Updated: March 9, 2021 9:10:57 am
Racism, control, silencing, callousness — the much-anticipated Meghan Markle-Prince Harry interview does not paint a flattering picture of the House of Windsor. On the face of it, the revelations by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to Oprah Winfrey are shocking: Members of the royal household expressed concern about their child’s skin colour (Markle is part African-American); the Duchess was told that she must not seek help for mental health issues since “this would damage the institution (royalty)”; Harry and Meghan were cut off financially and his father, Prince Charles, broke off contact with him. In fact, the British Royal family’s attitude may be of a piece with the sheer anachronism of the idea they represent in modern times — royalty.
In the last few years, popular culture has done much to justify, and make palatable, the myth of nobility, of inherited wealth and class, to paint royalty as an innocuous, even charming, institution. Downton Abbey, a glorified soap opera featuring English nobility, for instance, helped serve this end and The Crown, a Netflix show that has been on since 2016, celebrates Queen Elizabeth. The mirage of royalty, the notion that some people are born inherently superior, is kept alive.
When the ivory tower is a palace, it is easy to lose touch. To comment on the skin tone (pejoratively) of an unborn child, to believe a “stiff upper lip” can cure depression, to drive a young woman to thoughts of suicide — these attitudes ill fit the 21st century. Perhaps only an “outsider” like Markle could shatter the myth of royalty, and perhaps only love could have moved the young prince to recognise his environment as toxic. As for the royals that remain in England as symbols of the country’s sovereignty, there’s an easy way to understand how the world really works. Get a job.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.