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Prince Harry; Doria Ragland; Meghan Markle

British royal family shows firm commitment to racial integration

A powerful symbol of the British monarchy’s commitment to racial integration and multiculturalism, is the announced engagement of Prince Harry and the mixed-race American series actress Meghan Markle.

Published: November 28, 2017, 7:23 am

    London

    Markle’s mother, Doria Ragland, is an African American, a first for a British royal. Harry, 33, is currently fifth-in-line to the British throne.

    The news has not been welcomed by everyone in the UK, as generous white taxpayers fund the monarchy. The Sun had headlined “Harry girl’s on Pornhub”, after clips of Markle from the legal drama series Suits appeared on an adult website earlier.

    In the Mail on Sunday, writer Rachel Johnson that said if the couple had children “the Windsors will thicken their watery, thin blue blood and Spencer pale skin and ginger hair with some rich and exotic DNA”. Johnson denied the comment was racist, but most readers had noticed the obvious racial overtones.

    The pair had been preparing “roast chicken at home” according to Markle, when the royal proposed. There is a much-maligned racial stereotype about black people eating chicken in the US.

    Claire Schmidt, professor at the University of Missouri who studies race and folklore, said chickens had long been a part of Southern US diets, because they had “particular utility for slaves” as cheap, easy food.

    Schmidt said that like watermelon, also a feature in racist depictions of blacks, “chicken was a good vehicle for racism because of the way people eat it”.

    She added: “It’s still a way to express racial [contempt] without getting into serious trouble.”

    The Jewish writer and broadcaster Afua Hirsch, herself a mixed-race woman, writes in the Guardian that the royal engagement “will bring into reality what the British establishment lacked the imagination to even conceive of as possible 17 years ago – that a senior royal can love, and marry, someone whose ethnic heritage is not just different to his own, but the heritage that has always been most othered in Britain – black and African”.

    Hirsch added: “The royal family plays a largely symbolic role in our society, so it’s the symbolism of this engagement that interests me. I struggled growing up with the feeling that the monarchy were fundamental to Britishness, but that the Britishness they represented was one that excluded me.

    “This exclusion mattered. It made other people perceive being truly British, and being black, as incompatible identities. It represented a giant taboo. Every government that I can remember made some attempt, rhetorical at least, to acknowledge and protect racial diversity. The family at the apex of our society was doing anything but.”

    Two decades ago baroness Kate Gavron had suggested that Prince Charles, Harry’s father, should have married someone black.

    Gavron’s comments were not well received at the time however. Some had suspected an attempt at getting rid of the monarchy, the Guardian reported. By erasing their heritage through interracial marriages, or racial dilution, it would bring an end to the reign of the Windsors.

    The newly-engaged pair had previously holidayed in Botswana, near Maun, in the Okovango Delta region, rich in wildlife.

    Their destination had been Meno a Kwena, or “Teeth of the crocodile” where all travellers must get out of their vehicles and walk across a disinfectant mat to protect the area from foot-and-mouth disease, rife in the rest of the African country.

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    • How “progressive”, Prince Harry signals “virtue” while on the public dole, bites the hands that feed him, and does what he can to destroy his country. Traitor.

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