Modernising the Royal Family: Is Meghan Markle the Rightful Princess? | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

Modernising the Royal Family: Is Meghan Markle the Rightful Princess?

Charlotte Gill explains why she believes Meghan Markle will bring change to the Royal Family and society

Whether you are a hard-core royalist, or you wish we would just do away with the Royal Family altogether, you will have definitely heard about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s engagement. Get your Union Jack bunting at the ready for next year’s wedding (though you might have to take this to work with you as sadly no Bank Holiday this time around)! The press have ensured we are not short on details -- how they met, when they will marry, where they will live, where the ring came from -- but to get you up to speed on Meghan herself: as an actress, she is probably best known for her role in Suits. She is equally a philanthropist. The story she tells about her 11-year-old self sums up her ‘doer’ rather than ‘bystander’ attitude. She wrote a letter to then-First Lady, Hillary Clinton, among others, to explain her upset at a sexist slogan for dishwasher liquid (‘women all over America fighting against greasy pots and pans’) which prompted boys at school to say that women belong in the kitchen. She even wrote to the soap company itself and a month later the advert was altered to ‘people all over America’. She realised that small voices could make big changes, which seems to inspire a lot of her work with women and young girls. Meghan is a UN Women’s advocate and works with the World Vision charity, among other things. This year on International Women’s Day she wrote an open letter on period poverty and the stigma surrounding menstruation for TIME magazine. This is a smart woman- well-accomplished before meeting Prince Harry. She is known in her own right. It is rather refreshing.

Meghan has now given up acting to focus on humanitarian work -- a choice she defends by saying that she does not see it as ‘giving up’ but a welcome change after working on a show for seven years

Therefore, I hope that the traditional institution and their marriage do not quell her ambition and expression too much. Meghan has now given up acting to focus on humanitarian work -- a choice she defends by saying that she does not see it as ‘giving up’ but a welcome change after working on a show for seven years. Meghan had a successful website/blog (TheTig.com) centred around travel, food, fashion, beauty and wider issues. Since around April this year, her blog has not been in use and you now cannot even access any past posts. Perhaps it is rude to speculate but one cannot help wonder if the closing of the website was linked to her ever more serious relationship with Prince Harry. Likewise her silence on social media platforms. The Queen, and by extension the Royal Family, are to remain ‘strictly neutral’ on political matters, which does not seem in keeping with Meghan, who has opposed Trump’s America and commented on Brexit, for example. It seems she is not someone who likes to stay silent about the issues she deems important and yet she may have no choice from now on.

As someone who believes that responsibility comes with a high-profile position, Meghan says that she is excited to have a bigger platform to work with

More positively, it seems that Meghan is the girl for the job. Harry himself said it was quite a relief to know she would be good at her new role because of her previous work. The two seem united in their passion for making change and wanting to do good in the world. Though not speaking out against issues, royals can support great work and push positive organisations and aims, such as William, Harry and Kate’s involvement with the Heads Together charity. As someone who believes that responsibility comes with a high-profile position, Meghan says that she is excited to have a bigger platform to work with. Now more energy can be focused on the causes which are important to her and Harry- and no doubt she will excel at this.

Meghan is American, she is mixed race, she has had a career in acting, she is once divorced. It is different and I think it comes at a time in which people are, in theory, more open and welcoming to change

Humanitarian work aside, Harry and Meghan seem the right couple to modernise the Royal Family. Meghan is American, she is mixed race, she has had a career in acting, she is once divorced. It is different and I think it comes at a time in which people are, in theory, more open and welcoming to change, especially if beloved Prince Harry is involved. Sure, their marriage is not as big a deal as Will and Kate’s, you could say, because we do not get a future King and Queen from it. It is almost impossible that Harry will ever make the throne -- he will be sixth in line once Kate has her baby next year. William’s ‘choice’ of a wife was arguably more crucial than Harry’s. But by God has Harry chosen.



Published

9th December 2017 at 9:00 am



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