Monday, 6 July 2020

The Sussexes Join Powerful QCT Conversation: "Know When to Lead and Know When to Listen"

Last Wednesday, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, in their roles as President and Vice-President of the Queen's Commonwealth Trust, joined a conversation with young leaders on equality, justice and fairness. In a twenty-minute video, the discussion focused on the roles of Commonwealth youth moving forward, and the incredible efforts they are currently supporting. During the discussion Meghan spoke about unconscious bias: "It’s not just in the big moments, it’s in the quiet moments where racism and unconscious bias lies and thrives. It makes it confusing for a lot of people to understand the role that they play in that, both passively and actively." Touching on her own experiences the Duchess continued: "Having had personal experience with it as well, in people's complacency they're complicit. That, I think, is the shift that we’re seeing...it’s not enough to just be a bystander and say well it wasn’t me...that is what I think has very much manifested in what you’re feeling from people’s outpouring surrounding the murder of George Floyd. It wasn’t that this wasn’t always happening, it’s that it’s come to a head at a time when people have just said "enough".


More from the QCT:

'In response to the growing Black Lives Matter movement, QCT has been running a weekly discussion with young people looking at various forms of injustice on the experiences of young people today. This is part of the Trust’s wider work on considering historic injustice, which started in late 2019. QCT exists to champion, fund and connect young leaders around the world; this work is being driven by young people in its network and is helping to inform the Trust’s future direction.
In the special session last week, QCT was joined by The Duke and Duchess alongside Chrisann Jarrett, QCT Trustee and co-founder and co-CEO of We Belong; Alicia Wallace, director of Equality Bahamas; Mike Omoniyi, founder and CEO of The Common Sense Network; and Abdullahi Alim who leads the World Economic Forum's Global Shapers network of emerging young leaders in Africa and the Middle East.'

Prince Harry sharing his views added: "We can’t deny or ignore the fact that all of us have been educated to see the world differently. However, once you start to realise that there is that bias there, then you need to acknowledge it, you need to do the work to become more aware...so that you can help stand up for something that is so wrong and should not be acceptable in our society today."


In their roles with the trust - which is by all accounts a fledgling organisation - Harry and Meghan have central roles in shaping their work and mission. Given the diversity across member nations, the prevalence of racism and inequality, it sends a powerful message to see the trust leading this discussion. Indeed, Harry acknowledged the Commonwealth's past: "When you look across the Commonwealth, there is no way that we can move forward unless we acknowledge the past...and guess what - everybody benefits." The Duchess added: "We're going to have to be a little uncomfortable right now, because it's only in pushing through that discomfort that we get to the other side of this and find the place where a high tide raises all ships. Equality does not put anyone on the back foot, it puts us all on the same footing - which is a fundamental human right."


The QCT continued:

'The conversation focused on why these issues matter for us all today, the opportunity to come together to make a difference and the role young people play in driving systemic change for the better.
The group talked about how vital the young people of the Commonwealth are in forging an exciting future. The Duchess of Sussex described the conversation as ‘energising’ and ‘inspiring’.
The Duke and Duchess shared their collective hope and optimism for a better future driven by young people and acknowledged the energy and commitment stemming from the rising generation of leaders.
The Duke observed: “You are the next generation of leadership which this world so desperately needs as it goes through this healing process.”

The QCT shared the following background on the other participants: "Chrisann Jarrett (UK) - Chrisann is a Trustee of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust and founder and co-CEO of youth-led charity We Belong. Born in Jamaica, Chrisann has lived in the UK since the age of 8; she founded the project Let Us Learn in 2014 to call for equal access to higher education for young migrants like herself in the UK, leading to a change in policy after a Supreme Court win. Since them, Chrisann has worked as Policy Advisor for Social Integration at the Greater London Authorities and through We Belong, advocates for barriers to equal and fair treatment of young migrants to be removed so they can contribute fully in society."


Mike Omoniyi (UK) - "Mike is Founder and CEO of The Common Sense Network (TCS Network), a UK based bi-partisan news network for and by millennials. TCS Network is dedicated to finding ‘common sense’ in an increasingly divided and polarised world. TCS shares stories from across the political spectrum, local stories, stories that hold power to account and uncover wrongdoing and stories that empower the forgotten and the unheard. In 2018, Mike was recognized by the Financial Times as one of the 100 most influential leaders in Tech in the UK. As well as founding several initiatives and organisations, Mike consults for various charities and organisations."


Abdullahi Alim (Australia)- "Abdullahi Alim leads the World Economic Forum’s network of emerging young leaders, formally known as the Global Shapers across Africa and the Middle East. He works with thousands of young changemakers at the front lines of tackling systemic injustices and reimagining a truly equitable post-covid world order. He is widely cited as a thought leader on the role of young people in systemic reform and his essays have been published by the likes of Foreign Policy, Forbes, CNBC and The Huffington Post. Abdullahi is a Queen’s Young Leader and was also the WA Young Australian of the Year."


Alicia Wallace (Bahamas) - "Alicia is a Black feminist, women's human rights defender, and writer dedicated to creating community-driven change. She is passionate about social justice with a focus on gender, race, and sexuality. She is a public educator and movement builder, working to increase civic participation and engage people in democracy-building, and sparking dialogue through commentary on political events and pop culture. Her recent projects include hurricane relief for people displaced by Hurricane Dorian and the Out Da Box challenge to the electoral system in the Bahamas. Alicia is the director of Equality Bahamas, writes a weekly column in The Tribune, and produces The Culture RUSH monthly newsletter. She prioritizes education and engagement, understanding them as the foundation of community, challenge, and change."


Meghan touched on the importance of "Know when to lead and know when to listen". Hannah Furness writes in the Telegraph:

'On the importance of also tackling racism on a "micro level, individually", the Duchess  said: "What have we done in our past that we put our hand up? I think this is a moment of reckoning, I think, where people go, 'you know what, I need to own that, maybe I didn't do the right thing there. I knew what I knew but how it's time to reset in a different way'."
A spokesman for the Sussexes said: "In response to the growing Black Lives Matter movement, The Queens Commonwealth Trust has been running a weekly discussion with young people looking at various forms of injustice on the experiences of young people today. "As President and Vice President, The Duke and Duchess felt it was important to be part of it."

There was a very sweet moment (at 17 minutes 30 seconds in the video) when Harry joked: "I'm aging guys. I'm 35 already." Meghan laughed and replied: "That's not aging!"


Toward the end of the conversation, Mike Omoniyi word's were particularly apt and summed up so eloquently how much the participation of the Duke and Duchess means: "I just want to say that humility that I spoke about being the impetus - I think you both demonstrated that so beautifully. I think this conversation even happening sends messages around that folks who have power are willing to listen. It means a lot and I thank you for that." Harry closed with the message that: "This change is needed and it’s coming!"

Before I hit publish, I was just scrolling through Twitter and noticed a great deal of "outrage" over Harry and Meghan's comments on the history of the Commonwealth. Without doubt, we must collectively acknowledge the mistakes of the past in order to create a better future. No, this is not an intended snub or dig in the direction of the Royal family. It's an important step in moving toward a more equal, fair path ahead and acknowledging injustices those in the Commonwealth have endured. Only two years ago, Prince Charles, in a landmark speech from Ghana, described Britain's involvement in the "abject horror" of the transatlantic slave trade as an "appalling atrocity" that left an "indelible stain" on the world. So, in short, no - Harry and Meghan have not shocked or disrespected the Queen. Steering the QCT in this direction is something they should both be commended for, in addition to their commitment to shaping its work to the needs of Commonwealth youth whilst projecting their voices.

Indeed Jack Royston revealed in a piece for Newsweek "Buckingham Palace knew about it so it's not a surprise or anything like that. The Queen's Commonwealth Trust was set up by Her Majesty as part of the relevance of giving young people an opportunity. Part of the work it's doing is looking at the history of the commonwealth. It's what they're there for and it's important for young people to look into it."

83 comments:

  1. Thank you, Charlotte, for the context and especially the words of Prince Charles who also steered the dialogue toward historical wrongs which continue to blight the present in horrific ways. None of the language used by Harry or Meghan is as strong as the factual "appalling atrocity" or "indelible stain" Prince Charles chose to address a mere two years ago.

    Though the haters still hate on this couple and throw the blame on Meghan, I appreciate the reasoned and substantiated comments you consistently bring to this forum. Bravo.

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    1. Beautifully put, Philly...I agree 100%. Thank you Charlotte as always!

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    2. These young leaders are, as I expected actually, just marvelous. So wonderful to watch something so realistic and hopeful.

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    3. I agree. The BRF has spoken out or acted in numerous occasions against racism and addressed the countries history. It’s foolish to believe Harry and Meghan are out of line here. I do keep tabs on the criticism section and I noticed that it is not solely Meghan anymore that gets the most flack. Yes, she is the face in the tabloids. Sadly, it’s always the women. Sexism seems stronger than ever. The comments though seem to dislike them equally.
      I will say, I would be much more comfortable if Harry would finally address is own racist bias and mistakes from the past before he lectures others. It doesn’t sit right with me. Owning your mistakes publicly is uncomfortable but isn’t that exactly the point?Explaining what he learned would set a great example.
      I love how the Commonwealth evolves from an imperial cage into a supporting network. It’s a sign of hope to watch how the past can be overcome and how old structures can be renewed and be used for the better.
      C.

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    4. C, I understand what you're saying about Harry. I recently realized the difference between being racist and anti-racism. I think we are always racist is some way, but the counter action is to be actively anti-racism. Perhaps Harry realizes that his life was racist but that he has purposefully sought to be anti-racist,

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    5. I think it's important to remember that Queen Victoria was very much against the slave trade & while she could not speak out actively about it as monarch, Prince Albert did & quite eloquently! He was very active in trying to root it out in the remaining colonies where it existed within the British Empire! So Charles & Harry are not the first to try to correct the wrongs of the past & to pursue change!

      Becca USA

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  2. Thank you Charlotte for you comment authentic and empathic.
    Harry & Meghan are the marvelous royal's ambassadors of the youth for Commonwealth.

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  3. Charlotte, a million times, thank you! We must all collectively look to a better today, tomorrow and future for ourselves, others and future generations to come.

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  4. this was great to see as a black woman so thrilled to see them speaking out like this

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  5. This is everything. Honestly I think we can all agree on the fact that it would've been unthinkable to imagine a conversation on these topics with royals actively participating before Meghan. This is progress. This is being on the right side of history. The hardcore traditional royals and royalists who want to act like the enslavement of Africans and the exploiting of "Commonwealth" countries that have a majority nonwhite population and were once called colonies of the British empire never happened are destined to drag this institution to its downfall. The only way the monarchy can survive is if people stop thinking about it as a whites-only racist institution and start thinking of it as an institution who's progressed and matured and now truly believes that all human beings are equal. But then again I have my doubts that could ever happen since the very existence of royals and royal titles contradict that. Either way, I think Meghan marrying in provided the royal family with the perfect opportunity to show the world they're now changed. Unfortunately they seemed to have thought that their work stopped with allowing Harry and Meghan to get married and be praised on the day of the wedding over how diverse and multicultural the ceremony was. No. What the royal family should've done is protecting the first-ever royal woman of color and calling out racism by right-wing British papers and by their most fervently traditional fans. Condemning it strongly, openly and vocally. Because if there's one thing where "never complain never explain" doesn't apply is racism.

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    1. Didn’t Charlotte just mention on her post that the RF WAS having this conversation before Meghan married into the family?

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    2. Remember too that the Queen apologised to the Irish people for past wrongs in spite of Earl Mountbatten and members of his family having been killed by the IRA. Such symbolic actions can have a great healing effect on all sides. Of course much more should be done, but it up to us all to do more, not just our leaders. Re racism the best way to deal with it in the Commonwealth is to publicise the past history of wrongdoing and find creative ways to move forward like the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa and the Waitangi Tribunal in New Zealand. For example we should be reminded that Britain took Hong Kong island as reparations during the reprehensible Opium War and they ruled the territory as an undemocratic colony for most of their tenure there. I understand Canada has investigated how aspects of indigenous custom can be incorporated into their legal system. That is another attempt to recognise that our Western legal systems can be used to redress the balance if we acknowledge the value of other ways of doing things.
      We definitely can and should do more at this time. The Black Lives Matter groups have many positive suggestions and should be listened to, not ignored or denigrated,

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    3. Anon July 6 23:54, Actually Queen Victoria & Prince Albert were very much involved in fighting the remnants of the Slave Trade, that still existed in the Colonies of The British Empire! Victoria could only do so much as monarch, but Albert was very active, spoke to & was very active in Abolitionist Groups & fought not only for change, but for empowering Black Lives throughout the Empire! As Harry mentioned, it's important to look to those who fought before & to learn about why they didn't fully achieve their goals, for insights into what might work better this time around!

      Becca USA

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    4. Wonderful & informative post "A Kiwi Fan"! :)

      Becca USA

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  6. Becca in Colorado7 July 2020 at 00:30

    The fact that people are still trashing Meghan just proves the point of how far we still have to go as a society. I’m proud of the work she and Harry do.

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    1. You are right. Many do not understand what political means. A discussion of public issues by a politician is automatically political. The same discussion by non-politicians is not political. If we do not maintain this distinction, then anything can be deem political For example, if I discuss the various treatment for prostrate cancer, then by that erroneous logic, it would be a political discussion rather than a private medical discussion.

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  7. I credit Prince Charles for making the comment in Ghana. The big tell will be as king, if he will address this matter in the U.K. and among the Commonwealth nations. I hope so. I realize these days things are very polarized. But if Britain is looking to establish stronger ties with the Commonwealth nations in lieu of Brexit, it needs to reconcile its difficult and awkward legacy. Sweeping it under the rug may seem the easier and safer route for the monarchy, but it’s not progress. It leaves the nation exposed to uncontrolled consequences when things boil over. In fact, such avoidance of tough and tricky matters does not bode well for any institution. It means the institution is weak and doesn’t have the confidence to lead and resolve difficult issues. If Charles starts the conversation as King, it would begin the much needed step toward reconciliation.

    As for the conservative Tory MP who criticized Harry (in particular) and Meghan for being political, his criticism was done politically. It’s an easy nod to his conservative base.The MP is a die hard Thatcherite, anti LGBTQ, pro Brexit and member of a far right group that once opposed sanctions of then apartheid S. Africa. I think Harry’s marriage was the straw that broke that camel’s back. This MP is such an ardent monarchist, he’s due some kind of royal investiture.

    I commend Meghan and Harry for continuing their work here. They represent the U.K. well. (They could have been complimentary bookend to Kate and William, until William becomes king. Alas.... ) These two supported these young people by listening and by directing attention to their words and hopes. Many may see Meghan and Harry as taking risk by embracing less than popular and unsafe issues, but that’s what leaders do. It’s not enough to clap and say the right thing, it’s also doing the right thing, Don’t forget not doing something or ignoring things is also a political act. History is littered with injustices and abuse due to such purposeful acts of neglect.

    Finally, I must thank Charlotte for her willingness to delve into deep water with such grace and with in depth reporting. I admit I was emotionally tired after my many posts here discussing BLM, racism, the British Empire and its lingering legacy within the Commonwealth. I had to tune out and get recharged. For me, such matters aren’t academic but very real life occurrences. I am passionate because I want a better world for our children and it kills me a little how many steps back for every 1 step forward to right this world we share.

    If there ever was a dangerous time with this pandemic, it’s when with time, we get tired and let our guard down. So stay safe and mask up (there are many supportive studies now for mask usage that wearing one should not be considered a political act).

    - Martine

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    1. Sheryl from BC Canada7 July 2020 at 19:53

      Thank you, thank you, thank you Martine for chiming in....been missing your eloquent and on point comments. Thanking Charlotte again for continuing this blog where we can come and read such meaningful comments from around the world. :)

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    2. To borrow your theme- stirring up the dust can be as noxious as sweeping it under the rug. The ideal is to resolve going forward to sweep on a daily basis so that dust does not have a chance to pile up.
      There is no nation or people who have not stepped on others on the way up, Whether it is race or class or religion, discrimination against those who are different has always been the way with humans. Many altruistic leaders have attempted to teach tolerance, even acceptance, and hopefully some of the teaching stuck.

      This endless pointing of fingers has got to stop. It is non-productive. Shaming people rarely changes attitudes; in fact it often leads to more anger, resentment, and the entrenchment of the behavior. (we can see this effect within this mini-society called a blog) It is attitudes and deeply rooted feelings we must change before we will see lasting change in behavior. All the marches, rallies, and vehement speeches did not bring women the vote until a group of women starved themselves to call attention to their desparation. Rosa Parks said nothing but her quiet courage spoke for her. She literally put her life on the line. Sometimes silence is the loudest voice.
      Attempts to change behavior by law or shaming will not change feelings and attitudes. Behavior may change but sooner or later the feelings re-surface; more laws and shaming follow. It is an endless cycle.
      So what works? Equal opportunity laws in the workplace, university quotas, and school busing lead to resentment and anger as well as the use of subterfuge. Changing people's feelings and attitudes was traded for fast-tracking with laws forcing behavior change. Which in the end has caused pent up feelings to erupt in violence.
      None of what I have said is PC. I know that. But deep down, I think most people realize it is the truth.
      The protester protecting the policeman from the mob. The sheriff hugging a BLM demonstrater. That needs to become the norm and neither behavior was inspired by a law.

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    3. Very well said. Especially the last paragraph.

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    4. I would like to add that , in my opinion, a great leader does not choose to support a particular divisive issue. The purpose of an effective leader is to bring together, not divide. Once a leader espouses a cause it immediately divides that leader from those who do not espouse that cause. I am speaking now of a head of State, such as the Queen and to some extent, a president.
      Prince Charles will not become Prime minister. He will be head of State.
      I personally think that having the dual role of Head of the Commonwealth and Head of State may prove a bit tricky for him. The Queen has managed by not taking sides whenever possible and by seeing the long view in any action she does take.
      Equality and fairness...what's Not to like? How can those concepts be divisive? Well, obviously, they are -because there is disagreement over how they are to be achieved. The devil is in the details. And That is where the issues become political.

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    5. To anonymous @20:34, I think you’d be surprised what an unquiet person Rosa Parks was. Her purposeful action shouted and was the clarion call to action- to fight back. She picked a side. There was nothing silence or neutral about it. She was arrested, sentenced and fined for her crime. She lost her job and was harassed (think how scary that must have been— the local police weren’t there to protect people like her) until she and her family left Montgomery, AL. The bus boycott lasted a year and black people were harassed, assaulted and some of the civil rights leaders’ (E.D. Nixon and MLK) homes were firebombed. People should visit the Freedom Rides museum in Montgomery, AL and the National Museum of African American History and Culture in DC.

      There was no genteel sit down. Black men, women and children were chased down, hosed , beaten, and killed. Some by local law enforcement. Americans of other races and ethnicities also joined the cause. The time of waiting was over.

      Black Americans didn’t march and protest, were brutalized and lost their lives to change attitudes as a primary goal. They weren’t after giggles or shaming (I leave that to the tabloids). They wanted equal rights, equal access and opportunity that were denied. They wanted laws to safeguard their inalienable rights under the Constitution. That struggle has not ended until civil society gets it right. It’s why people of all races and creed are still marching today. (BTW, the women’s suffrage movement used the same tactics the unions did to get laws changed. They marched, disrupted, held political rallies, formed alliances, boycotted, etc. to fight to be heard and to get laws enacted. Today, women are still fighting for equal pay, access and better treatment.)

      Civil rights and self determination struggles are not peaceful. They have been marred by brutal violence, by intimidation, by war because by their very nature, these struggles are about throwing of the yoke of oppression and injustices. Those who have the power control the wealth. Slavery, colonialism, genocide, segregation, ruthless exploitation of groups of people made nations, companies and individuals wealthy indeed. To end such a state of affair isn’t going to be a genteel, polite garden party. Child labor laws didn’t end because rich industrialists saw the light. The same for laws that protect workers, consumers and the environment today. It takes institutional reforms alongside societal ones.

      Freedom, human rights and liberty are rarely given. They are hard won and easily lost if people become complacent and take things for granted. As citizens in a civil society, forever vigilance is our responsibility.

      Finally, here’s a good historical accounting of the phrase— political correctness. From its literal meaning to the transformation of its meaning from the 1930’s to the current usage as a form of derision and a blanketed ideological insult. I love learning how words and phrases evolve.

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/how-politically-correct-went-from-compliment-to-insult/2016/01/13/b1cf5918-b61a-11e5-a76a-0b5145e8679a_story.html

      - Martine

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    6. Thank you Martine you have far more patience than I. No one who is being oppressed has an obligation to be quiet or polite to be taken seriously by the oppressor. Protest is by its very nature loud and uncomfortable and should be. The American Civil Rights movement certainly has its moments of quiet symbolism but that was not the organization of it at all, nor were those moments the things that ultimately changed the tide. It was deliberately loud and disruptive. And yes in this case a leader does need to pick a side and that side is the marginalized and oppressed. People are dying. How commenters can easily spin themselves into mental gymnastics about making this a conversation about tone and unity is astounding to me.

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    7. Well stated Anon 20:34!!

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    8. Thank you Martine .Your comment is very instructive. I agree entirely.However ,I feel that Harry was unconfortable .

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  8. Just wanted to add that the Homeboys banana praline cake and Mexican cookies arrived -- they are amazing. Just delicious.

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  9. thank you Charlotte for keeping us apprised of the happening of our beloved Sussexes.

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  10. This is an important conversation to have and keep having. We have to be uncomfortable as the Duchess said and to be a true ally people have to be willing to listen and learn. That is the only way we can create a more equitable society. I truly love them and I am glad they keep pushing forward.

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  11. Thank you, Charlotte, for your wonderful coverage of this event, and for your response to some of the unfair criticism being directed at Meghan and Harry. I continue to admire them in their work. Thank you for your comment, Martine. As a white American, I appreciate the education your comments provide.

    R

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    1. The problem with celebrities and royalty siding with the poor and oppressed is that the only nonhypocritical way to do this is for them to share their wealth and privilege and live and work alongside those they are trying to help. Speaking out about poverty and the environment while wearing designer clothes and living in a gated community with servants just emphasizes how different they are from us ordinary mortals. Also remember the exclusion of monarchs from party politics and any real political power has taken place over hundreds of years as their subjects have struggled to bring them under democratic control. Today all democratic monarchies have achieved this and their so-called rulers are just figureheads who do as they are told. Expressing ones own political opinions in opposition to the elected government clashes with this principle. Prince Charles has had lots of flack for putting forward his own ideas and has had to agree that once he becomes King he will step back and do and say whatever the government of the day tells him to. Imagine the uproar if he then started writing his own speeches from the throne instead of simply reading the one provided by the political party in power. Constitutional monarchy would be shaken to its roots. Ruling families may superficially look powerful, but if they step out of line they enter dangerous territory. in the past they have faced the dangers of assassination, execution or at the very least deposition and their replacement with a republican President. Just look at the Russion and Greek royal families let alone the history of the British Royal Family. If the Mountbatten Windsors want to enter politics they must step down as the Habsburgs have done. Remember Charles the First was executed for opposing the will of his Parliament. Queen Victoria was threatened by several assassination attempts and the present Queen has not always been exempt from criticism. The Queen was tutored in constitutional law before she came to the throne and adheres rigidly to the rule.

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  12. Thank you Charlotte for this interesting insight in the work of QCT. I think the Queen herself is far beyond the conservatism many people use in her name. All this labelling of Harry’s or Meghans actions as „disrespectful to the queen or the monarchy“ appears to me to be a helpless phrase for people who have difficulties coping with the changing world.

    It is very important to find good approaches for this. Change is threatening for many and overwhelming. It was so important that Harry and Meghan both said that in the end we all benefit from change, equality and acknowledging each other’s sufferings. Stability and safety rooting in respect, kindness and the will to create together is a completely different quality than stability coming from righteousness and („imbalance )of power“ . Unfortunately this is what a lot of people have experienced in their lives, families and work places. Our emotional patterns often have an odd mixture of love and safety being mingled up with abuse of power and strength.

    Change is important for all of us because it puts us all in the right place. It is painful to acknowledge that people you love or admire have treated you or others wrong or taken advantage of you. It is painful to acknowledge that often we abandoned ourselves and followed the „strong“ lifepatterns instead of taking the risk to step up for the vulnerability in ourselves and others. I hope through all this we find the courage and determination to dive deeper and acknowledge the forces and feelings within ourselves and others to be really safe and clear and loving with everything we are.

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  13. I am African but currently not living in Africa. It is very easy to be swept up with gestures and symbols - a black dress, a mask, careful language and to critique those who are non compliant but nothing changes until our lives at grass root level changes. When each and everyone of us has a true friend of a different race and would be cool about one's child becoming involved with someone from another race then perhaps we will have reached the point were race is a non issue. And my comment is across all races and tribes not just the Narrower American situation. It is also easy to cause resentment with lecturing. Harry's involvement and achievements with Sentebele resonates with me far more than recent words. It is so obvious he truly likes the African people he has been involved with and that there is a strong bond. That is what matters to me as an African.

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    1. Libby, you put it very well. May I add that people need to be comfortable in marriage, too? And enjoy each other's differences as well as know your similarities.

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  14. thank you for the wonderful article Charlotte hmm i think there nothing wrong with black people i have friends like them there no option will be getting if we the black people are wrong and making you look bad in terms of harry and meghan all they do is right never been wrong

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  15. Well put, Meghan! I find her careful wording sharp enough to carry weight.

    However, she should have done this on her own. Yes, I understand Harry's role here, but somehow his background gets in the way of free and easy speech. He's trained not to be political, and so, sound fumbling, as if he's rethinking the words as they come out. He is royal born and bred - she is not, and therefore already is a successful campaigner. He has miles to go.

    The topic is more that simply important, but I feel that the Zoom setting is somehow wrong.

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  16. If some commenters here find the issue of equity and fairness too difficult, too political for the British monarchy too handle, then I suggest you apply to the Queen to rip up the Commonwealth Charter and rebuke the Queen and her family for their public speeches addressing these very issues.

    Why does equity matter? Or fairness? To me the case of Epstein and Andrew is a result of what happens when the monarchy developed a tin ear and an ostrich head in the sand tactic. The Epstein sex trafficking was about exploitation and power. And how the arrogance of privilege backed up by money and powerful connections allowed a Prince (and the large coterie of palace handlers) who should have known better to behave as he did. It took the broader #metoo movement to break this racket down. That the Palace and the government foreign affairs office now must try to protect a favorite son exposed what a sham this “neutral and above it all” stance really is. That’s what I mean by unintended consequences of looking the other way and taking no action. By doing so, it’s an implicit approval of such wrongdoings.

    I think this argument for neutrality can become a convenient arrangement. It provides cover when needed. It absolves tabloids and conservative press from their double standards and bias in news coverage - such as their relentless attack on Meghan and now Harry. The double standards allow them to praise other royals for speaking out on equity and fairness, on human trafficking, gender equality, racism, LGBTQ, the environment and so forth. But should an inconvenient mixed race American say or do much the same, it’s protocol breaking, hypocritical, POLITICAL and buttress their claim as to Meghan’s unsuitability. It becomes another “she’s not one of us”. It promotes lies, racism, sexism, and bullying.

    Which circles us back to why equity and fairness matter. If a woman doing the same work as a man, or even has more responsibilities and duties, more years of service in, is still paid less than a man, to object to such unfairness becomes a political act or worse to allow such unfair practice to continue, then it’s become a systemic problem. Much like stopping and searching more people of color for no particular reason. And then sometimes arresting them if they object. When there’s a law on the book when apply unevenly (or in some cases— absence of application) to certain subsets of people, it then becomes a useful tool of oppression and bias.

    Equity and fairness matter because that’s the law. It’s what liberal democracies around the world is all about. That’s the promise to the citizens. That we too can get a fair shake and fair treatment. To look the other way when there’s a miscarriage of justice or justice denied, is destroying the very foundation of Britain society and institutions.

    - Martine

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    1. One might say, Martine, that royalty in itself is far from equal and fair. It is certainly political. Modern royalty attempts to say as little as possible about issues that could be seen to be party political, but the institution itself can hardly be said to be modern or democratic.

      In a modern, equal world few women "support" their husbands and take the role as second fiddle in high heels and elegant fashion. Most of us, fortunately, desire and fight for equality.

      Equal pay IS a "systemic problem", in my opinion. I also believe that racism IS a systemic problem. The royals can never solve this, but they can address inequality, and should do so more often.

      Heidi

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    2. I find this comments about royal women taking the role of second fiddles in high heels terribly annoying. Would you say the same thing about Daniel from Sweden?

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    3. In contrast to the British system that the Royal Family should not involve itself in politics is the US one where their President has almost unlimited power to act on his own personal ideas. It is a moot point which best serves the public. Each has its problems.

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    4. Yes, 19:35, I would say the same of Daniel. However, men rarely have to fight for their equality, and so, ironically, they are seen as "modern" when they assume a more supportive role.

      There is a link to the BLM movement. What wouldn't change if the white majority of Europe lended their full support? Mind-blowing!

      Heidi

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  17. Martine - Thank you so much. Though I am white and American, I have wondered why speaking up for what is morally right is considered "political" and not acceptable for members of the royal family. The Queen was lauded for giving a speech encouraging the nation around corona virus. It seems to me it would be appropriate for her to speak up at this momentous time on racism and injustice. And it certainly seems right for Meghan and Harry to speak up about it.

    How is speaking up against racism and injustice a political rather than a moral act?

    The "Royal silence" can indeed be cover for many wrongs.

    R

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    1. Any major speech given by the Queen is actually written by or in consultation with the government of whichever Commonwealth country she is presently residing in. Not all of the Commonwealth Governments are progressive or enlightened unfortunately. It is up to each of us citizens to vote to ensure that matters improve.

      Delete
  18. Anon00:45 20:348 July 2020 at 23:38

    Although I usually enjoy your comments, Martine, I am at a loss as to how to respond to your current replies, as my remarks have been taken out of context and mis-construed. I got the feeling that instead of replying to my comment you had certain feelings and opinions you needed to express and used my comments as a jumping off point. Nothing wrong with that as long as the meaning in the original comment is not obscured.
    For example, I did not say equity and fairness do not matter-who would say that? I said the concepts become political and divisive with differing opinions on how to achieve them. The concepts themselves are clearly not political, at least not in a democracy, as you point out.
    Also, I specifically noted the differing roles of Head of State, PM, and Head of CW. Certainly, as CW head HM has a different role and goals from that of monarch.
    In your earlier comment, I found little to disagree with since it basically supported my premise that there is a cycle of suppression, reaction, and attempts to remedy. The fact that you speak of events that happened during the 1960's-70's, many years ago, and we are still experiencing periodic explosions illustrates my point. The remedy of the 60's was the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It may surprise you that women were expressly given rights to protection under the Constitution within that law. "All MEN are endowed by their Creator" has been taken literally. Yet, the ERA still remains unratified. Thus the TimesUp movement in recent times; again, a remedy to a precipitating event and the response; however, the issues have been on-going.

    There was an interesting program on American PBS last night. I was amazed to learn that, after Congress passed the Nineteenth Amendment, the road to ratification-a contentious one, culminated with the final vote needed resting on the vote of the Tennessee legislature. Two votes were lacking for the legislature to approve the amendment. Do you know what changed the mind of a 24 year old die-hard holdout? Not all the speeches and demonstrations: his mother wrote him a letter and as an aside told him to vote for ratification. Which he did.

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    1. Humanitarian, equal rights, and fairness are not innately political. In other words when the public discus these issues outside the auspices of politics and political party they are what they are, not political. Discussion become political when politicians are debating them within governing institutions that can make laws and fund activities to address them.

      become political

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  19. If the British tabloid media criticizes Harry’s remark, “we can’t go forward without acknowledging the past” is something they can pick on, it is the same group of media the couple officially distanced themselves from. Some are even talking on behalf of the queen as if she had given them her opinion.
    It is also others including a member of parliament who are picking on his remark. Over all, people also need to realize Prince Harry’s experience is not only shaped by his mother, his many years of direct volunteerism in Africa, now teamed with Meghan, he also happens to be a father of a child who is of mixed race. As his life is evolving and changes independently, the older generation seems to be sensitive and defensive to his comment in this video. Is there not a purpose in teaching and learning history in schools? except of course at times it is rewritten and distorted by the winners unfortunately. There is some truth in the saying, “those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it” Yes. it is uncomfortable to revisit some truth in history, but acknowledging it, discuss and impart opinion helps bring changes; truth hurts at times. I have had this insight these past two years, that Harry will not necessarily harm his BRF, and in fact eventually will help them to be seen in a better light at some point.

    This is an impressive group of young people. H&M are in the right company at the right time and vice versa.

    Charlotte as usual, you are the gold standard amid the confusion.

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  20. Denise in Virginia9 July 2020 at 02:32

    Thank you, Charlotte for another excellent post, and thank you so much
    for continuing this blog. Martine, I cant tell you how much I always enjoy reading your comments, they are thoughtful and insightful, and I always feel like I learn so much from them. I guess I just think if we can all really listen to what others have to say and respect everyone's viewpoints maybe things will get better. Anyway, thanks to all who comment, and thanks always to Charlotte.

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  21. I think Libby’s suggestion of getting to know different people and bring them into your circle and listen to them is an important first step. Changes must be made on the institutional and societal fronts as well as the personal. On the personal front, my extended family crosses borders and color lines. There are some members who prefer not to acknowledge that as they are uncomfortable and their spouses refuse to accept such transgression. What is more important to me is how our children and grandchildren interact with one another—freely and easily as family and friends.

    I know I speak forcefully on these subjects because these matters affect me personally. When you are called in to defend and protect your loved one who was wrongfully accused based on nothing but a presumption of guilt and a lot of bias, it’s a frightening thing to stumble your way blind around a hostile law enforcement and judicial system. You don’t get an apology. You get a lifetime legacy of fear. Yet you are grateful because at least your loved one is alive and free.

    I think the other important thing is to learn more about people and groups of people who aren’t often profiled in civic history. While it’s easy to make fun of and deride women’s studies and ethnic/religious studies, you should ask what’s lacking in regular studies? It’s about erasure. It’s about leaving out. That matters. If you don’t know how other non-white races and indigenous population and immigrants (ironically in N. America, Australia and NZ, most people are descendants of white immigrants) formed and contributed to the very social fabric of your own nation, you miss out on why they matter. Such people who achieved prominence within their respective profession often aren’t widely known because their stories are frequently left out of our studies. These people are also the anonymous, everyday store keepers, job creators, soldiers, scientists, caregivers, teachers, lawyers, builders and more. Ask yourself why mass media frame people a certain way, who they leave out and why stereotypes are used. (Think about that when you consider the double standards used to attack Meghan and the framework and the resulting narrative and propaganda about the royals at play here.)

    Look civil society is messy. It’s often hard to get it right the first or tenth time. That is why change is important and institutions, just like people need to constantly reevaluate, adapt and make changes to right wrongs and do better.

    I think it’s important to change the narrative. People of color, indigenous groups, LGBTQ, and women are more than people belonging to persecuted and exploited groups. Despite such legacy, we strive, we achieve and we contribute. We make a difference and make our communities stronger. We too are society.

    - Martine

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    1. Bravo Martine .
      Your comment is inspiring and poignant.he requiere rethinking

      Delete
  22. Excellent points, Martine, about the "little man, common man, or forgotten man," all terms that have been used to describe the " unsung heroes" in literature. Unfortunately, words don't pay the rent. Idealizing a group is not helpful; when the individual does not fit the mould, he is rejected. ( The American Indian image of the brave warrior; the POC who knows his place- stereotypes.)
    My people include both an indigenous member and LGBTQ members. Sometimes the hardest part of the day has been watching a loved one walk out the door, wondering if that person will return home in one piece or return at all.

    One thing to remember about anonymous groups such as this-we don't really know what surrounds a commenter on a daily basis. I try to be respectful and hopefully kind, aware that the person I am responding to could be taking a few minutes away from a truly awful life.
    The fact is- we imagine we know but really don't what lives the royals live in the privacy of their own homes. It wouldn't hurt to be kind to them as well. Anon20:34

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    1. @anon20:34, I hear you. I think most blog commenters here (from the many written acknowledgements) appreciate the safe setting Charlotte provides here.

      I suspect our goals do intersect. I differ from you (in your original posting) in that I believe laws AND the equal enforcement of laws are important part of systemic change. We also have arcane laws and bad laws that need to go. That’s why change is continuous and necessary to build a better and more just society.

      Changing hearts and mind OTOH is a different matter. I want that of course. However, without the enforcing arm of the law, sadly people and institutions won’t make the necessary changes. Profits and economics are at play here. By codifying discrimination, people in power gain cheap labor, get away with abuses, and build their wealth. We see this constant tension and battle to roll back laws and regulations all the time. And even with advances, people must be vigilant because it’s easy to lose gained grounds which is why we are here today.

      The good thing is I believe we are moving forward despite serial setbacks. Young people intermingle and are more free with one another. Perhaps that’s the gift of youth ;) They are more comfortable and open to experiences, to diversity and to tackling environmental and social justice causes. I see this process as a building block. You normalize things that were taboo or against the law in the past (i.e. laws codifying segregation and discrimination, laws banning interracial and gay relationships).

      The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery fanned the smoldering fire globally. I don’t kid myself- and I think many others who have huge stakes in reforms do either- in thinking that corporations boycotting FB for example will mean the work is done and all’s well. Nope. Not by a long shot. And yet, for now the pressure is on big corporations (money talks) and institutions to make changes and while some changes might be more surface than deep, there’s an acknowledgement that there’s a lot of wrong here that needs fixing.

      It’s up to the people to stay attuned, not get complacent and to hold civic, political and business leaders accountable. I see it as a necessary check and balance in a healthy liberal democracy.

      I believe civil rights are basic human rights and discussing these things and advocating for them aren’t political acts.....and shouldn’t be in liberal democracies like the U.K. and America.

      - Martine

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  23. So well-written and expressed, Martine!
    I have again expanded on your comments and added my thoughts.
    As I have stated: the concept of civil rights is not political; few would disagree that civil rights are human rights. We can discuss it all we want but when it comes to taking sides,making laws, and finding solutions, it then becomes political and there the consensus ends. Opinions vary, sides are taken. Leaders, heads State can certainly make broad statements such as"We all deserve our human rights; we must be tolerant of others and their beliefs. " In fact, the Queen has made such statements, rather pointedly ,in her Christmas speeches- which she writes hetself. She herself likely will not tell a tabloid by name that it must stop printing certain remarks and risk becoming involved in an issue that could lead to a lawsuit and the taking of sides. Once remarks are published, individuals are free to seek their day in court. I assume certain pressures can be brought, such as the withholding or awarding of exclusives; however, this will not be done publicly. We will probably never know the extent to which the RF exerts its influence behind the scenes. I do suspect that royal influence does not exert the clout that it once did, even as recently as mid Twentieth Century.

    Perhaps I was not clear; I also maintain that laws are necessary. I cited the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The point I had hoped to make was that laws can be made but enforcing them is sometimes the weak link in the chain of justice. That is where every individual counts; we can't expect law enforcement to bear the entire responsibility. And, as you point out, there are bad laws (and also had cops.)
    One example of a sort of civil disobedience has evolved from the pandemic. I have read of many individuals and businesses and now school districts that say their local infection control edicts are not enough and choose to follow stricter guidelines. Can this be done with equality issues?

    My intent has been to point out that the buck stops with the individual and decisions made in the moment. The individual is often motivated by feelings, memories, and beliefs beyond the power and money that often mould decisions on the law-making level. (The Tennessee legislator as well as the abusive policeman) We need to stop expecting laws and law-enforcement to do the job. Until by-standers say, " You are not enforcing the law; you are acting as an individual, " and then stop the abuse right then and there, instead of merely capturing it as an upload to an internet account. We hear almost daily of stories telling of someone risking his life to pull a victim from a car wreck or running into a burning house to rescue a neighbor, stopping to assist an injured person. Where are Good Samaritan laws when it comes to rescuing the abused, even if the abuser is wearing a uniform?

    Anti-discrimination laws open the door; being allowed in and welcomed don't necessarily follow. That's where the individual counts.

    Honestly, I don't know for sure what I would do if directly confronted with the abuse of a stranger. If it was being done by someone holding a weapon, I might hesitate. It all comes down to the moment - where I am with my own feelings and strength. I doubt I would be asking myself what the law is, however.

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    1. These days the Good Samaritans are witnesses who take video images of unjust crimes / abuse by enforcers of the law. Many police violations would have been kept under the rug or reported as lies by the police force. In America, many people generally do not get involved in the middle of witnessing fights, accidents, injustice, or unfair traumas. They may watch, but mostly do nothing about it until ambulance or police arrives and take care of it. I have witnessed it as the norm. Someone may call the ambulance or the police, and that is about it. Everyone goes about their daily lives; involvement brings being drugged into court, losing privacy, facing revenge, and distraction to their own lives. I realized a witness has a right to his/her own life, and not be involved in a stranger/s affairs w/o even knowing the cause of the incident. Once again, long live cell phones and those champions who take video images of unjust treatments.

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    2. Charlotte, in due course, it is good to see "Meghan's Calendar" posted as your future post.
      It is making it even more worthwhile that you did not close the MAM blog when the H&M discontinued as senior working members of BRF.

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  24. I'm American but a child of British parents. So many people in their comments have not taken the time to understand the difference between the British Empire and the Commonwealth. The Empire was conquests of Britain over several centuries. The Commonwealth come about after the Empire was dissolved and countries VOLUNTARILY joined the Commonwealth. There are 54 countries that chose to join and they do so knowing there are numerous benefits to belonging to a Commonwealth of Nations. It is one of the Queen's greatest achievements, to promote and champion this concept. The Commonwealth was originally created as the British Commonwealth of Nations through the Balfour Declaration at the 1926 Imperial Conference, and formalized by the United Kingdom through the Statute of Westminster in 1931. The current Commonwealth of Nations was formally constituted by the London Declaration in 1949, which modernized the community and established the member states as "free and equal" Member states have no legal obligations to one another, but are connected through their use of the English language and historical ties. Their stated shared values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law are enshrined in the Commonwealth Charter and promoted by the quadrennial Commonwealth Games.

    You only need to look at various photos of the Queen as she visited Commonwealth countries earlier in her reign. She embraces the nations of black people. Her smile and her interest show that she is not and never has been a racist.

    For Harry to trash a big part of the Queen's life work, is unkind, disrespectful and wrong. It was Harry and Meghan's request to leave the Royal Family. I find it disgraceful that they are now bitter and taking pot shots at the family, the traditions and the UK, at this time. They are trying to elevate themselves by putting Harry's family and history down. If H&M want to contribute to this cause and others, they need to find solutions. Anyone can identify problems and anyone can speak against those who have come before. It is only when I see that H&M are doing the work needed, that I will hold them in esteem and respect.

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    1. British Empire and the Commonwealth: Commonwealth is the outcome, gradual involvement, and aftermath of the British Empire. It has a long history of purpose post partial or full independence of member countries. Its history seems to reflect different generations. It may seem to progress with times, and it is larger than one government, leader, or trustee P&VP. The short video posted above gives you a capsule in reflection of the current generation of some of its member states.

      H&M are not perfect, but it can not be concluded that they “trashed” BRF and Britain. You want to see real trash? The DM which consistently is assured of its highest comments whenever it posts “stories” on Harry and Meghan, only to repeat previous stories immediately after the inviting headlines and its related first paragraph invites trash. They know there is a mean and trashing % of people who post as UK residents with untold and unjustified insults of the couple. Even in the middle of the world discussing “unconscious bias”, they tear up Meghan, and continue to demean PH because mostly from bigotry aimed at Meghan. If Meghan’s court case unveiled that she stated. “The institution did not protect her when she was attacked by British tabloids, and she could not defend herself”, this also echoes Diana’s complaint of “the men in grey suits”.

      The couple had been an open book as to what they want and where they stand in the choice and manner of service to UK. They asked to have a “progressive role within the institution while financially independent”. When that was not possible, they moved on without abandoning the trust they were charged with, as leaders of QCT, or many of their other commitments like Invictus Game, and their patronages in UK.

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    2. Thank you, Victoria, for your coherent, fact-based comment contrasting the British Empire with the British Commonwealth.
      I have tried, unsuccessfully I fear, to emphasise the differing roles HM undertakes as Head of Commonwealth and as Head of State. Unfortunately, Harry seems to have added to the confusion. I absolutely believe the pair have a pact to do good together. Perhaps the advice of experts in history and government could improve their appeals? They must realise that their words have a life beyond most social media commenters. The responsibility for accuracy is magnified.

      There was a time during the age of explorers and the expansion of nations that followed when it was a matter of take or be taken. Most of the European and Scandinavian nations had a fling at empire. Dutch East India Company? The Spanish conquests from California to Meso-America and beyond.The Vikings? Even the Swedes had their time of expansion in North America, as well as amongst the Scandinavian countries. They all expanded their reach, either by enlarging their borders or expanding trade and resource opportunities globally. And let's not forget the Western Expansion of the brand-new USA and the resulting abuses of the Native Americans.
      Looking at the situation from one viewpoint, it is amazing that a tiny island nation could grow into the British Empire. They just did it bigger and longer. I suppose that is why they have become the focus for oppression finger-pointing, with calls for abject apologies. They all demonstrated the worst of human nature. There is plenty of blame to go around.
      I agree, Victoria. Words are cheap (unless you can get on with a high end speechmaker's agency) Mine are probably worth about two cents.

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    3. Wow. Harry isn’t trashing anything. I’m sorry but this is a reach. And it is true that that the empire and the commonwealth are more inextricably linked than you make it sound. The BRF benefits immensely from a legacy of supremacy and occupation and colonization. Sure maybe individual members aren’t racist but the institution is implicitly tied to this legacy. In fact the British aristocracy in general is built on a foundation of class and legacy and supremacy. How many Black aristocrats can you name? They implicitly aren’t allowed access to that level of society. So I’m sorry in this current moment in 2020 people are going to ask critical questions about such an institution. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Harry implying issues with this problematic legacy. It certainly isn’t trashing. But acknowledging privilege and complicity in racist and classist institutions is an important part of breaking them down and moving forward.

      Delete
    4. Just to be clear, anon 22:40, you are advocating "breaking down" the British monarchy/aristocracy, which you label as a "racist and classist" institution?
      By the way, I can only name one Black member of the British aristocracy However:
      Historically, how many white (or black) Emperors or members of the Chinese elite have there been? How many white kings and queens of Hawaii? white or black Emperors or elite of Japan? Any non-Indian Maharaja? Who established the British monarchy and aristocracy? Why must the British monarchy be broken down but not the Spanish ( How about a German king of Spain?) There have been many immigrants to Spain; why not make one of them King of Spain? Japan has numerous residents from many countries and cultures, yet no African Emperor of Japan. How about a Spanish Emperor of Japan?
      I have extended your premise to a ridiculous point to illustrate the faulty reasoning in condemning the BRF and aristocracy for its lack of POC.

      The Windsors literally welcomed Meghan with open arms. They were ready for this, obviously. The Queen had had tea and the Corgis had sniffed their approval. There was Sandringham Christmas as a unmarried couple. The first train ride with the Queen. It seemed not a day passed in the run-up to the wedding without Meghan's being given an "unprecedented" activity or recognition . Later, there was the appointment as first President and Vice-president of HM's own Commonwealth Youth . The hand was extended. Many times.

      I have read your last sentence almost verbatim in multiple Republican forums.
      The use of rhetoric and labels often is used to disguise faulty reasoning.
      And what aristocracy in the world is Not " built on a foundation of class and legacy and supremacy? " Of course Aristocracy is not fair or just. Lots of stuff isn't fair or just. The aristocracy started simply as a means of rewarding landowners who contributed funds and/or soldiers to the king's battles. Sometimes a title was the only compensation. Nobody said, hey, let's get together and form an exclusive group and only accept white people.
      Personally, I think there should be a Jewish British monarch. Perhaps a Chinese.

      We do need to remember that Canadians, Australians, and others have repeatedly voted to keep Queen Elizabeth as Head of State. (Not to be confused with Head of Commonwealth.)

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    5. If people are going to get upset on behalf of the Queen, a couple of corrections are needed.

      Canadians have NOT voted on a referendum to keep the Queen or not. And if the monarchy is smart, it wouldn’t go looking for that mandate right now.

      Neither has New Zealand. The only 2 countries which had a referendum and the people voted were Oz and Tuvalu.

      https://globalnews.ca/news/3559289/how-canada-could-break-up-with-the-monarchy/

      It’s a big reason why the royals go on these global tours. The royals are keen to be unelected head of state of 16countries—most of them are tiny and with small population except for Australia and Canada). Majority of Commonwealth nations don’t have the Queen as their monarch. Some are republics and the Queen hasn’t lost her cool over it;)

      -Martine

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    6. Referendums generally come about when the status quo is challenged. Australia has a strong republican movement, thus the referendums. The lack of referendums could be taken to mean acceptance of the status quo--Queen Elizabeth as Head of State. However, when the generation that lived through WWII and it aftermath is gone, there may be changes. There is a certain nostalgia inherent but also a sense of safety, along with fear of change. Anon 03:10
      I assume" upset people" was a reference to me. I don't believe my comment was emotional. However, you have made personal references, beyond my remarks. It seems an attempt to demean my remarks. I have noticed personal references in other comments and I am frankly surprised that these remarks are not moderated.

      Delete
    7. You are right I am advocating breaking down racist and classist systems including the Aristocracy and the BRF. If that makes me a Republican so be it. I have struggled with my feelings about the royal family immensely in recent years.

      I actually find your premise of just because all aristocracies and classist structures are unfair so we should just accept it because lots of things are unfair the ridiculous statement here, not mine. Plenty of people feel that way. And I think you’re quite mistaken, they absolutely did form an exclusive group and only accepted white people. Read the historical laws around who was able to vote or own land or access and inherit wealth. The passing of those laws in is literally forming an exclusive group of white people and codifying it into existence.

      It’s becoming increasingly harder to justify with so much injustice and oppression In the world, that an obscenely wealthy family that has implicitly benefitted from such injustice and oppression also holds a prominent symbolic role and takes huge amounts of taxpayer money. People all over the world are questioning systems of power and the symbols that represent them, including monarchies. This isn’t a ridiculous notion it’s on the front page of mainstream papers every day. In societies with monarchies or not. I think the BRF could do a huge amount of progressive and charitable good, but until they reckon with their own complicity in and benefit of unjust and oppressive systems then I reserve the right to be critical. Martine in these comments threads has laid out excellent proactive steps I would love to see them take. But I fear tradition for tradition’s sake will win the day.

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    8. Anon 04:17- I did not call your statement ridiculous and I am sorry that is how you read it. I said my extension of your remarks to make a point was ridiculous. ( Black Emperor of Japan?) I would not resort to name-calling unless I am referring to myself. You were, I felt, expressing an honest and sincere opinion- to which I objected.
      I think perhaps you read my comment in a hurry and missed my points. On this forum there is also a possibility of a language barrier.I also cite the internet and social media, which has created forums that encourage hair-trigger responses without giving time for careful reading and reflection before responding. It seems fairly obvious to me which responses are knee-jerk and which are thought out. I have done this myself in the past, have later been sorry, and I am working hard to control impulsive responses. One thing that helps, I find, is not commenting immediately after reading a remark. I usually exit the forum and consider my response as I go about my day. Many people do not have time for this. It may be better to comment only when one has time to carefully read and reflect. Anon 03:10
      To clarify,I am not saying you read my comment hurridly; I am just offering that as a possible explanation.

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    9. I didn’t read your comment hurriedly. I just disagreed with a lot of it. But I do apologize if this is escalating. I do strongly feel that the BRF is just one of many examples of symbols and systems that represent very traditional views. Many people like and appreciate them for that but that very same tradition also has a legacy of oppression and inequality. And I do strongly believe this oppression and inequality is a conscious choice born from racism, and not quite as coincidental as you make it sound. Institutions choose to maintain their grip on power and this often means excluding others, due to race, sex, class etc. And that is hard for people to reconcile in the modern day and people are asking critical questions. I know I am and I see it happening more and more.

      Delete
  25. Harry & Meghan have changed royal's profile .
    Today , we can to touch the societal issue .
    It is changing to speak many Times of the clothes .

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  26. Hi Charlotte,

    look at this article. Is there a chance you include it in a post? :)

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  27. I think Harry's comments re the past history of Britain's relationship with members of the Commonwealth is timely, and acknowledges the truth of the past which is needed in order to move forward. It is an acknowledgement of fact, and in no way is a criticism of the Queen. The Commonwealth is made up of former British colonies and protectorates. The Commonwealth's relationship with Britain needs to evolve into truly cooperative group of countries held together by common values and common self-interest. Harry is acknowledging the truth of the past and current racism in the world- something that the world is currently asked to face. The monarchy should some time soon make it be known that it is on the side of equality for all races. Although the monarchy has a clear constitutional role to reign but not rule, it should perhaps at least stand for something. The Queen has worked greatly to expand and keep the Commonwealth together and everyone knows that. Harry is not putting down his family- he is doing his bit to make the world a more equal place for everyone.

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    1. I stay to persuade that the future will guive them reason.
      I agree with your comment.

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    2. It's always a pleasure for me , to see H& M.
      I'am in a hurry to follow" Girl UP Global leadership Summit "

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  28. Susan in Florida12 July 2020 at 17:50

    I think Harry is like many white people including myself, who are on the learning curve of how we were brought up to think of non-white persons. We didn’t have evil parents , they were also subject to how they were brought up. We are all learning that tons of history was not inclusive, and prejudice has existed as long so called “civilized nations” existed. Now we have a generation calling that out and demanding better of all people. It’s a new generation and new decade calling for a truthful accounting of the past. Calling for an examination of how we think. Calling for a much better future. There is no forward movement of thinking without reflection.

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    1. Excellent comment, Susan! A reminder that our children often do as we do and not as we say. I have no doubt Charles spoke to his children of equality; however, Charles continued to live as a royal,as his parents before him. Could be confusing for a child already left adrift somewhat by his Mum's death. Harry has said he just started dealing with his grief actively a few years ago. He likely began to examine other aspects of his childhood from an adult viewpoint.

      Reflection, yes. Rewriting hisory, no. Mob destruction, no.
      Unfortunately, I think your remarks got sort of lost amongst the rhetoric of other comments, though. well worth a second look. Anon 3:10

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  29. Martine, I was born, raised and lived 50 years in Canada. I'm now out of the country doing medical research, but will return to my homeland when the work is finished. I can honestly say that I have never heard anyone in Canada say "down with the monarchy." Some people are indifferent, in that they don't care one way or the other. Many, especially the ones of British heritage are happy to have the Queen as our Head of State. The page you refer us to is three years old, although it might still be relevant. It would take much more than a referendum for Canada to become a republic. As it states at the end of the article, "Any change we made of that nature that would really disrupt if not abolish the office of the Queen requires a constitutional amendment with unanimous support of the provinces. So all provinces would have to agree in addition to the federal Parliament." Although the article says that 50% of Canadians say we could terminate the monarchy when the Queen dies, a large percentage of those people live in Quebec, which is French speaking and the people are not of British background.

    Anyway, I don't believe any of that is was what Victoria was referring to in her post. She was simply and correctly saying that The British Empire is NOT the same as The Commonwealth. One of the reasons that The Empire was dissolved was so all countries could be free and equal. I see this as a giant step towards eliminating racism. Therefore for Meghan to reference the history of the Commonwealth and for Harry to say,"When you look across the Commonwealth, there is no way that we can move forward unless we acknowledge the past" there is a suggestion to mistakes made of the Queen's lifetime of work to make the Commonwealth viable. This is why Victoria spoke of Harry trashing the Queen. The media, to include both tabloids and respected sources, seem to agree that he misspoke.

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    1. If you read the posts, it’s you who say the Commonwealth and the British Empire are one and the same. Harry did not say that. I did not say that.

      There are many historians and foreign policies experts, including respected British ones, who have studied and wrote about the British Empire- its good and bad legacies. Are they trashing the Queen? Heads of state give speeches all the time about moving forward and building a better future while recognizing past wrongs. It’s a big reach looking for an excuse to attack Harry.

      The empire didn’t “dissolve” so countries can be free. Many of these countries fought for their freedom. India, the US, Kenya, what was Palestine, Sudan and onward. The British (and other imperialist countries) created borders during the Empire years which are still causing wars and headaches for many geopolitical regions. Some of these countries (at odd with one another) now have nuclear weapons. The favoritism shown (the divide and rule method) toward certain ethnic/religious/racial groups by the British colonizers affected the set up of these new nations post-empire and still are flashpoints of tension and strife. Ex: Israel-Palestine, Pakistan-Afghanistan-Bangladesh-India, Sudan civil wars, etc. I’ve worked in S. Asia and E. Kenya, I met quite a few white Kenyans along with people who worked with the British High Commissioner and other diplomatic and non profit groups, and there are both formal panel discussions and casual conversation about such things. It’s NOT a taboo subject. It’s recognizing the complexities of the world. People talk about the legacies of imperialism and meddling by super powers on these new nations all the time. It’s in the news headlines. Think of all the coups, proxy Cold War fights all over the world, supports of global western corporations with interference into these resource rich young nations.

      These are facts and real events. There are reams of documents and videos.

      I’m not sure why you and Victoria seem to think acknowledging the complex and ugly parts of the British Empire or discussing racism and social justice issues is an insult to the Queen. These young people from the Commonwealth wanted to talk about what they face today, their aspirations and their work, what it means for them to navigate a different world from the empire days, but still a world left with dealing with its legacies, a polarized world, the wars, the inequities, the racism and injustices. That takes gumption to do so publicly when there are people who don’t hear them and see addressing these issues as some kind of insult.

      Canada is diverse with people immigrating from many parts of the world. It’s not a monolith. The prairie is full of people whose families immigrated from E. Europe. They built these provinces. BC is full of folks whose families came from S. Asia in the late 19th century onward. Re: Quebec. French Canadians suffered from long history of institutional and social discrimination which was why French Canadians protested and rebelled and wanted separatism. (The Scots have been rumbling about such things too, are they bad?) This isn’t about the Queen. It is about the legacy from British rule (e.g. the Acadians). Additionally, Canada as a nation, is now acknowledging the mistreatments of its aboriginal people, is this bad? My husband’s family has strong ties to the UK. Even within his family, there are no uniform opinions. Most don’t actually think about the Queen or the monarchy much. Right now, the news that consumes them is about future trips/ work/study to Europe post Brexit, jobs!, cost of living, and the Covid pandemic.

      I think this anger is more a reflection on you. It’s not an insult to acknowledge a complicated and imperfect past. This isn’t an insult to the Queen as you think. It’s why Prince Charles spoke of British uncomfortable legacy in Ghana. It’s progress.
      - Martine

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    2. BTW, just like many countries whose nation building relied on suppression of the indigenous people and mass influx of immigrants, Canada’s history is also full of complexities and imperfections.

      Here’s a good short synopsis.

      https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/immigration
      - Martine

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    3. Thoughtful, well-written comment, Jacquie!

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  30. Sorry, late to the party here, only now have I finally been able to watch this wonderful, ground breaking conversation! I was struck by several things.... 1st how powerful it was that Harry is there at this time, as a descendant of his ancestors who were Kings & Queens going back to the beginning to the Transatlantic International Slave Trade, which primarily introduced slaves into the economic & social fiber of the British Colonies! That's pretty powerful for me, to see all these generations on, that a descendant is now actively being a part of the solution or at lease the conversation about moving towards positive change! I mean Wow!!

    2ndly, (please hold your tomatoes until I finish..) but I was struck by the powerful significance of this beginning process of Harry & Meghan charting their course for this next chapter in their life. However, I really hope they can pay attention to the subtleties, that can make all the difference in their success on this journey & in sending the most powerful messages as a couple, with all the attributes they Both have to bring to the table! Just as Harry worked hard to pull Meghan into the discussions & conversations that took place while they were establishing themselves in the UK, I think it's so so very important that Meghan be mindful to do the same thing, as they take their first steps in the USA! She's a wonderful well meaning force of nature, but I fear if she is not sensitive to it, she could over power Harry. In the states we all love a good jump in and fire away with what one has to say.... however, just as it's important to listen, I feel it's equally important for her to not dominate the conversation or messaging, so as to not leave Harry just to find the moments when he can pop in with a few thoughts or words! I think for them to truly find the success & make the social justice difference that they hope to make... Harry needs to truly come off as having an equal voice to Meghan. I entirely believe that they have a complete partnership as a couple, but I believe they need to really really have that come across in their public interactions! They can & will be an Amazing Power Couple.... but that's just it, they truly need to be seen as just that... A Couple! (of course they will have their own individual voices along their personal journeys) but if Meghan tends to dominate the conversations etc when they appear as a couple... that could get dicey & detract from "their message". Just my 2 cents, but I love to see them grow into their new roles! :)

    Becca USA

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  31. Becca USA - 14 July 2020 at 18:00

    You noted a fair observation as well as provide a cautiously matured suggestion. I felt that impression, and did not quite pinpoint it, or rather, wanted to be patient. I think in one of her comments, she said, "in my own country...". I was thinking, knowing he just left his own country, if only she just said, "in America" e.t.c. They need a mix of his own people too while they are in USA.

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    1. I agree about the couple working together in coordination though I think when she said, “in my own country..,” she wanted to be explicit to avoid pulling the UK into it as that would make people even more angry with her. That’s my take and it might be wrong, because this is based on my unverified assumption and I hate reading too much into things since I don’t actually know these people.

      I don’t know as a couple if Meghan will appears less deferential. She hasn’t from the get go and the tabloids have blamed Meghan for leading Harry around by the lead string. That might be their natural dynamics when they are together. I don’t know if there are set rules about these mattes in the RF since things are very traditional. These days the tabloids favorite description is that he’s “thick” and they have tried to emasculate Harry in the process. It’s offensive to me. As a woman whose husband prefers to let me be the social lead as a couple, I never thought I was dominating. Maybe I am. But our 22 year marriage has been one of give and take as we defer to the other’s strengths on certain things and we make big decisions jointly. But that’s us and my 2 cents.

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    2. Haha. Together we'd add up to 4 cents, anon17:16.
      Maybe Harry likes it. His two other serious relationships (that we know of) were with strong women. Diana could seem weak and vulnerable but she also seemed to have a strong will. His Gram's the Queen and formidable when crossed, I hear. Sometimes the reaction to strong female role models is to develop a compensatory domineering presence. Sometimes one goes along to get along.It may be his norm.
      I have noticed a number of times that he seemed irritated or taken back by her taking the lead in situations that could really be described as more work than social situations. It would seem Harry should take the lead in work situatios, except during her charity events.
      Anon, do you take the lead in situations that are related to your husband's work?
      I agree about assumptions. For all we know, he is king of their own castle and makes the domestic decisions.
      Where I see a problem, other than during work, is in Harry's reaction to tabloid stories, which Rebecca English says he reads.What could be a comfortable plan for them could be disrupted if he takes the pants in the family stories to heart. I think I know who would win that battle.

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  32. Maybe this will calm things down. Harry’s older brother said similar things when visiting Ireland. The tabloids and commenters on the Kate blog didn’t seem to be offended by those words.

    In a speech he said, “It is right to remember those who suffered as a consequence of our troubled past....whist many wrongs have been done, it is important that we are not bound by these.”

    You can do a search on line. This was an acknowledgement of the “complex and uncomfortable”, history between these two countries and N. Ireland. That’s put it in the most diplomatic words I can think of.

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  33. Having been involved in organising Royal Tours in the past, I know that before they say anything about sensitive matters such as the injustices of the past, Royal Family members have to run it past the British and Commonwealth Office and the relevant Commonwealth governments. It is then the current government who either approves or disapproves of the wording of any public statement they make. In fact members of the Royal Family have very little discretion to initiate action by leading social justice or other campaigns and the relatively tentative moves by Charles to influence public policies have been roundly condemned as interference in politics. The Greek Monarchy was abolished because of similar disagreements. Royalty is very aware that they are there only as long as they keep popular support and even our present Queen was shaken by the public feeling about the treatment of Diana before her death. We also forget that when Diana's involvement with the landmine clearance project was first mooted, she got into hot water because both the British and US Governments did not support the proposed banning of land mines and cluster bombs. The UK policy subsequently changed and the UK joined the UN agreement covering these weapons, however the problem remains. Just as ambassadors have to toe the line and suppress their personal opinions, constitutional royalty is similarly constrained by their government's policies. I am also thinking of the current US uproar with conflicting opinions between the US government executive and those working for them. The US President does not allow any deviation from his personal policy decisions and the resulting removals from office have been backed by the Supreme Court. Whether this is a good thing in the long term is a matter of opinio, but it is ultimately up to the electorate to decide whether they support these policies.

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  34. It is important to add that Diana was not just bringing the land mine dilemma to world attention: she was having an effect on the purchase of new landmines, thus potentially hitting some British manufacturers in the pocketbook- which trickled down to loss in the economy and resultant government resistance.A significant number of landmines were manufactured in the UK.
    If one looks long enough and hard enough, there is nearly always a monetary motivation behind resistance to reforms. For example, most obviously, the abolitionist movement in the USA. It meant loss of a resource that was the basis of the viability of the cotton industry in the South. Other obvious examples: gun regulation; equal pay for women. Without proper, methodical groundwork beforehand, the activation of change leads to chaos. Lack of the ability to compromise that follows polarization prevents this groundwork.

    The existence of the financial ramification, other than resistant embedded emotional roots, is a big reason why speeches and marches are window dressing for equal rights movements. To be successful, the movement leaders must address the financial fallout from their efforts. Remedies must be sought, compromises reached . (finding alternative sources of income for animal parts hunters comes to mind-an effort in which William has been involved)This is initially done on the top levels of government and business, not on the streets and in lecture halls. William does not just make pretty speeches regarding internet bullying and the illegal animal parts trade: he has met repeatedly with top media officials and international government leaders. And as a future king he has the power base to do this effectively.

    Only with public pressure in the form of loss of sells and income for businesses affected will change occur. Well organized boycotts work. Behind the scenes pressure from individuals with political clout and the means to bring reluctant parties to heel work.

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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 :)