I woke up this morning making plans for the week ahead, and what could have been a typical Monday morning was in fact, a celebration. Prince Harry, is set to marry the Actress Meghan Markle, a woman born and raised in Los Angeles of African-American descent. Being a Black British woman myself, today is important because of where women of colour are placed, when it comes to standards of beauty. Her not being from “Royal bloodline” and a “divorcee,” lags behind a little to the fact she’s mixed raced; the daughter of a Black woman and Irish man, in which her mum was a single parent. Although she grew up in a middle-class neighbourhood, what she represents is the poster-child for the ‘fairy-tale princess’ ending. Meghan’s backstory; her upbringing and experiences with racism as a child, along with being successful in her own right, is what makes her story relatable.
If you caught a glimpse in Prince Harry and Meghan’s love story, it’s likely you’ve heard all the reasons why it “wouldn’t work,” and a thesis on royal traditions and blood-line, the minute they were spotted holding hands. Though their relationship didn’t strike me as a big deal, the reality was, I started to take notice as their race became a talking & focal point. Race alone being prevalent, when it comes to social issues not to mention Meghan, describing herself as a ‘strong, proud mixed-race woman’ was enough to get my attention. A sweet love story that didn’t come without scrutiny, opinions, prejudice and just plain ignorance, it is however, a love story. Boy meets girl and voila. Similarities can be drawn to Kate Middleton’s story, but it’s different now because of what it does for little black girls, in generations to come. I know what it’s like growing up with a doll who looked nothing like me, but whose hair I use to braid. Or story books of princesses in pink and a wand in their hand, as with Disney none of them were black, remotely. Stereotypes, and how women of colour are depicted on one end treated, is why today is important.
I was in the generation when Barack Obama became president, and I’m glad I can say I witnessed that too. The important thing to take here is that Harry stood by his woman, despite of what may have been a silent opposition, but “titles,” perhaps protocol and even traditions took a back seat, in the name of love. It speaks volumes and as the couple celebrate, an interview with Sky News suggests he was never oblivious to issues that could arise ahead, stating: ‘If faced with any issues we’ll tackle them together – we’re a team.’ This says a lot about the Prince and speaks of the times we’re in, but ultimately, outside of their decision he doesn’t care. It’s like making a statement without trying to make a statement, focusing on what matters. Well, it looks like Meghan matters and rightly so, she’s smart, beautiful, and the world’s her oyster when all she has to do is marry the Prince!