Meghan Markle 'treated like a black woman' for first time after dating Prince Harry

Duchess of Sussex says 'just by existing' she was 'upsetting the dynamic of the hierarchy'

Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle attends the 2021 Global Citizen Live festival at the Great Lawn, Central Park, in New York City. AFP
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Meghan was treated like a black woman for the first time in her life when she started dating the Duke of Sussex, she said in her latest Spotify podcast.

The Duchess of Sussex said her relationship with Prince Harry led to more focus on her race than before, during a conversation with pop superstar Mariah Carey.

When the American former actress married Prince Harry in 2018, she was the first mixed-race person to marry a senior British royal in centuries.

The duchess, who quit as a senior working royal two years ago, sparked a royal crisis with her Oprah interview in 2021 when she accused an unnamed member of the royal family of making a racist comment about her son Archie’s skin tone before he was born.

Her latest comments came the day after an interview with The Cut in which she suggested her children had been referred to by the “N-word” by the media.

Discussing the royal rota, the long-established press system that covers official events involving the monarchy, Meghan said: “Why would I give the very people that are calling my children the N-word a photo of my child before I can share it with the people that love my child?

“You tell me how that makes sense and then I’ll play that game.”

Meghan Duchess of Sussex through the years - in pictures

Chatting with singer Carey in the Archetypes episode on divas, they discussed their mixed-race heritage, with the duchess saying: “It’s very different because we’re light-skinned.

“You’re not treated as a black woman. You’re not treated as a white woman. You sort of fit in between.

“I mean, if there’s any time in my life that it’s been more focused on my race, it’s only once I started dating my husband.

“Then I started to understand what it was like to be treated like a black woman, because up until then I had been treated like a mixed woman and things really shifted.”

Carey added: “But that’s an interesting thing, a mixed woman, because I always thought it should be OK to say I’m mixed, like it should be OK to say that, but people want you to choose.”

“Yes,” Meghan replies.

Carey told Meghan about her childhood, saying: “I didn’t fit in, it would be more of the black area of town, or then you could be where my mum chose to live… the more white neighbourhoods and I didn’t fit in anywhere at all.”

“Yeah. I understand that,” Meghan replies.

Meghan Markle spotted in London ahead of queen's jubilee celebrations - video

The pair also compared stories about their hair when they were younger.

“Because my hair is so curly and it’s so, so thick, I just remember as a child – because my mum’s black – and so my grandma Jeanette would do my hair, she’d go, ‘Just hold on to the sink’," Meghan said.

“And I would grip my little hands on both sides – so you would have no luxury of being tender-headed because she would take the brush and just go whoosh, whoosh.”

After a discussion by feminist studies academic Dr Mashinka Firunts Hakopian about divas, Meghan said: “It’s interesting, isn’t it? This idea of power, of a person acquiring power and then needing to be taken down, and how that corresponds to the usage of the word.”

In her controversial interview with The Cut, Meghan said she had been told there was the same jubilation in South Africa when she married Prince Harry as there was when Nelson Mandela was freed from prison.

She added that “just by existing” she and Prince Harry were “upsetting the dynamic of the hierarchy” before they stepped down as senior working royals.

The duchess also said she had made an “active effort” to forgive the royal family, “especially knowing that I can say anything”, and saying: “I’ve never had to sign anything that restricts me from talking”.

Updated: August 31, 2022, 4:26 AM
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