In March 2016, I tweeted, “i highly suspect Prince Harry is on the list of men who date black women and the royal fam is trying to talk him down every day.” I’m not saying I predicted the future; I’m saying that I divined its outlines.
Months after my tweet, Prince Harry a.k.a. Henry Charles Albert David a.k.a. The Ginger Soldier started dating Suits actress Meghan Markle, who is a Black woman. This week in Toronto, they stepped out in public for the first time as a couple, which is exciting for me because as they say, ‘Once you go Black, Prince Harry marries me.’
The Windsors are on my list of Problematic Faves, along with the Olympics and American football (…it’s been an interesting week).
My daily politics—the set of values and beliefs that govern my personal and political choices—dictate that I think the monarchy should be abolished. But I’m easily distracted and enjoy shiny things so omg did you see Meghan’s camel-coloured bag at the Invictus Games tennis match?
And this is really the crux of my dilemma.
The monarchy is an institution whose stabilizing value is questionable. Britain is still exiting the European Union even though Her Majesty probably isn’t thrilled about it. Moreover, the Royal Family and the wider English aristocracy entrench the inherited and thus undemocratic nature of wealth and power. That they were once the colonial masters of a majority of the world means that they bear responsibility for the legacy of colonialism. They should at least return the Kohinoor diamond to India, ASAP.
On the other hand, I love celebrities that I don’t have to get too involved in. Once upon a time, I knew the ins-and-outs of every celebrity drama. I’m busy now. I only have the mental storage space for a handful of fame plotlines. With the royal family, I get a whole celebrity magazine’s worth of cast and characters. At the moment, Harry and Meghan really works cause “They’re dating!” is the premise, plot and conclusion of this particular drama.
In fact, it’s why I like the royal family in general: they’re delightfully dull and the stakes are low. Charles and Camilla are Romeo and Juliet for people who think oatmeal is too flavourful. I think oatmeal is too flavourful!
Harry and Meghan aren’t relationship goals, but they are attractive and with Meghan living in Toronto, they are proximate to me—and being Royal-ish-adjacent puts me in the front to stand for Meghan. Plus, as Issa Rae said on the Golden Globes red carpet, “I’m rooting for everybody Black,” even if that means I don’t get to pick a ring out of the crown jewels.
The prospect of a Black princess in the Royal Family is exciting, however, Africa has been there, done that. But a Black British princess?! Imma be front row at that wedding—no invitation needed cause you can’t keep me out. I decided this when Harry put out a statement last year decrying “the racial undertones of comment pieces [about his relationship with Meghan]; and the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and web article comments.” Look at HRH Prince Henry of Wales coming through with respect for this Black woman. I plan on wearing one of those big feather hats.
Race (and racism) will follow this couple. Listen, somewhere out there—just as a treat for me—an Earl or Baroness is working through their feelings on whether or not there should be a Black British princess, and eventually, they will speak aloud their thoughts to a member of the press. It will be the perfect royal scandal. The royal households will be forced to issue statements in support of the relationship. A headline will read Black Crowns Matter. I will frame it.
Like most royal scandals, it will burn brightly then dissipate, but it will have changed the royals for the better and, hopefully, for the Blacker.
Maybe someday, they’ll abolish the monarchy and when that day comes, I’ll be kinda sad that my favourite soap opera has been cancelled.
But for now, I am here to watch Harry and Meghan’s beautiful and boring love.
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