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#BTColumn – Harry, Meghan and the Monarchy

by Barbados Today Traffic
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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by this author are their own and do not represent the official position of the Barbados TODAY. 

by Ralph Jemmott

Oprah Winfrey’s CBS interview with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex was very revealing. According to an MSNBC report just over 17.1 million persons in the United States watched the programme.

It served to convince me more than ever, that the Barbados government’s plan to adopt republican status is the correct move.

The notion that Barbados and its people should continue to swear allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen and her heirs in some form of perpetuity now seems highly ridiculous.

As I have written before, the Queen still merits some respect but her heirs and successors are little more than celebrities.

Prince Charles, the would-be King and the Third of that name, with his Consort Camilla should never become in any respect King of an independent Barbados.

The Netflix production ‘The Crown’ revealed that the Royals are in many respects quite ordinary persons. It might have only been a docudrama and one never knows how much poetic licence was taken in its production, but apart from the Queen herself and her singular commitment to duty, it did not portray many of the other Royals in a particularly flattering light.

Why did we ever think they weren’t ordinary people? Perhaps it was because with a sense of colonial supplication, we accepted the aura of Monarchy.

I myself have always liked the pageantry of Royal occasions and as Prince Charles himself once said, “I must admit, we do, do that (the pageantry) rather well.’ With all respect, it is now clearly time for Barbados to step beyond that and finally confirm a post-Imperial order.

Racism is endemic in human society which whether we accept it or not, is divided into its tribes. The Harry and Meghan interview revealed that racism exists at the very heart of the British Monarchy and more so within what is known as ‘The Firm’ the secretariat that manages the business of the Monarchy.

The African American Associate Editor of the Boston Globe, Renee Graham stated on CNN’s Erin Burnett show that it was naïve to think that the British Monarchy was not racist. She contended that the Institution as any student of British Imperial history will attest, was based on a white supremacist ideology.

Three statements made by the Sussexes which one accepts as true appear to confirm the underlying racist treatment of Harry, Meghan and their son Archie. The first is that the child would not be given a title. The second was that the family including Harry and Archie would not be afforded security.

The third and clearly the most overt of the racist insinuations is that someone ostensibly within the palace circle’s queried about ‘potentially how dark the baby would be and what that would look like.’

The British journalist Richard Quest speaking with Erin Burnett on the same CNN programme aired on the night of March 8, stated that the idea of the child’s skin-colour would more likely than not have come from one of persons high up in the Monarchy.

He suggested it would most likely be Prince Charles himself, but hinted that it could have been raised by Camilla, Harry’s brother Prince  William or William’s wife Katherine, Duchess of Cambridge. Renee Graham stated that if it was the Prince of Wales fretting, assuming that he did ‘fret’ over the skin colour tone of his grandchild, it was truly terrible.

A writer on racism has distinguished between a kind of sub conscious prejudice and systemic racism.

It is shocking to think that the man who would inherit the headship of a multi-racial and multi ethnic Commonwealth would be thinking along consciously systemic racial line in failing to embrace Harry, Meghan and any children issuing from their union.

The idea that Prince Harry would be denied official security seems ludicrous, given that he is the Queen’s grandson and had seen military service in Afghanistan.
The two factors alone might place him in danger of a terrorist threat.

Some observers consider that the British Monarchy could have used the interracial marriage and the child Archie to serve as a bridge to a genuinely multiracial Commonwealth. Good luck with that.

It is not uncommon for bi-racial couples and their respective families to wonder about the racial characteristics of their children before they are born.

If the Royals did harbour serious racial reservations about the marriage of William and Meghan and its capacity to ‘shake the foundations of the Monarchy,’ why did they make the pretence of accepting it?

What is more they stand accused of failing deliberately to render to the young couple and to Meghan as an outsider the psychic support she obviously needed. But as someone reminded this was a family that only belatedly chose to lower the flag to half–staff following the death of Harry’s mother Diana Princess of Wales.

It is interesting that the Sussex’s interview received contrastingly different receptions in America and in Britain. While the Queen lives, the British Monarchy is secure. After her departure, one thinks perhaps not.          

Ralph Jemmott is a respected retired educator.

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