*It’s a done deal. American actress Meghan Markle has married England’s Prince Harry in what will be the most talked about wedding for years to come on both sides of the Atlantic.
The union is no small feat – it is a revolutionary step for the monarch’s softening public face, once famous for its stiff upper lip.
Seen as a loud reminder of Britain’s class divide, the decades-old institution is shaking things up by including commoners like Kate Middleton in its fold. This, of course, can be traced to Prince William and Prince Harry’s free-spirited mother Princess Diana.
It was the People’s Princess who felt the burden of the crown and wished that her children got to experience a normal life. She truly would have loved this.
It goes without saying that Meghan Markle’s entry into the British Royal family is special because of her African-American roots. She is the daughter of a Black social worker, who survived an unhappy marriage and found a Prince in the rebound. For Americans, this is the moment that they get to feel part of British royalty. For Black women, this is another Black Girl Magic moment. As Wendy Williams herself would say “she’s our people.”
As joyous it maybe, the union comes at a cost. Markle announced that she would retire from acting. She would have to adhere to the strict public code Royal family members are expected to adhere to. She can’t show her bare legs. She can’t vote. She can’t even give her admirers an autograph due to risk of forgery. But in return, she gains influence.
‘Woke sis’ Meghan has already started to use her platform for good. The actress, who has considered herself a feminist since the age of 11, is an outspoken advocate for women’s rights. She has worked with various organizations like UN Women and World Vision especially on women’s issues.
Her outspoken makes her place in the reserved and neutral royal family a difficult thing to navigate. Imagine her inability to protest a sitting US President who is rolling back civil liberties when he visits her adopted home. Although she will break from tradition in some symbolic ways, one can’t really tell what her assuming the title of Her Royal Highness would do.
The friction between her activism and her royal status would be something that might change the course of the monarchy. Only time will tell.