If you’re active on Twitter or happen to scroll through tabloids, the latest buzz around the British royal family surrounds Meghan Markle and her husband Prince Harry.
Earlier this month, Meghan and Harry released a joint-statement on Instagram stating that they would “step back as ‘senior’ members of the royal family,” and explained how they planned to split their time between the United Kingdom and North America. This surprising moment in pop culture has been dubbed “Megxit.”
Most surprising of all, the two stated that they wished to become financially independent from the royal family. This is an unprecedented move that reportedly had the Queen herself upset.
Following the Instagram statement, reports of a feud between Harry and his brother Prince William became one of the theories as to why Harry and Meghan chose to step back. The brothers debunked this theory as a rumor in a joint statement.
As of Jan. 18, an agreement between the royals was reached. Harry and Meghan are no longer “working members” of the family, and instead can pursue other opportunities.
Some are pointing to the fact that the media has been particularly biased against Meghan as the primary reason for the separation from the royal duties.
In fact, Harry himself spoke on the issue recently. “The decision that I have made for my wife and I to step back is not one I made lightly … And I know I haven't always gotten it right, but as far as this goes, there really was no other option. What I want to make clear is, we're not walking away, and we certainly aren't walking away from you,” Harry said.
Many theorize that the “no other option” Harry was referring to may come from fears that history may be repeating itself. After he saw what his mother went through, he could be fearful that the same may happen to his wife.
During the time of Harry and Meghan’s engagement and wedding ceremony, many people predicted that Meghan would face a difficult time because she is the first Black individual to become part of the family. People pointed to Princess Diana’s untimely death and media scutiny as foreshadowing Meghan’s media fate. Unfortunately, it seems as though these people were proven correct.
In numerous cases, the same incidents that Meghan's white sister-and-law and Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton was praised for, Meghan was blasted and criticized for.
For instance, the Daily Mail is a British newspaper with a history of alleged bias against Meghan. The article title, on top of a collage of Middleton touching her pregnant belly reads, “Not long to go! Pregnant Kate tenderly cradles her baby bump while wrapping up her royal duties ahead of maternity leave … ”
The same news site used an entirely different tone when discussing Meghan’s pregnancy. The headline stated, “Why can’t Meghan Meghan keep her hands off her bump? Experts tackle the question that has got the nation talking: Is it pride, vanity, acting — or a new age bonding technique?” This headline was also atop of a collage of pictures of Meghan touching her stomach.
It’s pretty clear when these types of headlines and articles are placed beside one another, that Meghan is treated completely different from her sister-in-law, which we as pop culture consumers know can have serious implications.
Although the decision is treated like a huge deal online due to the amount of coverage the media is giving it, it seems like there are no repercussions for daily life in Britain. Meghan and Harry’s choice proves more than ever the dwindling role the British monarchy plays in the daily life of British citizens and the global community.
Sure, it’s upsetting that Twitter’s favorite royal has decided to leave the family, and it’s fun to discuss how much of a great husband Harry must be for supporting and protecting his wife, but in reality, it may be a little distracting from Britain’s more pressing issues.
Just yesterday, a smiling Meghan was seen on Vancouver Island, walking her dog and with her baby, Archie. The informal shot of Meghan is a huge difference from the perfectly-orchestrated royal shots taken of her while she was living in Britain. It’s almost refreshing to see a usually composed individual so relaxed.
The future is bright for Meghan, Harry and Archie, and it’s no wonder Meghan was smiling. After years of probable emotional turmoil and abuse from the media and prominent British figures — we’re looking at you, Piers Morgan — she can finally take a break.