The recent scandal involving Meghan Markle and Prince Harry has overwhelmed the national media both here in the U.S. and in the U.K. I still don’t care what goes on with the British royal family and maintain that American media still hasn’t figured out most Americans just don’t give a shit what that band of over-glorified miscreants do or say. The Windsors are among the handful of Europe’s royal clans that survived the carnage of two global conflicts within a half century. And, like the other families, they don’t wield any real political power. They’re merely figureheads. They may be an institution, but their extravagant lifestyles are supported by taxpayers.
In the U.S. the closest we’ve ever had to a true royal family is from the Kingdom of Hawaii, which still exists – at least in name. Their power was squashed when the United States formally annexed Hawaii in 1897; a process that began with the usual cadre of White Christian missionaries who thought then – as now – that they knew what was best for the locals.
The interview Meghan and Harry had with Oprah Winfrey about Meghan’s apparently unpleasant experiences with the Windsors proved eye-opening to many – mainly the Windsors and their ardent supporters. You know – people who aren’t too aware of the world around them.
The only member of the British royal family I liked was the late Princess Diana. She exuded a sense of class and grace unmatched by any of the Windsor clan. While she held the formal title of princess, she did more than just look glamorous. She used her position to raise awareness about the AIDS crisis (a very taboo subject in the 1980s) and landmines in Africa; the result of unfettered wars and European colonialism. Her boldness with these matters shocked the staid and cloistered Windsors. Her death traumatized so many. I think the Windsors were overwhelmed by the amount of love and compassion people across the globe had for Diana and startled by the fact so many Britons would rather have her back than have the British royal family. In other words, people would much rather see Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles drop dead. How’s that for public opinion?!
I feel that Diana’s class and grace live on in her sons, William and Harry. Both served in the British military and have engaged in a number of civic activities to further the cause of humanity. Meghan Markle adds to that sense of grace. But, as unsurprising as her allegations are, I’m still upset by her treatment at the hands of her in-laws. It hints at the disrespect heaped onto non-Whites in the upper echelons of regal European societies. Like most Europe’s royal families, the British royal clan is at the historical heart of European colonialism, genocide and racist oppression. The British Crown stormed through Africa, Asia and the Western Hemisphere for centuries, resulting in the deaths of millions and the plundering of cultural treasures. Two of the United Kingdom’s greatest losses came in the 20th century: Canada and India. And they still haven’t figured out the sun has set on their empire.
I’m impressed with Harry’s response though. Instead of trying to defend or explain his family’s supposed attitude towards Meghan, he did what literally millions have men have done since the beginning of time: he came to the defense of his wife, the mother of his child. He also expressed love for his father, which I don’t doubt. But it’s obvious Harry is a much different type of royal – whatever that’s supposed to entail.
I have a unique and tenuous connection to the British royal family – emphasis on tenuous. In September of 1951 King George VI had his entire left lung removed. A chronic smoker, George had already suffered health scares related to his habit. My paternal grandfather, Epimenio De La Garza, was also a chronic smoker. By his own admission he’d begun smoking around the age of 6, which would be 1899 for him. By 1951 he was in dire straits. Around the exact same time King George had his lung surgery, my grandfather had his in a hospital in Dallas, Texas. The connection? Some of the doctors who worked on King George attended medical school with some of the doctors who worked on my grandfather. George died the following February. My grandfather died 17 years later. Shortly after George’s death, one of my grandfather’s brothers told my father and his 2 brothers that money, power and the best medical care it can provide can’t save anyone if the “main doctor” – meaning God – wants them.
Whatever becomes of the British royal family after this latest fiasco lingers in a strained future. I just want Meghan Markle to know she doesn’t need their approval for any aspect of her life. She’s better than that.