The fourth season of the serial The Crown, recently aired on Netflix, had presented a touching portrait of Princess Diana, who was trapped in a loveless marriage with Prince Charles within the confines of an indifferent and unhelpful royal British family. The cinematic depiction of Diana’s tragedy, as viewers had observed, reminded them of events that had transpired in real life and at that time prompted the close-knit Windsor family into scurrying at damage control. History, apparently, has repeated itself. The American showbiz personality Meghan Markel, who is of mixed parentage, with a white father and a black mother, had faced similar indifference and hostility from members of the royal family after her marriage to Charles and Diana’s second son, Prince Harry. But there was a difference in their respective responses; Diana had tried her level best to stoically carry on the relationship with Charles before finally divorcing him. Meghan, on the other hand, had refused to accept her humiliating position and had no hesitation in breaking away from the royal family. Also, contrastingly, unlike Diana with Charles, Meghan had the full backing of her husband Prince Harry as the duo decided to chuck off the trappings of royalty and migrate to the US to begin a new life. Moreover, they decided against remaining silent and instead air their grievances in a two-hour interview with the US legend Oprah Winfrey.
As interviews go, with a record shattering viewership of millions, it was absolute dynamite! Naturally, it drew parallels with the 1995 BBC interview with Harry’s late mother, Princess Diana, where she had bared all about her horrific experience within the royal ambience. Meghan revealed that the royal family declined to make the couple’s son, Archie, a prince or to offer him the protection that would come with that title. She also said someone in the family expressed concern to Harry about what the baby’s skin colour would be! She confessed that she had been so depressed as to entertain suicidal thoughts! Harry added fuel to the fire by revealing the ruptured relations with his father, Prince Charles, and brother, Prince William, thereby exposing the depth of the family divisions that led the couple to step away from royal duties. The couple was also critical of the British media and members of the public accusing them of adopting a racist attitude towards Meghan. There can be little doubt that the Oprah interview has set the cat among the pigeons, though Queen Elizabeth II has tried to maintain a stiff upper lip, merely stating the royal family is ‘saddened’ to learn the extent of the challenges faced by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. However, the Queen has more to tackle than mere damage to the royal reputation, considering that many Commonwealth leaders have expressed their outrage at the alleged racism!