Meghan Markle doesn’t have to help Princess Kate

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I knew it was only a matter of time before segments of the right-wing media, both here in America and in Britain, would reignite their propaganda/outrage machine towards Meghan Markle, better known as The Duchess of Sussex.

Markle has been urged to defend her sister-in-law, Princess Kate, after she found herself at the center of a royal crisis thanks to an edited family photograph.

Catherine, the Princess of Wales, posed for a picture with her three children for Britain’s Mother’s Day, but fans quickly took to social media websites to point out a numerous issues with the photo. Kate conceded to altering parts of the photograph and apologized for the supposed “confusion.” Kensington Palace was under immediate pressure to explain what parts of the image were changed, while numerous royal sources declared the controversy as “exceptionally damaging” to the Royal Family.

Given the major public relations disaster the incident has morphed into, British public relations expert Ryan McCormick has called on Markle to assist her sister-in-law, saying in an interview with the Mirror, “If I was advising Meghan, I would tell her to speak loud and passionate in defence of Kate. Meghan may not like being on the brunt of negative press but, she’s definitely more familiar with it than Kate.”

“The Duchess could help the Princess of Wales tremendously by guiding her through this crisis publicly and behind the scenes,” McCormick added.

Since Meghan and Harry’s engagement in 2017, Kate and Meghan have been employed as one another’s nemesis in the press. Meghan tends to be depicted as more progressive, regal, and enticing, but also more bratty, demanding, and sinister. Kate tends to be positioned as more conservative, down to earth, and pedestrian, as well as more royal and maternal.

The two have always been intertwined and unable to be seen as independent of one another. Thus, it has been understandable that as Middleton’s absence has extended toward tawdry gossip and scandal, Meghan supporters inquired to know why the royal family was ready to grant special privileges for Kate that they would not make for Meghan. Such questions are certainly fair game.

Immediately from the outset of her involvement with Prince Harry, Markle was the target of vicious and racially-coded venom, with comments such as “Harry’s new girlfriend is straight outta Compton.” Coverage climaxed after the couple granted an interview to journalist Oprah Winfrey, where they revealed several details that shined a light on the racism – whether conscious or unconscious – among certain members of the royal family.

Perhaps, as a biracial woman who identified as such, Ms. Markle was unaware she is seen as Black. The specter of racial ambiguity is something that is forfeited. Being a woman of color, the intersection of race and gender, as the late Pauli Murray referred to as “Jane crow and Jim Crow,” is all too often commonplace. This was and is evident in the treatment she has endured from her detractors.

As the racists see it, she was wealthy and supposedly privileged, and thus, she should be grateful and engage in unadulterated mea culpas of thankfulness to Buckingham Palace and the larger British society, and stop making those “baseless and unfounded” charges of racism. In essence, they believe  Markle should stay in her supposed lane and know her place.

This was the same royal family that sat idly by and allowed (perhaps even aided and abetted, according to some sources) the level of racism directed toward Harry and Meghan, which escalated to such a volatile point they were forced to depart the United Kingdom. Now, that the seemingly favored daughter in-law, Catherine, has come under such dissecting scrutiny, people expect Markle to sweep in, come to the rescue and act as the Black mammy savior.

While such a choice is obviously Markle’s to make, at the moment, she has remained pretty mum on the entire sordid episode. Given her past history with the tabloids and the demeaning behavior of her fellow royals, a neutral stance is probably the most sagacious course of action.

Copyright 2024 Elwood Watson, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate

Elwood Watson is a professor of history, Black studies, and gender and sexuality studies at East Tennessee State University. He is also an author and public speaker.