skin was going to be, captures the reaction of the nation. Such a blatantly racist question should not be taken lightly, I truly admire and respect Meghan for not disclosing who posed it; the thing to focus on here is not who said it but the fact that the question was asked in the first instance. It appears as if the archaic traditions of the royal family and the institution that run it, have been too concerned with protecting their reputation and appearance rather than protecting a member of their own family from racial hatred and death threats. I am dumbfounded that the palace refused to comment on Prince Andrew’s exposé as pedophile, yet they will happily condemn Meghan for allegedly ‘bullying’ staff members.
Something Harry said in the interview seems to have resonated with the whole world. “My biggest concern was history repeating itself… and when I’m talking about history I’m talking about my Mother”. This emphatic sentence perfectly condemns the paparazzi and the part they played in Princess Diana’s death. In Prince Harry’s words, “she saw it coming”, she knew the press would continue to hound the royal family and it is only due to her savings that Prince Harry and Meghan have any money (they have been financially cut off from the royal family). Diana faced a similar form of hatred from the UK press and so it was comforting to hear that Meghan has been in contact with one of Diana’s closest friends, who has been aiding her throughout her time in the family. It was also revealed that for a time Prince Charles refused to speak to Prince Harry. I cannot comprehend a parent leaving their child in the dark when both them and their wife are receiving death threats as a result of their family. I hope for their sake the family is given the time and space they need to heal. Prince Harry is already more of a father and husband at thirty six years old than Prince Charles will ever be in his seventy two years.
The memes, the humour, the mocking, needs to be stopped. Prince Harry and Meghan conducted this interview in order to finally tell their story and earn the peace they deserve. All they are asking for is safety and protection for their children; they are not denouncing their privilege, they are merely asking for some shelter after having their whole lives broadcasted to the cruel world. So please, just be kind; you have the capacity to save someone’s life.