The Threat of Powerful Women for the British Royal Family
By Hawwa Chakera
Around the world, the British Royal Family (BRF) is viewed as a sort of enigma who exude wealth, power, and aristocracy. While it is a little hard to understand the purpose of the BRF in these modern times, past monarchs have been credited with turning the United Kingdom into a prominent worldwide figure. Yet, Britain’s looming presence worldwide dates back to old colonial times. It can be hard to understand why colonial actions haven’t been enough to denounce the RBF entirely. It most surprising, however, that the words of powerful women such as Meghan and Diana have threatened the family more than this past.
On March 7th 2021, Meghan Markle and her husband Prince Harry sat down with Oprah for a tell-all interview, reflecting on their decisions to leave their titles and the BRF behind. Meghan explicitly stated her struggles with her mental health while living in Kensington Palace and the lack of support the Firm provided her. Meghan and Harry also reflected on family members’ racist remarks and the double-standard coverage the British media had given them compared to Harry’s sister-in-law Kate. Before this interview, viewed by 17.1 million Americans alone, the British media also pushed stories regarding “insider leaks” of Meghan’s disputes with staff and claims of bullying during her time as a Senior Royal.
While the outrage and anger towards the BRF regarding their attitudes and actions to Meghan’s cry-for-help and racist remarks are completely justified, it is hard to understand why this was a tipping point for many people. How did the Queen’s second son, Prince Andrew’s ties to Jefferey Epstein get brushed aside; why are Meghan’s hands on her bump more newsworthy than a Royal’s friendship to a known sex-trafficker? Furthermore, is the historical past of Queen Elizabeth I’s connection to the Slave Trade or the Queen’s own husband’s racist remarks deemed controversial humor, but not problematic enough? It is incredibly surprising that the BRF’s greatest scandals threatening their place in the world over the last two decades have come from powerful women taking a stand against them.
The late Princess Diana was a beautiful woman who turned into a household name in the 80s through her marriage to the expected heir, Prince Charles. Diana received widespread popularity due to her beauty, caring but unexpected acts, and motherly nature. Some even claim that Princess Diana’s popularity outshone her husband. and that famous AIDS patient interaction, where she hugged an AIDS patient to dimmish stigma around the disease, was not well received among members of the BRF. Although their marriage suffered difficulties and eventually led to divorce, Diana was considered a threat to the Royal Family’s popularity as her actions directly reflected the future King. So, when Diana sat down for a tell-all interview similar to Meghan’s, sharing her struggles with Bulimia, mental health, and Charles’ infidelity, people around the world were shocked.
It is shocking to note that women who have been treated poorly by the Royal Family but are willing to share their stories are the most important piece to breaking the legacy and tearing down the monarchy. Regardless of the British monarchy’s racist and colonialist history, the British population is only affronted with the terrible nature of the BRF when powerful women speak up. The British population and people around the world seem to care more about the poor treatment of princesses than the oppression and violence that brought the BRF to power. Does this reflect how the British population views social issues such as historical and systemic racism in correspondence with the colonial roots of their country? Do issues need to be sensationalized in order for change to occur? All in all, the time has come to really reconsider the importance of the BRF in the world, and whether it is finally time to abolish the monarchy.