***In light of the recent passing of Queen Elizabeth II and the continual attacks on Harry and Meghan, it seems fitting to revisit this post***
For as long as I can remember I have been fascinated with all things Royal. On March 7th, the world sat enraptured as two members of the British Royal Family had a tell-all interview about their experiences over the last 3 years. There is so much to deconstruct, digest, and explore in this interview and why it matters. There is so much about the March 7th interview that is compelling. The interview hosted by Oprah is the first sit down for Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan. For many, this interview was a bombshell, revelatory, and earth shattering. For me, it was mainly a confirmation of things that I had read into over the years, confirmation over the fact that Meghan was pushed out by the British Crown, and that Diana’s ending could very likely have happened again.
I look back on my childhood memories and there is one figure that emerges that was and still is a beacon for me, that of Diana, Princess of Wales. I have clear memories of watching as Princess Diana emerged in her famous revenge black dress after the press had revealed Charles’ affair with Camilla Parker-Bowles.
I remember seeing Diana at the funeral of clothing designer Gianni Versace, and I remember the scandals that were brewing when she started to date the Egyptian billionaire Dodi Fayed. August 31, 1997 is seared into my memory when Dodi and Diana were killed in Paris. I wept as I witnessed Diana’s sons walk behind her casket.
And for me, Diana was one of the first influential figures who embodied compassion, empathy, service, and grace.
She taught me not only to be true to myself but also to reach out and help those around me.
So let us talk about the people involved with this interview. Meghan Markle, a divorced American Actress fell in love with Prince Harry, the British spare heir of Princess Diana and Prince Charles.
Meghan does not have royal blood and she is biracial. While at the start, Harry and Meghan’s relationship was a modern-day fairy tale but the reality was far from it.
The British Tabloids were brutal in their coverage of the couple, specifically of Meghan. Internet trolls came out in droves and it seemed that regardless of the horrific things being printed, the British Crown and the Royal Family refused to engage, diminish, or suppress the vitriol being printed.
There are a lot of talking points on the interview, a lot of articles written about it to. One of the main points that Meghan and Harry were making was that of the attacks by the media and the lack of correction and support from the Crown.
Meghan touches on what has been playing out in social media, especially on Royal Family blogs. There is a clear distinction of those that are ardent supporters of Kate (Prince William’s wife) and those that support Meghan. The media has been heavily skewed in how they talk about these two women.
There have been lots of articles written on how the media changes its rhetoric when talking about these two women, inciting a clear villain and hero, a proper way, and a wrong way. Meghan herself remarked on this,
This idea of polarity; where If you love me, you don’t have to hate her, and if you love her you don’t have to hate me.March 7th Oprah Interview
Over the last 4 years, there is a clear distinction of how they are treated and there is a blurring of what is being presented as reality. The interview provides a concrete way for people to understand the dangers of confusing people’s lives with what is being reporting. Meghan and Harry have suffered immensely from this. Meghan stated in the interview,
When the perception and the reality are two very different things, and you are being judged on the perception of it but are living the reality. There is a complete misalignment. And there is no way to explain it to peopleMarch 7th Oprah Interview
Meghan used an example of photos from a public event her and Harry attended where it looks like they were happy, but the reality was much more weighted.
Meghan revealed that earlier that day she found courage to talk to Harry about her declining mental health and the rise of suicidal thoughts and her attendance that night was because she knew she could not be left alone. Paired with this is also the media’s constant harping on Harry and Meghan’s continual displays of holding hands and affection. Both of which are highly discouraged by royal protocol during public events. With the revelation by Meghan the photos in question are not a disregard of British protocol but Harry and Meghan literally holding onto each for dear life.
The interview is a PSA for the very real experiences of declining mental health and the courage it takes to reach out and ask for help. They both stated that the British Crown and the Royal Family willingly denied help, assistance, and support to Meghan (just like they did with Diana.) Harry subtly talked about the toxic environment that is in the royal family that mental health issues are not supported or treated. Harry affirms one of the major themes found in the Netflix show “The Crown” that members of the Royal Family are trapped into a vicious unhealthy relationships and cycles.
Some of the residual things that I have carried not just from this interview but also from Princess Diana’s story, is that the romantic fairy tales that we have perpetuated about being royal, about being in the public eye has damaging effects. Mental health issues affect everyone at any time in their lives and their stigmas are still there. There are deep seeded misogynistic and racist beliefs which we need to continue to talk about and root out. What I also know is that Diana would be so proud of Harry and Meghan not only in the private life they have but in their continual mission to be of service to our world.
Anjeanette LeBoeuf is currently teaching at Saint Louis University. She is the Queer Advocate for the Western Region of the American Academy of Religion. Her focuses are divided between South Asian religions and religion and popular culture. She is focused on exploring the representations of women in all forms of popular culture and how religion plays into them.
8 thoughts on “From the Archives: Spill that Tea: Let’s talk about Harry and Meghan by Anjeanette LeBoeuf”
Wow… this post was a revelation. Believe it or not I knew nothing of these two – I don’t have a television and I don’t care much for royalty although I do remember feeling compassion for Diana a long time ago…
What I do see is the same denial, the same ugly polarities playing out everywhere across the globe. Why not include this family?
We have barely survived the past reign of a monster whose mental health issues and bizarre behavior were ignored for the entire time he was president….
And now the rivers are running in both directions with t still in the picture and gaining more supporters – anything is possible at this point.
As for the press? Well they wouldn’t be so keen on pressing on IF they didn’t have so many people reading this stuff.
Meanwhile the planet is in crisis – but this news doesn’t make news at all.
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You are spot on at how on a global scale we are dealing with a wide range of damaging polarities and treatment.
I have always wondered how one combats the salicious gossip, tabloids, and papparazzi especially now in light of the ranging easy access of social media in all formats.
It has been interesting that since Meghan and Harry have privately and publically lent their time, effort, and money to helping during this pandemic. Yet what would really make a difference is if the Crown would actually use their wealth to help their people.
This is somewhat interesting, but I’m more interested in kings and queens in history than in gossip. If Harry ever became king, he would be Henry IX. His father, of course, will be Charles III. There’s a really good play with that title about Charles and freedom of the press in which Harry dates a black woman until the coronation, in which Charles III abdicates and crowns his older son, William V, and his wife, Kate, who has more good sense than any of the men. Harry’s black girlfriend cannot gain entrance into the Abbey. Interesting, eh? The play has been on TV (PBS), I’ve seen it live, and I also have it on DVD. I recommend it very highly. Cheers on a rainy day and bright blessings to us all.
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It is interesting to see if and when Charles will be King. I have jokingly stated that the Queen has kept living just to spite Charles so that it goes straight to William.
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The play is King Charles III. It’s available from PBS: https://shop.pbs.org/WB7212.html
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I saw that show not long after it came out … rather prophetic in a lot of ways.
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I didn’t see the full interview, but from what I have heard it had so many ramifications about society and attitudes about gender and race. I hope it has started some hard conversations and result in positive action. The other aspect that struck me was that I hope it will encourage people to seek help for mental health concerns, especially now that so many people are suffering due to the pandemic. It is always such a challenge to get people to realize that asking for help is a strength, not a weakness. Maybe the interview can help some people to understand this for both themselves and others.
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The interview has had a lot of ramification. I have a few English friends who have stated that it has started a conversation about the realities of racism in the UK – many white folks were operating with the fact that the UK was more evolved but POC have started to share their stories of microaggressions, of the passive aggressive racism, and the very real undercurrent that is still thriving. The horribly racist and sexist public figure Piers Morgan was called out on air for his continual racists remarks against Meghan Markle – and has since been let go from the network.
It is also being paired with the recent events surrounding Sarah Everard – her disappearance and death at the hands of a police officer in South London. It has continued to cause problems due to the police aggressively arrested peaceful women who were at the Vigil for Sarah.