A royal sabbatical

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Meghan and Harry, the Duchess and Duke of Sussex decided to take a six-week leave from their royal duties to focus on family after months of racial torment from the media. The royal couple plans on traveling to Africa to build a lodge for themselves.  Photo by    King's Church International    on    Unsplash

Meghan and Harry, the Duchess and Duke of Sussex decided to take a six-week leave from their royal duties to focus on family after months of racial torment from the media. The royal couple plans on traveling to Africa to build a lodge for themselves. Photo by King’s Church International on Unsplash

In the aftermath of the never-ending torrent of tabloid scrutiny about their relationship and their baby Archie, Meghan and Harry, the Duchess and Duke of Sussex, have decided to take a six-week leave from their royal duties to focus on family. This leave will include bringing Archie to the U.S. for the first time to visit Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland for Thanksgiving and will end with them spending Christmas with the royal family in Queen Elizabeth II’s Sandringham estate.  

While Meghan is not the first princess to get attacked by British tabloids — Harry’s own mother Princess Diana attempted suicide multiple times due to her own scrutiny — attacks on Meghan seem to be especially relentless and racially charged. This can be seen when comparing her tabloid attention to the attention of Kate Middleton during their respective relationships, pregnancies and time as new mothers. Middleton was mocked as “Waity Katie” for waiting so long for a marriage proposal, and she received some dislike for being a commoner, but she was largely viewed as a Cinderella story across England. Middleton’s ideas, such as her desire to have orange blossom-scented candles in Westminster Abbey prior to her wedding, were often applauded, and her babies have been gushed over.  

Unlike in Middleton’s case, Meghan’s scrutiny has been unending, even after the birth of Archie, largely due to the fact that she is a biracial woman. She has often been depicted as the “angry black woman” stereotype and her own Cinderella story relationship has been held in discomfort by the white media that report on her. This blatant racism is made clear by the many articles about her with horrific titles, such as “Harry’s girl is (almost) straight outta Compton,” and by descriptions of her as a bridezilla or acting over the top, especially regarding her luxurious baby shower. This has misled readers and caused them to grow an intense hatred for the princess, sparking the movement “#Megxit.”  

The tabloid attention was so bad, that the royal family was forced to sue multiple magazines for illegal activity, including voicemail interception and the sharing of personal documents. During the couple’s recent 10-day tour of South Africa, Harry felt the need to make a statement against tabloids in order to protect his struggling wife. 

“My deepest fear is history repeating itself. I’ve seen what happens when someone I love is commoditized to the point that they are no longer treated or seen as a real person,” Harry said. “I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces.”  

Harry and Meghan plan on committing their lives to conservation in Africa, potentially even building a lodge for themselves in Botswana, although they seem to like Cape Town as a possible residence as well. Since Meghan spent her life as a feminist and a humanitarian — even donating her infamous baby shower flowers to cancer patients around New York City — it is not surprising that she would want to devote herself to helping those in Africa. Yet the tabloids would never present her in such a positive manner.  

Hopefully this break will give Meghan and Harry a chance to recover from the constant assault by tabloids, so they can celebrate their baby’s first Christmas in peace. 

Thumbnail courtesy of people.com


Rebecca Maher is a senior staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at rebecca.l.maher@uconn.edu.

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