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Op-ed: I wanted to be a princess too until I saw what happened to Meghan Markle

Ever since I was a little girl, I have always dreamed of being a princess. However, it was always hard to envision myself as one because there wasn’t much representation that depicted a Black woman as a princess. Sure, there was Brandy’s version (the superior version) of Cinderella that came out in 1997, and of course Princess Tiana from The Princess and the Frog that came out in 2009. However, the representation for Black princesses and queens was few and far between. 

Until Meghan Markle came along. 

Meghan Markle, a biracial Black woman, represented much more than a simple American princess dream come to reality moment. In many ways, she showed Black girls that they too can live out their fairytale dreams and turn them into reality. Personally, seeing a biracial Black woman enter the upper echelons of high society, and the Royal Family no less, was a huge deal. 

However, with that joy and excitement also came the fear and realization that the good press Markle was receiving was only going to last as long as a silk out on my natural hair on a hot or rainy day in Rugeley – for all of 15 minutes. 

The smear campaign against Markle began in a matter of months, and it never let up. The British tabloid circuit has been downright racist in its attempts to smear Meghan as an evil, spiteful, money grabbing American, and you can’t tell me otherwise. Of course, all of this is false, however, it’s been a wild ride seeing just how far the British media – and its citizens – have been in believing their widespread gossip and lies. 

However, like myself, other Black, brown and non-white people are not surprised to see what’s become of the Monarchy, what it represents, and how they’ve continued to lead an allusion to white people that they are in fact beings that can’t do any wrong. 

I mean, look at Piers Morgan. Even after getting his ass royally dragged by Dr. Shola Mos-Shogbamimu, he still couldn’t begin to understand that the Monarchy, which he’s been idolizing since he was a young boy, has some very serious problems that need to be addressed. All Morgan could seem to focus on was how Meghan and Harry’s interview made the Queen look bad. 

All too often when racism is discussed, the conversation shifts away from holding the responsible party accountable for their actions and instead focuses on doing damage control for the guilty party. 

Just so we’re all clear, the Monarchy is rooted in colonialism, white supremacy, and racism. It should come as no surprise that this system exudes racist and classist practices both covertly and overtly. 

But don’t just take my word for it. Look around you. 

Out of the entire world, there are only 22 countries that the British haven’t invaded. Their museums are riddled with artifacts and treasures that were stolen and lotted from lands that weren’t theirs. They’ve forced the English language and Christian religion on millions of people. 

Need more proof? 

In this 21st century, they have been exposed for trying to retain a ‘pure’ bloodline by voicing their concern over the color of Meghan and Harry’s first-born child. 

Like, ok, I’m sorry. You have a known sexual predator living down the corridor in your castle (cough cough: looking at you Prince Andrew) and you’re more concerned about a quarter Black child whose skin tone came out to resemble that of his father’s? 

But the idea of the Royal Family, and the Monarchial Institution as a whole, being racist isn’t surprising to anyone…except to, well, white people. This is because they have continued to benefit from the products of colonialism, white supremacy, and racism till this very day. Therefore, in their minds, there can’t be much wrong with a system that continually provides for them.

But I digress and think back to myself as a young girl. 

If I had known then how much the Institution would have failed to protect Markle and her family in the end, would I have still spent my days and nights dreaming of becoming a princess? Would I have believed the Institution when they said that they’d protect me and my family? 

It’s hard to say what I would’ve done had I known what I know now. Because in the end, we all believe in some type of fairytale ending one way or another. Even after all of the trials and tribulations that Markle has gone through, she still believes that she has achieved hers after escaping the evil Queen and going off to live with her prince. 

However, after thinking about it, I don’t think I could have gone through what Markle went through and made it out alive. If we’re being completely honest, Markle was let into the upper echelons of high society due to her fair complexion. She was let in through the door of colorism and kicked out by racism. With my dark skin complexion, kinky hair, and large athletic build, I can’t see myself as modern-day royalty within the Royal Family. 

Until then, I’ll continue to sing “Impossible / It’s Possible” and look to my poster of Princess Tiana for inspiration until the new dawn officially begins. 

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