When we watched Kate the media was obsessed with her non-royal status. She was a regular (rich) girl proving that any (rich) person can make their way into the royal family should love and luck strike. This year as we watched Harry wed Meghan there was even more reason to raise eyebrows in shock at the fact that Harry has only gone and found himself a mixed-race bride from across the pond. Not royal, not British, and not white. I awaited the wedding with a sense of curious pride. As much as I have a strong sense of indifference to the royals, I felt a vested interest since Harry was marrying one of our own and tuned in eager to see just how black this wedding would be. I was not disappointed. We have been on a journey with Harry and Meghan and it has been interesting, to say the least
Chapter 1: Announcing the engagement
As the news was shared with the country that Harry would indeed be marrying Meghan in spring 2018 everyone in the country had an opinion.
I think the rhetoric was intended to go even further than any (rich) British girl can find her way into the royal family, and emphasised that with Meghan’s mixed-race heritage, any person even those not the regular shade of white can become a royal. I can’t lie and say I wasn’t impressed and a little excited that someone of black heritage was entering British royalty, I just wasn’t prepared for the media’s lack of tact when introducing this matter.
Sky News went as far to say that Meghan, ‘’a descendant of slaves’’ was now getting to marry her British prince. I can only assume it was supposed to be a rags to riches slant but I think they could have thought of other ways to describe her. How about her strong feminist values and the fact that she wrote a letter aged 11 that got a whole Proctor and Gamble to change the voice over to their commercial?! I saw a photo of her sitting outside Buckingham Palace as a teen not thinking ever in a million years she would be marrying in a couple of decades letter. That is your story Sky, nothing is impossible and the most things exciting things in our future are things we least expect.
Chapter 2: Tuning in to watch
Watching something with your friends and being able to make commentary all the way through is fun. Watching something with Twitter is on a higher plane of enjoyment. I don’t think I have cackled so much reading people’s live comments on Harry and Meghan’s ceremony. From the aunties that were tuning in because of their strong *cough* imaginary relationship with the late Diana to the reactions to the sermon lead by Bishop Michael Curry, I have never been so engaged with anything the Royals were doing than during the royal wedding.
If you didn’t watch Bishop Michael’s Curry’s message you missed out. He took us to church and there was nothing better watching him try and restrain himself from moving away from the pulpit while the royal family looked around in confusion fighting fits of giggles as he delivered the word in a way you’d expect from a black American preacher. Watching a sermon touch on Martin Luther King and the overcoming of slavery to the colonisers themselves was a moment that will go down in history
Chapter 3: Black excellence
There have been murmurs that Meghan isn’t quite black enough to relate to, but the black excellence that filled the wedding has put the murmurers to rest. The royal wedding really came through as a showcase for black excellence. Singing ‘Stand by me’ the Gospel Choir made me wish I wasn’t so lacking in musical talent. Meg didn’t stop there. We were blessed with the cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason during the signing of the registry. For all the EDL who were consoling themselves that Meghan isn’t as brown as some other ethnics, they’re campaigning to leave the country, the royal wedding really hit home that her blackness cannot and will not be ignored.
Chapter 4: What next
For all who are arguing this could be a step in the direction of progression for Black Brits, I am not convinced. Whilst Meghan might raise a clenched fist in the face of the royals, the media reporting of the whole Shebang just re-iterated how far we still are from overcoming unaddressed ignorance. Not only was Meghan been referred to as a decedent of slaves with no reference to the British hand in that, but reading the comments following Bishop Michael’s preaching really hit home that people aren’t quite prepared to leave the box they’ve been living in. The general consensus is that he was too much for his royal audience and should have toned it down in order to be better received. BBC commented that he was forceful and uplifting but why is someone’s passion for what they are speaking about taken as force and why must he conform to the inherent dryness in traditional British teaching when he is not a Brit and was not raised in the Anglican Church.
The day we can accept people and the cultures that make them great will be a great day in Britain.
Until then we can reminisce about the royal wedding, confident that we turned up and we conquered.