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HOW MEGHAN MARKLE AND PRINCE HARRY’S MARRIAGE CHANGED OUTSIDE PERSPECTIVE ON THE ROYAL FAMILY

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THE AFTERMATH OF MEGHAN AND HARRY’S INTERVIEW WITH OPRAH WINFREY

Credit: Kensington Palace

When Meghan Markle and Prince Harry had their fairytale wedding on May 19th, 2018 at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor, it could not have looked more blissful. Nearly thirty million people in the United States tuned in to watch Meghan and Harry marry.

Meghan Markle, an American, an actress, a divorcee, a biracial woman, marrying into the Royal Family symbolized extraordinary progressiveness within the monarchy. It was something to celebrate! Though the wedding looked as though it was filled with joy, viewers and fans of the Royal Family couldn’t have predicted the trajectory of Meghan and Harry’s marriage, or how their marriage would transform the public’s perception of the Royal Family forever. 

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Queen Elizabeth II (Credit: Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images)

Meghan and Harry shocked fans on January 8th, 2020 when they released a statement to the public announcing they would step back as senior royals. A little over a year later on February 28th, 2021, the first preview for a sit-down interview Meghan and Harry would do with Oprah Winfrey was released.  

Leading up to the interview airing, Savannah Guthrie, host of the Today Show, asked Royal commentator Victoria Arbiter how potentially damaging Meghan and Harry’s interview could be for the Royal Family, Arbiter responded, “I think this promises to be incredibly damaging and that’s the sadness involved.”

On the night of March 7th, 2021, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s interview with Oprah Winfrey premiered. It was their chance to tell their truth behind the events that led up to their departure from the UK and their roles as senior royals. During the interview, Markle dropped bombshell after bombshell, such as concerns royal family members had over her and Harry’s son, Archie’s, skin tone. Markle also admitted at one point she was suicidal while pregnant with Archie. 

The aftermath of this interview caused worldwide debate over the Royal Family. People who watched the interview started to raise questions such as, which member of the family had said racist remarks in regard to Archie’s skin tone? Why didn’t the family ever defend Markle against the relentless press? Some people wondered why Meghan and Harry would want to air their dirty laundry to the world.  On social media, there was a divide. Following the interview, the hashtag #AbolishtheMonarchy began to trend on Twitter.  

"Oprah with Meghan and Harry" aired March 7, 2021. Credit: CBS
“Oprah with Meghan and Harry” aired March 7, 2021 (Credit: CBS)

After the interview premiered, Good Morning America reported that Britons were still more supportive of the Queen than the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. YouGov had created a poll on seeing where Briton’s sympathies lie. It was found that thirty-six percent of people stand by the Queen, twenty-two percent have more sympathy for Meghan and Harry, and twenty-eight percent were indifferent.

Many people were drawing parallels between Meghan and Harry’s interview with Oprah Winfrey and Princess Diana’s 1995 interview with Martin Bashir, which was equally as controversial. Both women discussed the relentless media scrutiny they faced, their mental health struggles, and how they didn’t feel supported within the institution. The main difference between Meghan and Diana is that Meghan was able to find a way out. 

Before this interview, it was a fair assumption for people to think the Royals had it all. They have castles and jewels. They have immense privilege, incredible opportunities, and the power to make a substantial difference. Though that is all true, after watching Meghan and Harry discuss what it entails to survive the royal life, the narrative projected is one of being trapped in an ancient institution that requires its members to sacrifice their freedoms and their voices. 

Overall the Royal Family is a family business and often in family businesses, though not entirely morally right, the business side comes first. All families have trials and tribulations and hopefully, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be able to rekindle their relationships between themselves and members of the Royal Family. 

Whether people support the monarchy, are against it, or are indifferent, Meghan and Harry’s marriage changed the Royal Family forever. When Oprah asked Meghan if her story with the Prince has a happy ending she replied, “Yes it does. Yeah greater than any fairytale you’ve ever read”. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle revealed that they are expecting a baby girl who is due to arrive this summer. 

Credit: Reuters