Meghan Markle's biracial heritage is causing furor on social media, but the problem isn't only that a black woman is marrying into the royal family. Prince Harry is the second royal to marry an American, and on top of that, Meghan Markle, as well as being biracial, is a divorced commoner who makes her living as an actress.
All those aspects of Meghan's identity are foreign to royal family's way of doing marriage business, but the biracial aspect got so out of hand that in 2016, Prince Harry had to warn "the media to stop harassing her," as CNN reminds readers. Meghan has since said that the struggle to get people to see beyond her biracial-self has been "disheartening."
The royal family has a long-standing issue with divorce, despite the reality that years after Prince Charles' disastrous marriage to Lady Diana Spencer, he finally got to marry his true love, the divorced Camilla Parker-Bowles. People manage to overlook Charles' transgression in part because they just want him to get on with his life, and in part, because the train wreck of his marriage to Princess Diana was a wake-up call for royal watchers and the family to take a close look at some of the most out-of-date restrictions.
The modernization of the royals has been a slow process, and without it, it's improbable that commoner Kate Middleton would have been considered a suitable wife for Prince William. Unlike Diana Spencer, Kate had no noble connections at all, and she wasn't required to prove her virginity before formalizing her engagement to Prince William.
Meghan Markle is marrying Prince Harry without even the qualifications of being British and speaking with the usual upper-class accent, let alone the fact that she has unprecedented brown skin. However, Meghan is a big hit with Kate Middleton and Prince William, and she's even earned the approval of Queen Elizabeth and the monarch's closest aides. According to ABC News, Meghan was instantly accepted by the queen's corgis the moment she walked into the room.
Prince Harry said the dogs "took to" Meghan immediately, even though they still bark at him every time. "I was like, 'Argh,'" Harry said, at a loss for words as he grinned at his fiancée. Meghan Markle is well known for her love of dogs. She has two rescue dogs of her own and is devoted to Guy, a Beagle, and Bogart, a Labrador-Shepherd cross. Sadly, the Daily Mail reported that Markle had to leave Bogart behind when she moved to Kensington Palace to announce her engagement to Prince Harry. Bogart is just too old to travel that far.
It's a good thing Meghan will have the corgis to comfort her as she gets used to life without her beloved Bogart. The corgis clearly aren't concerned about Meghan Markle being biracial, and the queen seems to be just fine with Prince Harry's choice of bride, but there is still some backlash about Meghan's race.
J.K. Rowling tweeted in response to an article about Markle's divorced status a simple hashtag statement, #teamdivorcee, and replies to Rowling's tweet poured in. One person wrote that the immediate racism & disparaging of Markle and the endless descriptions of Prince Harry's future wife as a "biracial divorcée" are "just grotesque."For some commenters, Markle isn't black enough. One Twitter user wrote that Markle isn't black and has never represented the black community.Another person tweeted that Meghan's biracial identity is hardly noticeable, and her appearance is more white than she is black.In the first interview since announcing their engagement, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry made sure to address the questions about Meghan's biracial background. She told the BBC that she's "really just proud of who I am and where I come from" and went on to emphasize that she and Prince Harry "have never put any focus on" her ethnicity. Meghan Markle's engagement to Prince Harry is not the first time in her life that she has had to confront the "harsh realities" of what it's like to be biracial. As a child in school, Meghan had to fill out a survey that included an either/or choice of racial identity. There was a box for white and a box for black, but Markle felt that checking either of the boxes meant having to discount one of her parents.
After school, Meghan explained the problem to her dad, and he gave her a solution to her biracial life that she's lived by ever since. "He said the words that have always stayed with me," Markle wrote in a 2015 Elle essay about her biracial heritage months before she fell in love with Prince Harry.
"If that happens again, you draw your own box."Meghan Markle is drawing her own box as she blazes a new path as a first in so many ways.
[Featured Image by Chris Jackson/Getty Images]