‘Megxit’ leads to mass uproar in United Kingdom

Meghan+Markle+and+Prince+Harry+attend+church+with+the+royal+family+in+2017.+The+announcement+of+Prince+Harry+and+Megan+Markle%27s+relationship+led+to+mass+controversy+among+the+English+press.+They+often+resorted+to+racist+or+nationalist+attacks+on+Markle.+Many+believe+these+attacks+may+be+the+cause+of+their+recent+decision.

Creative Commons photo through Wikimedia Commons by Mark Jones

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry attend church with the royal family in 2017. The announcement of Prince Harry and Megan Markle’s relationship led to mass controversy among the English press. They often resorted to racist or nationalist attacks on Markle. Many believe these attacks may be the cause of their recent decision.

Drew Jurek, Layout Editor

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced Jan. 8 they would break with the rest of the English royal family and split their time between North America and England. The move was preceded by multiple actions showing disrespect for English tradition, this was spurred on by the duchess’ wish to live a more private life. While this move may seem sensible to many, Markle’s actions show how ignorance and selfishness can often cause more problems than one may expect.

Prince Harry, the second grandson of the English queen, met Meghan Markle, an American actor, on a blind date in 2016. Their relationship was met with mixed opinions in Britain, where the monarchy plays a ceremonial role in the political and cultural life of the nation. However, English tabloids often portrayed Markle in a negative way, attacking her race, her divorced parents and her own divorce previously. Nevertheless, the two married in May of 2018.

“She was unique, she was strange among the royal family because she was for the people…her death was one of those moments that made the world stop.””

— Aisha Barker

Since then they have slowly been breaking with many of the traditions and institutions that surround the royal family, including leaving the communal residence of the english royal family, Kensington Palace and cutting ties to The Royal Foundation, a charity administered by the royal family. This ultimately led to the couple’s 2020 declaration they would separate themselves from the royal family and seek “financial independence”.

It should be noted Meghan Markle is not the first royal to defy English tradition. Around 20 years earlier Princess Diana was given similar representation by the country’s tabloids. Diana often faced negative media coverage. She was presented to the country as a commoner when she first began to date the heir to the throne, Prince Charles, a break from the tradition of royalty to only marry members of European nobility.

Furthermore, her rocky relationship with Charles and their subsequent divorce led to a hey-day for the press, who were ultimately blamed for leading to the death of Diana in 1997. However, while Markle has sponged up negative press consistently, Diana often played the press to her advantage, which she used to draw attention to her charity work and populist mannerisms, leaving a lasting impact on the British.

“Loads of people loved her,” Aisha Barker said, an English visitor to the United States. “She was unique, she was strange among the royal family because she was for the people…her death was one of those moments that made the world stop.”

Yet, Megan Markle had a worse issue to face than Diana: racism. This included declarations like “Harry’s girl is “(Almost) Straight out of Compton” and a tweet that compared her newborn son Archie to a chimpanzee. World History teacher Hannah Fuller said that alongside this, many English people do not view Americans as  “especially worthy” of a role within Britain, especially nothing as high as duchess. It is therefore understandable why Markle may have wanted to try to move away from it all.

However, Markle did not try to fight this bigotry. While Diana embraced her role as princess and the constant media attention that came with it, Markle attempted to hide away from the fame that her position was granted to bring. It is especially saddening as 13 percent of the United Kingdom is made up of non-whites who are usually under represented. Markle could have been the voice of these people just as Diana was the voice of the common people before her. However, rather than stand up for the disenfranchised, she hid fearing for her own reputation.

On top of all this, Markle also showed disregard for the traditions of the royal family. Alongside moving away from Kensington Palace and withdrawing from the royal foundation, Harry and Markle are said to have often avoided consultation with other members of the royal family when making decisions. This disregard for tradition only plays into both the media’s demonization of Markle but also the negative perception Britain’s on the whole have of Americans.

The current situation of the royal family is a tragedy. It has not only broken apart a family, but also hurt the whole of the British Nation.  However, it offers a valuable lesson. We must always think of how our actions effect others. Oftentimes we get to caught up in ourselves and our ideas that we forget that our actions not only affect others, but can often trample on those who need our support most. It is a valuable lesson, especially for a people not bound to traditions or civility like Americans.