Thursday, 4 June 2020

"George Floyd's Life Mattered": Meghan Delivers Powerful Message to Graduating Students

All over the world our lives have been thrown into disarray this year. As the force of COVID-19 swept country after country, our lives came to a halt as we strove to protect our loved ones, our families, our neighbours and those most vulnerable in our communities. We stood together becoming closer than ever by staying apart.

It struck me particularly some weeks ago as I hurried home and saw people stepping aside on the pavement to allow others to pass. This level of kindness hasn't always been prevalent during this pandemic, though on this particular day I saw how silently bonded we all were. On Monday, 25 May, another pandemic came to the fore on a global scale. This time it wasn't a virus, it wasn't something new or even something unprecedented. It was racism. The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis has devastated and horrified millions around the world. In a time when we were supposed to be looking out for one other, a police officer knelt on George Floyd's neck for almost nine minutes which led to his death. As images and videos circulated across social media that day, the horror, senselessness and brutality was laid bare for the world to see.


When the Duchess of Sussex was asked to speak at the graduating ceremony of her former school, Immaculate Heart High School in Los Felix, Los Angeles, she delivered a powerful, emotional and deeply-personal message on the devastation in the US right now, as well as recounting her own experiences. Meghan acknowledged her words would probably be "picked apart". She knows this as a matter of fact as she herself was subjected to ongoing racism in the UK from the day her relationship with Prince Harry became public knowledge. She knows this because UK journalists, commentators and publications continue to attack her and lay blame for anything they can dream up at her feet. She knows this, and yet, as she has done since she was 11 years old, Meghan continues to speak up for what is right -  remembering the words her former teacher Ms Pollia told her when volunteering: "Always remember to put others' needs above your own fears."


The Duchess opened by telling students: "Immaculate Heart High School graduating class of 2020, for the past couple of weeks I've been planning on saying a few words to you for your graduation. What we have all seen over the last week, in our country and in our state, and in our hometown of LA has been absolutely devastating. And I wasn't sure what I could say to you. I wanted to say the right thing and I was really nervous that I wouldn't or that it would get picked apart and I realised the only wrong thing to say is to say nothing; because, George Floyd's life mattered, and Breonna Taylor's life mattered, and Philando Castile's life mattered, and Tamir Rice's life mattered, and so did so many other people whose names we know and whose names we do not know. Stephon Clark, his life mattered." Newsweek reports Meghan's words reduced students to tears.


More on Meghan's words from Newsweek:

'I was thinking about this moment when I was a sophomore in high school, I was 15 and as you know sophomore year is when you do volunteer work which is a prerequisite for graduating. And I remember my teacher at the time, one of my teachers, Ms Pollia said to me before I was leaving for a day of volunteering 'always remember to put others' needs above your own fears'.
"That has stuck with me throughout my entire life and I have thought about it more throughout the last week than ever before. So the first thing I want to say to you is that I'm sorry. I'm so sorry you have to grow up in a world where this is still present.
"I was 11 or 12-years-old when I was just about to start Immaculate Heart middle school in the fall and it was the L.A. riots, which was also triggered by a senseless act of racism. And I remember the curfew and I remember rushing back home and on that drive home seeing ash fall from the sky and smelling the smoke and seeing the smoke billow out of buildings. And seeing people run out of buildings carrying bags and looting. And I remember seeing men in the back of a van just holding guns and rifles. And I remember pulling up to the house and seeing the tree that had always been there completely charred. And those memories don't go away. And I can't imagine that at 17 or 18-years-old, which is how old you are now, that you would have to have a different version of that same type of experience.
"That's something you should have an understanding of but an understanding of as a history lesson. Not as your reality. So I'm sorry that in a way we have not gotten the world to the place that you deserve it to be. The other thing though that I do remember about that time was how people came together. And we are seeing that right now, we are seeing that from the sheriff in Michigan or the police chief in Virginia. We are seeing people stand in solidarity, we are seeing Communities come together and to uplift and you are going to be part of this movement.
"I know that this is not the graduation that you envisioned. And this is not the celebration that you imagined. But I also know that there's a way for us to reframe this for you and to not see this as the end of something but instead to see this as the beginning of you harnessing all of the work, all of the values, all of the skills that you have embodied over the last four years. And now you channel that. Now all of that work gets activated. Now you get to be part of rebuilding and I know sometimes people say 'how many times do we need to rebuild?'
"But you know what, we are going to rebuild and rebuild and rebuild until it is rebuilt. Because when the foundation is broken so are we. You are going to lead with love, you are going to lead with compassion, you are going to use your voice. You are going to use your voice in a stronger way than you have ever been able to. Because most of you are 18 or you're going to turn 18 so you are going to vote.
"You are going to have empathy for those who don't see the world through the same lens that you do. Because, with as diverse and vibrant and open-minded as I know the teachings in Immaculate Heart are, I know you know that black lives matter. So I am already excited for what you are going to do in the world. You are equipped, you are ready, we need you and you are prepared.
"I am so proud to call each of you a fellow alumni and I'm so eager to see what you are going to do.
Please know that I am cheering you on all along the way. I am exceptionally proud of you and I'm wishing you a huge congratulations on today, the start of all of the impact you are going to make in the world as the leaders we all so deeply crave. Congratulations ladies and thank you in advance."

Omid Scobie reports for Harper's Bazaar revealing both Harry and Meghan have been having a number of meetings behind the scenes:

'A source close to the couple tells BAZAAR.com, "This is something that is incredibly personal to Meghan, especially given everything she has experienced. And as a couple it is, of course, very important. They are both feeling it, just like the rest of us."
Both Meghan and Prince Harry have been quietly having meetings behind the scenes with people on all levels to make sure they are educated and connected to the issues of police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement.
"Harry and Meghan have been having private conversations with community leaders and people at every level, as well as friends and family, about this issue since the start of recent events," a source tells BAZAAR.com of the Sussexes recent efforts. "By speaking to as many people and organizations as possible, it has been a way for them to feel connected to everything that's going on and learn more about the issues surrounding it."

The video was first shared with Essence, a monthly magazine which highlights and supports African-American women.

The Diana Award shared a quote and encouraged people to "use their voice".


The Queen's Commonwealth Trust of which the Duke and Duchess are president and vice-president praised Meghan's message of "hope and belief" and earlier this week shared this tweet:


Meghan has always used her profile to speak out against racism and injustice. You may have seen a video circulating from 2012 when the Duchess used her new-found profile starring in Suits to support the Erase the Hate campaign. Wearing a t-shirt with 'I Won't Stand for Racism' emblazoned on it, she said: "My name’s Meghan Markle and I’m here because I think it’s a really important campaign to be a part of. For me I think it really hits a personal note. I’m bi-racial, most people can’t tell what I’m mixed with, and so much of my life has felt like being a fly on the wall."


In a piece for Elle in 2015, Meghan recounted a night wher her mother was subjected to an appalling act of racism. "I was home in LA on a college break when my mom was called the 'N' word. We were leaving a concert and she wasn't pulling out of a parking space quickly enough for another driver. My skin rushed with heat as I looked to my mom. Her eyes welling with hateful tears, I could only breathe out a whisper of words, so hushed they were barely audible: 'It's OK, Mommy.' I was trying to temper the rage-filled air permeating our small silver Volvo. Los Angeles had been plagued with the racially charged Rodney King and Reginald Denny cases just years before, when riots had flooded our streets, filling the sky with ash that flaked down like apocalyptic snow; I shared my mom's heartache, but I wanted us to be safe. We drove home in deafening silence, her chocolate knuckles pale from gripping the wheel so tightly."


Meghan's words were heartfelt and sadly informed by her own experiences, witnessing racism her mother was subjected to, growing up during the LA riots and experiencing racism as the first bi-racial member of the Royal family. Her words of encouragement to young students whose generation can effect change and pave the way for the future are so important to hear. As Meghan so eloquently said, "we are going to rebuild and rebuild and rebuild until it is rebuilt".

It takes more than one person to bring about peace. It takes all of us.
- Rosa Parks

101 comments:

  1. Charlotte, what a terrific blogpost. I have two daughters graduating this year - one from college and one from high school. I would consider my daughters fortunate to have a graduation speaker such as Duchess Meghan, who has given the young women of her alma mater such inspirational words as they go out into the world. No matter the twists and turns in her life, she stays focused on using her platform, whatever it is, to work for good in the world.

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  2. Thank you so much for posting Charlotte! Meghan shared beautiful words and perspective. She is an American and woman of color and despite some of the hand wringing that occurred over the melding of two cultures when she married into the Royal family, I never truly thought she would abandon an interest in and advocacy for American issues. And indeed this particular moment of reckoning has had enormous impact on us in the USA. And I think has reverberated around the world especially in different diverse societies. I do truly hope it leads to change and progress and I thank Meghan for her always eloquent and articulate thoughts.

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  3. This is why Meghan's my favourite. She's smart, eloquent, speaks from the heart and most importantly...she gets it. She simply gets it because she's got personal experience, she's not reciting an empty speech about stuff she doesn't know the first thing about as too many do too often just because it is expected of them in their institutional roles. It's sad that whatever happened with the other royal family members as well as the constant scrutiny by the British public and the British press(which was mainly motivated by racism and prejudice also as far as I'm concerned) made her want to make a run for it because we as the British black community could've really used her to champion and advance our causes in this country.

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  4. The world will be a better place when everyone of us start caring for one another, God bless and protect the Sussex family and the world at large

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  5. Moving and heartfelt words, as ever, from Meghan and how telling and symbolic that she had to start by acknowledging that her words would be picked apart. This terrible time has brought into stark relief the injustices suffered by people of colour and I hope every white person not only condemns racism but finds a way to actively fight it and support the push for change. Meghan leads by example.

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  6. Thank you Charlotte. Well done.

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  7. This bold and inspiring call to action brings me to tears as well. Charlotte, thank you for covering this with eloquence and depth!

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  8. Charlotte, besides Meghan I totally love you. You speak her language and it's almost like you have merged yourself with her so that when I read your very well researched blogpost, it's does not differ from her spoken words. I am so emotional right now so thank you for always capturing the moment in your blogposts.

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  9. We need to all do our part to make sure Meghan doesn't have to repeat her thoughts at Archie's graduation. Brava! to a caring, compassionate, thoughtful woman who does not give up!

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  10. Charlotte, Thank you so much for your beautifully written post sharing Meghan's passionate speech. She is so admirable in her courage, despite knowing how every word she utters, and every move she makes is criticized. Meghan is truly an inspiration. Her raw feeling is very moving.

    R

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  11. Denise in Virginia4 June 2020 at 18:44

    Meghan never disappoints. Despite all the challenges she and Harry faced, and continue to face, she is steadfast, focused on supporting and uplifting. She brings an absolutely authentic perspective in this situation. Charlotte thanks so much for another excellent post, I hope you are staying safe and doing well despite all that's happening in the world today. Thank you Meghan for staying positive and continuing to be a positive example in a world full of negativity.

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  12. a great message by meghan what is happening in north america to black people is true injustice and its time we actually do some change. we have to do more than just shake our heads but actively call out racism in every aspect of life that we see it and tear down institutionalized and systemic racism enough black people have died and black lives do matter.

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  13. Meghan sent a really great message with this speech; I applaud her for taking a passionate and firm stance, consistently, regarding racism. And what a treat to hear from her, tbh - I missed her:) - op

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  14. Thank you, Charlotte--for sharing Meghan's voice and also for how beautifully you expressed the issue. As a white woman in Chicago who works in communities of color, I want to share the devastation I have witnessed, though it is not my place to represent the personal experiences of people of color. People of color are experiencing unimaginable trauma and violence right now, on top of sustained, centuries-old violence and oppression. My neighbors and colleagues are in true danger and despair.

    COVID took so much from everyone, but particularly people of color who are catching the disease at disproportionately high rates (Latino community), dying at disproportionately high rates (African-American community), and then those same communities are also experiencing the highest rates of job loss due to the economic fallout. And then police brutality, which is a disgusting, shameful, ongoing tragedy in this country. It's frankly becoming too much to bear, and I say that as a person who is white, still employed, and middle class, so imagine the reality for people without those privileges.

    Just as one example--my city and state took strong leadership to regulate essential businesses during the height of the pandemic (which is ongoing here--we've flattened the curve but not yet had any sustained or meaningful decline). Pharmacies and grocery stores were among the few places open; now even those are closed due to fires, street violence and looting, which are using well-organized, peaceful protests as cover for nefarious actions. We can't sleep for the non-stop sirens. We cannot get prescriptions filled or food, going on 5 days now. We are scraping the bottom of our pantry and I have critical medication that I cannot refill. This is a city of 3 million people and we're not the only city facing this--Minneapolis, NewYork, LA, Detroit, Atlanta, Charlotte . . . the list goes on. This is happening in America, in 2020.

    I know the whole world suffers from COVID, suffers from racism and it must be stopped everywhere. But please say special prayers/send particular uplifting thoughts for urban America. We are truly in crisis and our local leaders are trying (mostly) but struggling (across the board) to provide a way forward, with no federal leadership or support whatsoever. We need people like Harry and Meghan, and people like these bright young graduates more than ever. But we also need each one of us. There is a local Black activist and organizer here in Chicago (My Block My Hood My City; please donate if you can) who says "What's something simple I can do, that will have a positive impact on my block?" We should all be asking, answering, and acting upon that.

    Thank you for this community and for allowing me to share my experience.

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    1. Tammy from California6 June 2020 at 22:08

      Anonymous, I am 50 miles from LA. I can get whatever you need. Message me here and I will drive to you.

      Prayers for you my friend.

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    2. Tammy from California7 June 2020 at 14:49

      Anon, I just realized you said you were in Chicago. Well I can't be THERE in an hour. I am so sorry-I am running on fumes over here with a puppy who gets me up at the crack of dawn and then the sadness in me. Prayers instead and every hope you get what you need soon.

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    3. Tammy, it was a very sweet offer, and I also hope things get better for Anon. She says so well what is happening.

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  15. Meghan is in a unique position to speak to everyone as a descendant of two distinct ethnicities.
    (I believe we are all of only ONE human race.) Because Meghan has been a part of "both worlds," she can provide us an insightful look at the problems we still face today. I honestly thought by now, we would be much further along than we are, but Meghan's message gives us hope that the youth of the future will make more progress.

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  16. I was so happy that she could be herself and say what she wanted to say. This awful event came in a group of three such events, one not ending in death. The advent of smartphones is in this case a wonderful thing because no longer can things be hidden and events changed. Times of great turmoil seem to be needed for change here, even though change is so slow and uneven. The lack of concern for having witnesses shows, to me, how bad things are. So wonderful that protests/peaceful marches occurred around the world.

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    1. I will diasagree in so far as there have been more than three events.
      Why people act as if this is new, why they haven't felt the need to educate themseves before is completely shocking and astonishing to me. This fight has been going on for years. The movement is not new- they have been active for years. Amaud Aubry, Botham Sean, Atatiana Jefferson, Jonathan Ferell, Renisha MCBride, Stephon Clark, Jordan Edwards, Jordan Davis, Alton Sterling, Aiyana Jones, Mike Brown, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Sean Bell, Oscar Grant, Sandra Bland, Corey Jones, John Crawford, Terrence Crutcher, Keith Scott, Clifford Glover, Claude Reese, Randy Evans, Yvonne Smallwood, Amadou Diallo, Walter Scott, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray and and and and. And that is just a small extract. I am not surprised about the anger when this is just the normal reality instead of unusual horrbile events.
      Lets hope those were just the last three that will finally bring change. A change that is desperately needed.

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    2. You're absolutely right that there were more than three events -- I meant three right after each other and in the mainstream news. There are so many others whose story will never be told, because no one was there to film it. And they have been occurring for so so long.

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  17. So sad to hear Meghan say she hopes by the time she has children the world will be a different place. And here we are.

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  18. Moving and heartfelt and so appreciated by me. Whatever you opinion may be on the choice to leave the fold, there's no question that Meghan is now in a position to speak freely on this topic and may not have been so before. She must feel some relief to rid herself of that extra layer of concern about whether or not to speak up.

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  19. Becca in Colorado4 June 2020 at 23:46

    There are so many things I could and want to say, but I feel like they would just be noise. So I’ll just say well done to Meghan for speaking up in spite of her (very valid) fear that her words might be picked apart, sharing her experience, and setting an example. Each of us may be afraid to get it wrong, but the best thing we can do is speak up and do our part.

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  20. Hmm meghsn speech was great im glad see could say the things like that without worrying the society of the people around her she must feel free and relief before she with thr firm and extra safe weather she can speak up

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  21. I’m sure many of us have wept over the news and reports coming out of the U.S. these past ten days. I think Meghan’s speech would be very impactful for the graduates of her high school alma mater. It was authentic, emotional, and inspirational. As the first commenter on this post said, Meghan is able to use her platform whatever it is to make a difference. I salute her positivity and goodness. And thank you Charlotte for this post. It too is impactful.

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  22. Great job Duchess. Very inspiring and heart felt. 👏👏👏😍

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  23. Thank you, as always, Charlotte. I’ve missed your posts here. I wonder if you follow Elizabeth Holmes on Instagram? There’s been a positive turn of events today on a site that had begun to feel uncomfortable for me and many others. I think Elizabeth’s post today is a hopeful sign of people learning the true depth of racism and what it means to be not just “not racist” but anti racist.

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  24. I also want to point out that she wore white which is very appropriate - it is tradition for students at all girls schools to wear white for graduation. I still have my white dress many years later!

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  25. Thank you Charlotte for a great post. These are very tough times and it is great that Meghan was able to speak up about issues she has been dealing with all her life. We cannot choose where we are born or which family we become a part of but we can choose to be nice and respectful and understand that everyone is fighting different battles everyday. Thanks for keeping this page alive!

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  26. Thank you Charlotte for the post. Meghan is back in her milieu, a good speech for young graduates and glad she choose to share. I had expected her to be involved with the protest marches as many others have.

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  27. And it starts. A royal expert. Dickie Arbiter’s comment about Meghan’s commencement speech:

    “I'm talking about the whole speech, end of. It's highly politicized because of the very nature of what it is.“

    “ It is a social issue for the United States and it is not for a head of state to voice an opinion, whether the queen or the president of France or whoever."

    Politicized? Right. It’s political to be against a murder of another human being? To be against injustices? Against brutality? Wow! Pretty sure Macron is deep in politics and why the French don’t have kings and queens anymore.

    What’s the point of having a head of state? To wear a crown and fancy dresses, to obsess whether to cross one’s leg or not so royal protocol experts can headline the Daily Mail with more nonsensical protocol outrage and body language psycho babble? Are those charities and social justice groups the royals like to be photographed with mere props? If Countess Sophie can take an interest in abused women and sex trafficking, then why can’t Meghan tackle racism? Because racial injustices is taboo and political? Or the old double standards rear its ugly head. Again.

    Here’s the thing about why BLM is important in Dickie’s little kingdom. This kingdom is not a happy fairy tale. It has a race problem. It has serious inequality problem. People are out protesting in the UK, not just to support their American brothers and sisters. But to highlight the UK’s own painful racial, class, religious intolerant and policing problems. So no, ignoring this merely makes the royals paper dolls. Good for dressed up and be treated like controlled marionettes.

    If the royals are smart, they do away with these silly people. They make the royals look silly, petty, artificial, outdated, stuck somewhere in time and frankly, more for display and cheerleading duties. To do the right thing means standing up for people who can’t, for victims of racism and sexism, including your newest biracial member, though I suspect that is asking too much from a royal family that doesn’t really understand racism.

    Racism is not just lynching and killing or calling people the “N” word. Nope, it is also the treatment of people by killing their soul slowly— by denying them opportunity, by burdening them with impossible double standards, and whittling away at their rights, dignity, and self worth because they are “not one of us”. It’s stealthily done under the cover of “no, we aren’t racists. We have friends and family...”. Oh wait. It’s something papers like the Daily Mail and the Telegraph and their readers excel at.

    To the Dickies, silence is taking side.

    - Martine

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    1. Martine, your comment that silence is taking a side is not altogether true. Sometimes silence says, I am listening before I speak to know the right action to take. It is not just enough for the BRF to say they are against injustice, the time is now for their actions to show that they are against injustice. I think if they came out with a statement now, it would be criticized, much like Meghan thinks her words will be. Sometimes silence is just that you don't know what to say, that's when you need to think clearly on HOW to make change. I don't think the BRF is blind to this issue, I have more faith in them than you that this is a turning point for them to be a part of the change. Silence doesn't always mean you have taken a side, it means you have a long task ahead of you and you need to get to the business of rolling up your sleeves and tackling the problem.

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    2. Martine, I applaud your every word.

      R

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    3. While I agree with you about silence can mean listening or not wanting to make a misstep I do not believe this logic should apply to the royal family. If the BRF doesn’t know what to say and that is the reason for their silence then they should retreat to private life and the UK should move on from this system. The head of state does not the luxury to not know what to say in a situation like this. Martine’s points are well taken this problem exists in Britain too. And the longer the family that supposedly represents the country is silent, the more those citizens that feel the most targeted by racism will wonder if the family represents them at all.

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    4. Anon@18:52,

      I think enough time has passed with waiting. The empire ended. We are now in the 21st century. Many millions of people have waited and are now dust. So no, I won’t back down. I’m glad Meghan spoke up. I’m glad so many others are too because what exactly are we waiting for? I don’t want my children to live in fear, walking on eggshells, dealing with bigots, and be treated like a criminal.

      I call bunk on waiting for people to hear. People are screaming literally to death. If the royal family can’t hear, they have to be willfully deaf and blind. Why should the people wait? For what? Rolled sleeves? That’s just more posing. The Palace has shown it can be nimble and quick with actions when it comes to protecting certain people and its legacy.

      So no, enough with silence. It has killed far too many people.

      - Martine

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    5. Susan in Florida7 June 2020 at 04:34

      The BRF didn’t make any remarks against racism in their own family. This lack of support forced Harry and Meghan out of the UK , how can the public expect any of them make a statement ?

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    6. Martine, you are incredibly harsh in slamming the role of the Royal Family. Dickie Arbiter was the press spokesperson for the Queen for 12 years. He left that post in 2000, so for 20 years he has not spoken on behalf of Her Majesty, but rather as a radio and television commentator. He has a right to his opinion, but he is NOT giving an opinion expressed by any member of the Royal Family. You have no idea what stance that any of the Royals have about racism. I agree with Anonymous 18:52 that silence does not mean taking a side; silence can be listening before acting in haste.

      Yes, there is racism in the UK; sadly there is racism in many countries in the world. I am not American, but I am heartsick about what has happened in the USA over several centuries to oppress black people. Yes, Black Lives Do Matter. But Dickie, is not speaking for the Queen, nor are the Daily Mail, the Telegraph, nor any other media. Dickie is just one man with a voice. You say" If the royals are smart, they do away with these silly people." Dickie does not work for them....so how are they supposed to do away with a private citizen, who happens to have an opinion that differs from yours? I am certainly not saying that Dickie is right, but as a media commentator he has a right to commentate.

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    7. Very well stated, Martine.

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    8. Jewel, apparently no one is speaking for the royal family on this issue as they have chosen silence. And I think Martine’s point is that Dickie is quite representative of the courtiers apparently running the show for the BRF. Given the other mini scandals that repeatedly pop up often traced to royal family “insiders” it’s quite clear to me this particular group of people is more concerned with protocol and station and short term image than the long term meaning of the royal family. Even Diana complained in her day of the men in gray. I assume Martines point is that while Dickie is not formally in the employ anymore, he is very much representative of the mentality around the royal family. And I for one think it’s becoming increasingly problematic.

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    9. Jewel, first off I disagree with his takedown of Meghan’s speech. No where did I say he couldn’t utter his opinion. That’s a BIG difference. He is free to state what he wants. And I am free to do the same. I have rights! I don’t make any money with my comments.

      Arbiter is paid for his “royal expertise” and we aren’t allowed to comment back or disagree? If he can’t handle the heat, then find another way to make a living.

      The BRF sets themselves up as head of the Commonwealth, take a good look at the makeup. It’s mostly black and brown nations. So an attitude change is needed. If the family can’t muster the courage to condemn basic injustices such as denial of due process and rule of law, violation of human rights, then what does it stands for?

      Perhaps it’s better that the royal family steps away and let other member nation take the helm of the Commonwealth.

      - Martine

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    10. Trying to say this in the nicest way -- it seems like there is so much "support" for each other and, indeed, for Meghan (by Sophie) now that they are long gone. I do not feel like she was ever considered a real family member except perhaps by the Queen. Not sure about Charles anymore.

      Moving to newspapers, love that suing the Tatler and getting jobs being a spokesperson (Zara) are not criticized when Meghan is not involved.

      I hope the world gets better and Meghan can visit the UK and continue to help people there.

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    11. Very well said Jewel.

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    12. What exactly would you have them do Martine? I really want to know what you expect the RF to do right now, what action would suffice? I am not being confrontational, I really want to know from those who hold the BRF responsible, to state exactly what action is necessary to know that they are not racist, or is this just angry posturing to find an excuse to do away with the BRF. Should they step down and hand over the monarchy to Harry and Meghan? I hear the complaints against them, but I don't hear a solution. Would a statement and a stance be sufficient to convince you? I think not, but want to hear from those who think more is necessary, I am listening because I want to understand this form of hatred, because that's what it is, just another form of hatred. I am Anon 18:52 BTW.

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    13. The Cambridges are not silent.

      https://ca.hellomagazine.com/royalty/2020060390917/kate-middleton-prince-william-campaign-black-lives-matter-support/?utm_source=HELLO%21+Weekly&utm_campaign=a7a1912417-Newsletter_SPECIAL_07.06&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e3287be0b1-a7a1912417-255351693

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    14. It’s telling that for some people this has become a duel between Kate vs. Meghan and their spouses. Sigh.

      It’s too bad that people and the popular press have reduced the monarchy to this. And that has been my point. Somethings are bigger than the problem of 4 little people. It has made a soap opera out of this family. That’s the price the BRF pays for glossy photos and propaganda.

      This is what I mean by the reductive State of the monarchy.

      Steps to go forward:
      1. Get rid of the royal rota. Cost of such press monopoly is too high for the propaganda machinery. Better to have press access for all comers.
      2. Have other commonwealth nations be the head.
      3. Let people of color be the one to lead in national conversation and policies.
      4. If the palace can swiftly refute a Tattler article or stories about Andrew, it can respond to other false stories and respond to the global protests. This is a human right issue if that helps ease them in.
      5. And you know, ask the one member of your family who probably has very personal experience and insights about this issue. That doesn’t have to be a public thing either. But engagement is important. And no, you are never too old or too privileged for this conversation.

      - Martine

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    15. Anon 1852 no one holds them responsible. Tho I do think they have been tone deaf over the years to their own families symbolism of colonization and empire (Concepts unavoidably steeped in racism and oppression). But they do need to say something. And I don’t think anyone is saying we hate them. But their silence is noticeable. And the incessant picking apart of what is political or not is noticeable and tiresome. And what many are saying is we may be reaching a tipping point that this method of communication will no longer suffice for the diverse kingdom and commonwealth they represent.

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    16. Martine, I applaud and agree with your five steps. #4 is especially telling,even if not the most important. Well said! Brava!!

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  28. Thank you Charlotte for this post. I love Meghans energy in this. It is soft yet strong. I think this is exactly what this world needs to heal. We live in such demanding times. In a way every generation does. But this feels like so many bad things want to come to an end and find peace. I feel it is very impossible for the young gnenerations to experience good leadership. People who embrace values that are not just based on numbers or tradition. People they can look up to who are approachable- not perfect. Strong and compassionate, interested in them and people who have a vision of a world that embraces all the good in the world. I think Meghan and Harry are growing into these new kind of leading forces.

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    1. I agree completely. The great thing is that Meghan and Harry are now free to not only speak up, but also to show their practical support for Black Lives Matter. The most powerful demonstration of this would be to join the BLM marches in Los Angeles along with thousands of others. This would show they really mean business and are not just speechifying. If it is publicised that they are likely to be demonstrating, it will show they are willing to be classed as "thugs and anarchists" and will provide some protection for the protestors from the authorities who will obviously be more reluctant to use tear gas and rubber bullets.

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  29. I have watched Meghan's speech several times now and each time her power and emotion brings tears to my eyes. This is the most powerful speech I have heard from any royal in years or am likely to hear for years to come. The British Royal Family's loss is the worlds gain.

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  30. Becca in Colorado6 June 2020 at 17:30

    In the midst of all this, the news drops that officials from Kensington were behind the leaks against Harry and Meghan. I would love to know your thoughts, Charlotte, but I’m sure the time isn’t right, considering everything else that’s happening in the world. Gosh. What a year 2020 has turned out to be, so far.

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    1. I thought this had long been the assumption. And why Harry and Meghan made moves even before their departure from an official public role to leave the Kensington Palace set up. I don’t think it’s sudden breaking news...

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    2. Becca in Colorado8 June 2020 at 01:28

      There was strong suspicion and implication, yes, but if there’s enough evidence now (to where Harry’s lawyers saw fit to send a Letter Before Action), then the proof could very well shake the monarchy.

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    3. I think we all should be very careful in which sources we trust. I haven't seen any real source like either an official statement by the involved party, nor a non-tabloid source making this claim. It always tabloids or peopling gaining advantage through clicks that tout those "truths" in either direction. They just use the interest of people for their own benefit by creating conspircy theories vilifying one party or the other. At this point I believe neither headlines- KP leaks nor H&m leaks. There is so much wild specualtion out there and I am actually very happy that Charlotte refrains mostly from this (no matter what she may personally believe).
      So as long as there are vaild sources to back this up there is nothing new to talk about apart from speculation.
      C.

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    4. Becca in Colorado9 June 2020 at 17:04

      I agree that we have to take pretty much everything with a grain of salt, but there seems to be too much smoke here for there not to be a fire. It all remains to be seen, but I am mostly just interested in getting Charlotte's take on the whole matter once she feels the timing is right.

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  31. I have to add one of the worst things about racism and injustice is to see the cycle continues. Meghan was upfront about this. The multiple rebuildings required with the hope of an end in sight. It’s uplifting sounding but honestly, the cycling is exhausting and over multiple generations destroys hope. Especially in many affected young people, making it harder to reach them as they hardened themselves with hope denied.

    That’s why pretty words, mea culpas, and pretty memorials, no matter how prettily delivered by well coiffed royalty or famous personages, aren’t enough. The greater public and popular press may cheer them for it. But the affected needs true and lasting actions. People are looking for real change in active ways. A good start would be to include people of color in that power circle - up close and personal. I think the biggest challenge to all these difficult issues is the staying power of good people. Inevitably, the risk and cost become too great and time heals and forgets. Every gain means forever vigilance. As we’ve seen, it doesn’t take much for even wealthy, powerful and mature democracies to give way to brutality, tyranny and indifference.

    People have commented to me that this protest has reached deep down to many globally, not just people of color, about the widening inequality and growing disenfranchisement. I think it’s a reason why the chord struck so deeply, especially among the young.

    - Martine

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  32. Tammy from California6 June 2020 at 22:02

    Meghan's speech was the best speech I have heard in all the speeches given around the world. When she stated " We will rebuild and rebuild until it's rebuilt"-that was pretty powerful to me. Her speech was a true warrior's speech- and so it should be. Giving her big kudos on this one.

    It's a tough time to be an American right now, our country is broken at best.

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    1. Tammy, it is tough.

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    2. Agree with you 100% Tammy. Now is the time to stand up and march for racial equality. How wonderful that Meghan and Harry are going to join with us. That shows the depth of their commitment!

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  33. Charlotte, I see that you retweeted the investigative article about Dan Wooten, Christian Jones, Prince Harry, and the Cambridges. Im curious on your thoughts. Do you plan to discuss things that are insinuated in the piece in the near future? I know its a tight rope to travel but maybe its time to start calling out some of the horrible things Harry and Meghan had to endure.

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    1. I will be addressing it all at the appropriate time. There's elements of this whole situation which can't be discussed for legal reasons. As you saw in the Byline article they have been threatened vigorously for publishing the piece. At the moment, you'll note not one newspaper has written about it, though that will all change as the legal process takes it course.

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  34. Susan in Florida7 June 2020 at 04:44

    Meghan takes it all in and writes words that make you believe there is no lost hope. She asks people to rise to an occasion and make the world better. Most people would be bitter and angry, she just stays calm , and picks up everyday and goes on. I agree with Tammy , she is a warrior.

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  35. Read it while you can:
    https://www.bylineinvestigates.com/murdoch/royal-exclusive-prince-harrys-legal-move-over-cash-for-briefings-claims-at-the-sun-the-story-murdoch-tried-to-bury

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    1. I don´t get it. I thought Christian Jones was the man Meghan had lunch with when she was pregnant, some of her aides. Was it this person? When did he switch for Cambridges? Honest questions.

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    2. The article is very confusing to be honest. Because the alleged source has been working for both parties since January 2019 and remained with the Cambridges after the households split and Harry and Meghan were represented by BP. At the time they seemed to get on ok. Charlotte even reported on him and Meghan having lunch together.
      It will be very interesting if the claim will be proven. I actually doubt that he would risk his job in that way. He will never be employed by this clientel afterwards. Ratting out your employer makes you toxic, especially in a circle where privacy and trust are the highest currencies. But there is still damage for the Sussexes directly. Because even if he did leak stories- the content would be real. Which will give a lot of those negative articeles, that were till now seen as fabrications, some foundation.
      The article also states that neither the Cambridges nor the Sussexes commented on the matter. Byline also states the Cambridges had no idea. But then they also say "As we were careful to make clear in our article, we have never suggested that Mr Jones was responsible for any leaks of such information.". So they more or less speculate just like the rest of us.

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  36. If the monarchy wishes to remain an institution that represents more than a family of people whose birth lottery included royal blood, then it has to stand for something. It’s not good enough to say tradition, because what is that? A static rigid set of symbolic protocols and ceremonial duties. A sprawled out family with many hereditary and bestowed titles along with vast crown acreages.

    I credit and admire the English for the Magna Carta, the principle of common law, and the evolution of representational democracy through the centuries. Such a system of government was hard won by the people from the English throne. I understand the sticky wicket regarding the role of constitutional monarchy. It’s supposed to be above politics. A tricky thing to do. But is it really? (Commonwealth nations might differ here.) If politics is defined by abandoning the rights of people and fair play, and depriving groups of opportunities and justice, then what’s left? Is anyone surprised that people on the short end of the stick may not be so thrilled with this power imbalance.

    Here’s a little English history. How did a small island country become so wealthy and build an empire? Many commonwealth citizens and black and brown Brits can tell you intimately through their family history how that came to be. That wealth built the English empire, the middle class and the lush Georgian piles romanticized by British period dramas came from the dehumanization and enslavement of black and brown people. That wealth built the fortunes of many wealthy English families today, including the Windsors.

    Here’s the racist background that mired the Windrush generation. From the Guardian article:

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/apr/17/commonwealth-british-empire-britain-black-brown-people

    “The ordeal endured by Windrush-generation Brits traces its roots to the original laws restricting immigration from the Commonwealth. When the first such act was introduced in 1961, the then Conservative home secretary, Rab Butler, admitted in a memo that, while the plan could be portrayed as colour-blind, it was “intended to operate on coloured people almost exclusively”. In 1973, the government introduced measures to mitigate the impact on white migration from the Commonwealth. “Working holidaymaker rules” – operating on a generous interpretation of a “holiday” as something lasting three to five years – were introduced by Edward Heath’s government, to benefit “mostly those who are white members of the Commonwealth, from Australia, Canada and New Zealand”. This led to their description by the Labour party in opposition at the time as “cruel and brutal anti-colour legislation”. The treatment of applicants from the non-white Commonwealth has, immigration law experts agree, “been markedly different”.

    It’s time for many countries, not just the US, to go beyond superficial navel gazing and the usual brush off of ‘stall and forget’ tactics. I think a positive legacy this Regina can leave is to have other members of the Commonwealth be its head. That would be a baby step toward reconciliation. It’s time for the monarchy to reconcile with its past to move forward in the 21st century. That’s why this thing with Meghan is much bigger than people like Dickie Arbiter and the royal rota can comprehend. The monarchy is part of the legacy that created the inequality and injustice which continue to affect people today. These people are supposedly her HMG subjects. The weight of the crown is heavy for a reason.
    - Martine

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    1. The empire may be gone Martine, but the Commonwealth exists and was created with the following core values and principles: Tolerance, Rule of Law, Democracy, Human Rights, Good Governance, Separation of Powers, Freedom of Expression, Sustainable Development, Respect and Understanding, Protecting the Environment, International Peace and Security, Recognition of Needs of Small and Vulnerable States, Importance of Young People in the Commonwealth, Access to Health, Education, Food, Shelter & Gender Equality. The commonwealth also funds and runs multiple sub organizations that cover such things as water and sanitation, fair trade for farmers, and higher education for women, in the more vulnerable states within the Commonwealth. Not to mention roads, railways, and infrastructures. Apart from these the Commonwealth also provides scholarships and other philanthropic activities that directly affect the citizens of member nations. "The Commonwealth of Nations is an intergovernmental organisation of 53 member states that were mostly territories of the former British Empire. The Commonwealth operates by intergovernmental consensus of the member states, organised through the Commonwealth Secretariat, and non-governmental organisations, organised through the Commonwealth Foundation." The Commonwealth nations choose to stay voluntarily because they believe in the tenents and principles. Throughout history, ALL empires were sadly built on the backs of somebody less capable to fend for themselves, and while progress has taken centuries, efforts have been made through the years to establish the basis for decency through advocacy of tolerance and human rights worldwide by all governments. To lay that burden alone on the monarchy and the Queen is unfair. Racism is defined as "prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one's own race is superior", and regardless of the government in power, it will continue to be a problem. If dissolution of the Commonwealth is your solution to ending the 'monarchy's legacy of inequality and injustice', you don't know much about history or people.

      While there is no doubt that racism exists and has been perpetuated by humans, as much as you try, you cannot legislate human nature. This 'thing with Meghan' is much bigger than Meghan and the monarchy, its a vile virus that spews hatred on either side. The most any of us can expect is that good people will continue to fight for good things for good reasons and for human decency. You and I both agree that "The weight of the crown is heavy for a reason", we just differ on the reason why. I choose to not believe that the Queen is a racist, but rather that she views all her subjects with impartiality as indicated by her service to the Commonwealth, and that she alone cannot control racism or human nature, which makes hers a very heavy responsibility indeed.

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    2. Thank you, Martine.

      R

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    3. But of course as the Duke of Sussex was born into the British royal family he is just as disqualified from having any leadership role if they are as tainted with racism as you say Martine. I prefer to believe that all of us share in this shameful legacy to some degree and are prejudiced in some way, whether it is against those of different race or religion or unconscious bias in favour of our own kind. So called " white" Commonwealth countries are just as racially mixed as the United States and must also try to remedy lingering aspects of racism. The Commonwealth has already taken the baby step you mention and Britain is no longer Head of the Commonwealth, even though the Queen still has a lingering leadership role. Her successors may not always retain that position as it is entirely at the discretion of all Commonwealth countries who they choose as their leader.

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    4. Anon 21:58: regarding the queen and racism - I am thinking of the scene in "The Crown" where Queen Elizabeth dances with the leader of an African country, to the great dismay of some of her entourage. Was that event taken from history? I believe she was on tour in Africa at the time and not safe within the walls of Buckingham Palace. I think racism offends HM's sense of fairness.
      Nobody in the greater royal family hastened to defend Kate or her family members against some really nasty attacks. It may have involved social and cultural roots rather than biological roots but it is still devastating to the victims. Children can no more control their parentage and the class one is born to than they can control their race. Actually, POC ease themselves into the world of "the racially privileged" and others attempt to enter the world of the upwardly mobile. Sometimes it is merely a matter of changes to physical appearance in order to gain social or employment advantage .Sometimes it is a matter of attending the right schools and meeting the right peopke.
      I believe to be credible in one's fight to end racism one must first acknowledge and accept one's heritage in fact as well as in words. The desire to negate one's biological or cultural heritage runs at cross-purposes to the the desire to fight discrimination .It sometimes leads to desperate measures to attain
      leverage in the desired world. We have recently seen parents going to prison for attempts to gain a desired status for their children.

      Perhaps the queen has learned that one must look at the larger picture and must choose one's battles to remain effective. I think one way she counters racism on a universal rather than an individual basis is through her love and support of the Commonwealth. The Queen's Trust. The youth program. What was her choice of the Sussex's other than a action louder than words? I think she must have been deeply disappointed to lose them.
      Instead of saying, "Be nice to Harry and Meghan," she speaks in her Christmas and other messages of being kinder and more accepting of differences. She may be Harry's granny but she is everyone's queen.

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    5. Thank you Anon 02:59, you have stated much better what I was attempting to explain. While I have not seen "The Crown", it think your comment "I think racism offends HM's sense of fairness", best describes what I believe to be true about the Queen. I completely agree with your comments and especially the last paragraph. The Queen's life has been devoted to service to the Commonwealth and I believe her actions and messages are taken with regard to the 'big picture', but not without some personal pain and heartache. Your last statement is telling....'but she is everyone's queen'.

      The world is at a crossroads and your third paragraph makes excellent points. In order for there to be meaningful dialogue you are right, 'one must first acknowledge and accept one's heritage in fact as well as in words' (a hard balance and perspective to achieve especially when generalized perspectives are presented). The defense mechanisms that are projected on either side such as argumentativeness and silence (which are both misinterpreted) prevent any meaningful cross-racial dialogue......we need to engage more constructively. Thank you for such a thoughtful, balanced comment.

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    6. Anon 21:58- I appreciate your taking the time to understand the meaning of my comment and kindly relaying your thoughts to me. I do put a lot of thought into my remarks but in the end, it just flows and at times erupts, volcano-like.. No rewrites. Sometimes my feelings get in the way of clear exp!a nation. Your comment did inspire me to respond.
      I should add that the racially privileged also have a heritage that must be fully contemplated before any real understanding can be achieved. The British did not invent racial subjugation. It is not a burden exclusive to the monarchy. Using a history of domination and discrimination as an excuse to topple the monarchy is faulty reasoning; otherwise, one would need to do away with nearly every political and cultural system on Earth. Anon 02:59
      PS The Crown has its moments. You might enjoy it.

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    7. Anon 02:59, again, you have stated more clearly, in fewer words :), one of the points I was trying to make, which is racism is not exclusive to the British or the monarchy. What government, or what country is without racism or cultural 'pecking orders'? Privilege exists in all cultures and while there are unquestionably 'racially privileged', privilege does not necessarily equate to racism in all cases and instances. I am reminded of a George Orwell comment in '1984', 'The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.' We have so much to understand and learn from and about each other, while we can't deny the past, we can learn to define the future.

      I enjoy Charlottes blogs, and even with controversial topics, I always look to try to understand how others express themselves, and expand my thinking. Your manner of writing explained it so well, and carried such a respectful tone, it resonated with me. I try to learn from others, and while I agree with your comments, even when I don't agree with others, I try to be open to learning.

      PS. I will take your advice on watching 'The Crown', I could use some moments:)!!

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    8. I honestly have no idea what is being discussed here relative to heritage. People are suffering abuse and outright murder because of their race. That is what has triggered this moment. The fact that the queen once danced with a Ghanaian leader is an almost patronizing example to offer as an example of her progressiveness on this topic. Class issues are not the same. People are dying in 2020, in modern times, because of their race. Why should they also discuss their heritage or address their “argumentative ness” as you say. The same is absolutely not true with regards to class mobility. It’s almost offensive to draw the comparison to the already well off middletons facing some teasing as Kate became a public figure.

      I don’t know if maybe I am not understanding you but these comments read as mental gymnastics to me. Societies around the world are at an epic decision point about race, inequality, abuse, and violence. The royal family has implicitly benefited from systems that uphold those structures, and the fact that they have said nothing during these past few weeks speakers louder than any 50 year old photo op with a black president ever could.

      Martine has laid out an excellent strategy in these comments, and if the BRF wishes to remain relevant and in a leadership role of the UK and the commonwealth they would do well to consider progressive guidance around these issues.

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    9. I actually got chills when I read your George Orwell quote. During my social worker years I tried to help two Native American sisters who had been up-rooted from their families and placed in a boarding school. The purpose of Indian boarding schools was to obliterate their culture. I think it was called something else but that was the desired end point. They were not allowed to speak their native language, wear native clothing, or participate in native activities. This was meant for "their own good." One of the girls was able to leave when she became seriously ill; a condition that was later diagnosed as hysterical paralysis.
      There are some in the BLM movement who proudly identify with their race in ways other than words. Then there are those who felt it necessary to look like the racially privileged and try to blend in. It requires denying their heritage and who they are. They have done to themselves what the government did to Native American children. I can only imagine the anger and frustration.
      The heritage of the racially privileged includes slave- owning, among other atrocities. We have to own it, experience it, and mourn it before we can even begin to understand what POC and other minorities and degraded persons endure. There has been a rush to view certain films, read certain books. This can be useful but it is also intellectualizing a process that must be experienced on a feeling level.

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  37. I watched a virtual graduation called Dear Class of 2020 on YouTube on Sunday. Michelle Obama and Beyoncé both had very powerful and inspiring addresses for the graduates. Although Meghan’s speech made a few days earlier was about a half or a third of the length of these two speeches, I think it was equally powerful and contained the key ideas found in all three speeches. They were all brilliant. Alicia Keyes also had touching words at the beginning of the program, and all these women clearly spoke from the heart. Beyoncé’s words about her own journey were particularly inspiring. I don’t think it would be a bad thing, if the British want to be the leader of the Commonwealth, if they made it known that they support the idea of people fighting for human rights and equality denied them by the scourge of racism. To be silent is really being ignoble, in my mind. I don’t think that a moral obligation should be brushed off because it’s considered “political.” Where is the humanity? I hope they find a path.

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    1. I´d add Lady Gaga. Her allegory with growing new forest was very nice and easily imaginable. Also very similar to Meghan´s "rebuild rebuild and rebuild".

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  38. Annette New Zealand9 June 2020 at 09:38

    All the people claiming that the British royal family is racist and that they have no right to be leading the Commonwealth are forgetting that Commonwealth countries are sovereign and independent and the present member countries have freely chosen to be part of the Commonwealth and have also chosen to have the Queen as their leader. Just a couple of years ago at a Commonwealth leaders' meeting they all confirmed that the Prince of Wales will be the next leader of the Commonwealth. This choice was supported by the Commonwealth republics as well as the realms which are still monarchies and have the present Queen as their Head of State. Most Commonwealth citizens are not white and not all share British ways of thinking. The example of Ireland shows that any country can leave and Burma and Cypress for example have not joined. The other point is that it no longer the "British" Commonwealth and each country is free to decide its own policies. For example Canada and New Zealand did not support the Invasion of Iraq although the UK was allied with USA on that occasion. All the Commonwealth countries are considered to be equal regardless of their size and population and Britain is no longer the leader and has no more authority than any other country. The British PM is co equal with other Prime Ministers. I am somewhat bemused to read that some US followers of this blog think that the Commonwealth should get rid of its Royal Family although the United States is not a Commonwealth member. Do you also think that Norway, Sweden, Denmark, The Netherlands etc should also do the same? Personally I believe that each country has the sovereign right to choose its own form of Government. I note we mostly refrain from commenting about the US political system here as we accept that some might be upset if we did that.

    As for racism, unfortunately it persists everywhere and all we can do is highlight the worst examples and fight against it each in our own country. In every country we can point to examples where we have fallen down in this regard. My own wider family is bi-racial. We must try harder to eliminate injustice.

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    1. 'We must try harder to eliminate injustice'....very well said Annette NZ.

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    2. Zora from Prague11 June 2020 at 22:04

      Thank you, Annette!

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    3. Interesting comment, Annette. You and your countrymen can be proud of your PM and her leadership, especially during the current pandemic.

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  39. Some of you are taking a very literal view of many of our critiques of the royal family. No one is saying person A in the royal family is racist. or The Queen is racist. (though to be honest I have thoughts about Prince Philip and Princess Michael and comments and actions they have both made in public). It's far more complex than that. It's also far bigger than Meghan's experience, though she is in the unique position of being the only woman of color in modern times to have joined the family. The royal family in itself would not exist without a colonial and economic history necessarily rooted in racism and oppression. That's just the historical reality and context to the institution. And this is never addressed. I suspect usually because addressing matters of this nature are "not the ways things are done" or "keep calm and carry on" or "tradition". I have said on this blog many times the Royal family's sense of tradition is both it's strength and it's curse. I do believe we are at a tipping point around the world on race, inequality, misogyny, etc. And the royal family finds themselves at a crossroads. Whether by choice or not, many of their traditions implicitly uphold these societal ills.
    If they say and do nothing I believe they will be on the side that will eventually lose this "conflict." Their own subjects, both within the UK and around the commonwealth make up a diverse world population and will eventually leave the commonwealth or demand more appropriate leadership.

    I certainly feel they have made some steps. Changing the order of succession to account for Prince George possibly being a girl. However it still felt as though this was late and forced. They could be true leaders and representatives of their people, and despite having followed and enjoyed the family for years, I am not sure their trajectory is the same as the people's anymore. And to be clear I think the forces at play are much larger than an individual person. It's not as simple as the Queen being racist or not. For the record I do not believe she is. But she has benefited, perhaps more than any human on earth, from a system that favors a wealthy white birthright. And people all around the world are pushing back against those models.

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  40. There is nothing in the 2018 Commonwealth charter that requires the head be British or royal.

    It’s why the Queen lobbied hard to get Charles to be the third head of the Commonwealth after herself and her father. The Commonwealth isn’t a body that wields much power globally (if a nation is rich and powerful already, it remains even more so within the Commonwealth). For the 2.5 B people in the Commonwealth, most don’t know or care what it is. The Commonwealth has a very small budget of $40 million for development and technical assistance vs. the EU $100 billions for example. And trade, while emphasized, has been more about individual nation seeking benefits and access than acting as a large trading body like the EU or other large trade treaty groups.

    The groups that need the Commonwealth the most is the BRF and the UK. The BRF needs its status which means it has to be the head of it. The UK needs it for trade, tax havens and post brexit plans. You can read more here at Council of Foreign Relations.

    https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/commonwealth-nations-brexit-and-future-global-britain

    Btw, two of the core principles of the charter are democracy and human rights. Unfortunately, attempts to democratize it got scuttled. The Queen sent senior officials around the world to lobby Commonwealth leaders to make Charles head. She prevailed after heavily lobbying. When it matters, she shows her steel.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-43040240

    Having a leader of a different nation be the head isn’t a rejection of the BRF. It’s actually living up to the core Commonwealth principles. It’ll show leadership in action and real confidence by the BRF to step aside. It can be a revolving head for X number of years, etc.

    This is also about modernizing and making the Commonwealth more relevant in a very diverse and global community.
    - Martine

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  41. I think many view the British royal family as the royal family of Britons, and there are many British people who haven’t started to think that POC can be British. I think there is a similar problem in the US and in Canada. If the royal family is rejected by the British then there will be no more royal family because they are the foundation. The Commonwealth is a wonderful idea, but the circumstances of its founding makes it difficult to shake the “colonialism” that clings to it. This is a great discussion, btw. Thanks for facilitating this, Charlotte.

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  42. I have read the comments on this blog with great interest, especially Martine's ideas for reforming the Commonwealth. Do you think that Meghan and Harry would support the Queen stepping down in favour of an elected non royal non British person as Leader of the Commonwealth?
    If this happened it would demote them as well as all the royal family including themselves. It also would make a nonsense of their continuing to use their royal titles and saying they support Harry's grandmother in her role as Monarch and head of the Commonwealth. Perhaps they will eventually realise that to be true American democrats they can't be a Duke or Duchess. However instead they will have all the benefits of living in USA and the freedom to say whatever they wish unhampered by royal protocol.

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    1. Lol. I see where you went, anon @09:04 , to M&H as “true American democrats” vs. duke and duchess. Nice throw. Harry isn’t an American. If they or the monarch decide to drop the honorary dukedom title, as far as I’m concerned, it wouldn’t change my opinion that the BRF needs to reconcile publicly with their complicated history- the good and the bad legacies. This isn’t about them or the drama found in the tabloids, entertainment magazines and lifestyle columns.

      There’s risk and freedom by not staying mummified or hemmed in by walking (literally) in the same foot steps of QE2 and even Diana on these global tours. This is important because times change as the world faces new challenges and circumstances which require the BRF, just like the rest of us, to bend and adapt. Sure it takes chutzpah and all that privilege, wealth, governmental institutions to support the BRF to step forward with meaningful actions (not platitudes and symbolic gestures), but it’s a step forward, not backward or left behind buried deep under traditions. Letting others be the head or taking turns isn’t a demotion for the BRF. It’s a sign of maturity and good leadership (that’s part of my definition of good leaders. You don’t have to be the ‘boss’ or be given a title. Good leaders know when to step aside. You can also have many good leaders in a strong cooperative organization which is an advantage BTW.)

      BTW, I don’t take credit about the Commonwealth head suggestion. This has been in the talks among commonwealth nations- the Caribbean islands, the Pacific islands, and Africa for a bit now. But you have to read the local papers, listen to the people from these places and their complicated history to hear it.

      Of the 2.4 B people in the Commonwealth, half are from India. Many of these nations are poor and very small, some with populations in the tens of thousands. There have been many papers published, including ones by the Commonwealth office and the Uk govn’t itself about the use of the organization to buffer and as a hopeful economic trading alternative to the EU post-Brexit. A lot of that is from the British position and views (unsurprisingly) . Some interesting insights: many of these smaller, often poorer, Commonwealth countries that traded with the UK benefited by having the pounds tied in with the euros. With the dive of the pounds post Brexit, the slowing of global trade even before covid and now Covid, these poorer countries are looking at serious economic catastrophes and social unrest. (Imagine how this global recession + pandemic are already upending lives in far wealthier and more powerful countries.)

      The bulk (75% of exports and 66% of imports) of UK trade with Commonwealth nations are with only 5 nations: India, Canada, Australia, Singapore and S. Africa. Reality is UK trade, in 2018for example, with the entire Commonwealth nations amounts to 8-9%, about the same as UK trade with Germany (exports) or the Netherlands (imports).

      I want the Commonwealth to succeed because it could be a platform for smaller and poorer countries to build an alliance and a power base. Currently, the bulk of power is with the U.K. and its smaller inner circle of Commonwealth nations. There’s a huge power brokering role here for the BRF. Why not take this baby step to reconcile the monarchy’s slavery and imperialism legacy by stepping aside and let other nations be the head and lead?

      It helps to learn outside what’s often taught in Anglophile history classes. This isn’t a “PC” version. It’s history as recorded by contemporaneous English historians and record books. Alongside, it’s good to read from the non-Anglo perspective and see how others might see the same history but with a different lens.

      https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cbp-8282/

      https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20200205-how-britain-is-facing-up-to-its-secret-slavery-history

      http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/the-british-monarchy-8217-s-involvement-in-slavery-the-british-monarchy-8217-s-involvement-in-slavery_128602?profile=1096

      -. Martine

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  43. Martine- your comments have been excellent on this whole post! Thank you!!!!

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  44. My foray into this blog was because I enjoyed Charlotte’s insightful, informative and beautiful writing. It was free of the tabloids OTT sensationalism. I find myself astonished that this mild interest became much more serious. A big part of that is due to the racist and sexist press coverage. The biased press coverage surprised me. I had no idea how much of the British press and where the majority of people get their news are from these tabloids. I was surprised at the easy acceptance by readers of such biased reporting and grew alarmed and the racist trolls and sheer meanness that thrived on these platforms. It’s a vicious cycle that provides a megaphone for hate.


    Even the BBC with the constant threat of funding cuts has become more entertainment lite and pro government than the BBC of old. (I used to listen to the BBC every evening by lantern in my tent at night for 30” to save batteries when I worked abroad in the 80’s and 90’s.) The Times now owned by Fox’s Murdoch reflects the pitfalls of media consolidation and why such press monoploy promotes biased news coverage. Dan Wootton, the EDITOR of the Murdoch’s Sun, is a great example. His tweets and his retweets reveal his stance on racism and undercut his ‘I am not a racist’ and ‘we must work to end racism’ while calling cultural censorship as dangerous but makes exception of his censorship and his biases.

    Evidences of double standards coverage when it comes to Meghan are plentiful. Here’s a good article detailing a few examples:

    https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/ellievhall/meghan-markle-kate-middleton-double-standards-royal

    The difference of Meghan’s coverage from other royals is noticeable —no matter how you slice it for its volume, its negativity, its extreme nit pickiness and DOUBLE STANDARDS content. (Double standards is a frequently used tool in racism and sexism. It’s why more black people are stopped and searched, pulled over, why they are hired, paid and promoted less, have less access to good housing, education and healthcare.) All the fault findings and negativity compressed in the span of 2.5 years. There’s consistency in the relentless attacks which created a platform for media trolls and racists to cultivate on.

    This is what I and many others mean by the harm of racist and biased reporting. It’s an example of how the real world status quo lives far apart from platitudes and symbolic gestures as media barons use sensationalism and cultural flashpoint to profit from and pursue their political agenda. It’s why inequality and injustice will continue. There are so many battles in this fight and rebuilding takes energy. For black and brown people, we can’t put it to bed because it follows us there. It’s everywhere and through our lives and our children’s and grandchildren’s lives and beyond.

    I wish people would understand why change needs to happen. This thing is far bigger than Meghan, Meghan vs. Kate, etc. As long as UK’s first family, the BRF, cannot or will not find ways to mitigate the double standards, to change and reconcile with its own legacy, it will be part of the problem and racism, inequality and injustice will continue to thrive.

    - Martine

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    1. I agree your comment 1000%
      Martine��������

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  45. Have read all the comments with interest. There has always been power. There have always been privileged and there has always been accident of birth. It takes more than one person to bring about peace. It takes all of us. - Rosa Parks Change will only come when all of us no matter what our accident of birth have a true friend who is in another group. Strongly forged friendships cross barriers of differences and generate lasting understanding and provide the best foundations for meaningful change. Social media posts and marches are ephemeral at best and lip service at worst, soon replaced by something else. We all need to change or make a difference not just Royals, politicians etc.

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  46. I am so grateful to you, Martine, for the education, insight and perspective you provide to us here. I always look forward to your comments.

    R

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  47. I also want to say that I appreciate the comments of many to this wonderful discussion. Thank you, Charlotte, for allowing this.

    R

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  48. Dear Martine, i really enjoy your very well articulated, heartfelt and thought trough statements. I feel too that time has come to have fresh voices speak for the Royal Family and comment on them. We wouldnt be on this blog if we had not a heart for the monarchy. So we all have a desire for the monarchy to evolve into the new times and i am afraid this is currently at risk.
    I feel there is too much selfassurance in some conservative circles. They do not really see the changing world with all Challenges and Chances for the monarchy. Meghan and Harry would have been a Chance. Now they will be a challenge. Diana was a Chance and After the divorce a Great Challenge. Her untimely Death Saved the BRF from further disturbances and Secured a lot of positive attention for the young Princes as well as the other remaining Royals. The Queen was highly disliked throughout the 80s and 90s. Now she is idealised in a way that is a bit strange too. I adore what she has a achieved as a Woman in a world which did not respect her for who she is but for beeing born as heiress to the Throne. I think she was always aware of being very cautious not to challenge the men around her to much. Now she could be more at ease and take a few risks. Actually more risks are needed to make the monarchy not obly a beautiful Museum which tells about history- which is certainly an important aspect of royalty- but also as a symbol of country and Commonwealth for the generations to come. An all white family with an unclear support for diversity- Williams quote to „be bored“ by racism was not helpful, will have huge credibility problems.
    In the past fourty years the monarchy was strongest when there was emotion and communication and it was weakest when it did say nothing at all.

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    1. The full quote of William has been shared several times here in response to comments such as yours. I highly suggest you check what he actually said instead of cropping the sentence.

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    2. I have been thinking along the same lines about the Queen as you, Kristins@@16:53. The Queen’s standing in the world garnered through her devotion to duty and longevity, and never having rocked the boat, would make any statement she had the iniisght to make very impactful. She could lead, instead of just being a symbol and always making sure she is not ahead of the nation. And regarding the Commonwealth, Harry and Meghan could do good work within the Commonwealth whether or not they specifically represented the Queen, with or without titles, and regardless of who is the head, since their goal is to do humanitarian work.

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  49. I can assure whoever wrote that Bazaar's article that that whole learning thing is just Harry. Meghan was raised by an African-American mother, we make sure our children know very early on what it means to be black in America. Even if we have mixed children who'll have the luxury of benefitting from their light-skin privilege we educate them starting from when they're toddlers, I have two mixed daughters who are 5 and 3 years old and one of which is as white-passing as Meghan (probably more given her light eyes and dark blond hair) but I make sure to talk to them about race regularly and prepare them for a society where anti-blackness is the norm and even though they'll experience it differently than I did (my youngest will most likely have Meghan's "fly on the wall" experience where her acquaintances will say racist stuff in front of her constantly and she'll have to have that awkward my-mom's-black moment) they're bound to experience it. I just wish white moms of mixed kids and of white kids educated their children on race from a young age too (for example it'd be great if white moms of white kids told their children about white privilege).

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  50. Dear Anon, 13th June, 19:12 I do not read everything on this blog. So I checked it up in a different source and you are right- It was completely out of its context. And I am relieved now because I was really hoping to see William support diversity and unity.

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    1. Anon here. Thank you for checking what he actually said. I’m sorry if my comment looked rude but it’s frustrating to read the same thing once and again when it’s so easy to find what he said and not what some people shared of what he said.

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Welcome to Mad About Meghan! We do so look forward to reading your thoughts. Constructive, fair debate is always encouraged. Hateful, derogatory terms and insults are not welcome here. This space focuses on Harry and Meghan, not any other member of the Royal family. It's not the place to discuss politics either. Thank you for reading, we look forward to your comments :)