Prince Harry and Meghan Markle sang and the world is having a gala time. Their interview has become the fodder for memes and jokes across the globe. It shows that even the royal family couldn’t prevent the inevitable washing of dirty linen in the public. Family feuds like these are not uncommon in India and the rest of the world; with these revelations out in the open, most of us (including me) already have opinions of various shades.
A poll conducted by YouGov claims that the popularity of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex has plummeted in the United Kingdom after the interview with Oprah. To do damage control, Buckingham Palace released a note on solving this matter within the family privately. In line with their stance of staying neutral, the note wasn’t a surprise. I read about counter-allegations too which refuted Meghan’s claims and it’s difficult to know who’s right and who’s lying. Nevertheless, the whole world is still fixated with this spectacle and it looks like this won’t fade soon from the memory of the public.
I was most concerned by the counter-allegations targeting Meghan and that too on Women’s Day, the day when feminism is at its peak and we are all gaga over female empowerment. Being spectators, we still don’t know what’s the real truth and yet words calling Meghan an opportunist and liar were doing the rounds. This reeks of misogyny and deep-rooted patriarchy which calls out and instinctively blames the woman. She was being called a ‘home breaker’ and slammed for gaining sympathy. Is it fair to be unnecessarily harsh to someone who was once suicidal and had mental health issues? It isn't easy opening up and talking about such matters, I will give it to both of them for speaking up with elegance.
Meghan has been a proponent of gender equality and had raised her voice for a sexist commercial at the tender age of 11. When I was 11, all I cared about was homework and playing with friends. I can’t imagine how suffocating it must have been for her when she was silenced because ‘you are now a royal’. And to those who are saying she knew what she was getting into when she married into a royal family, well loving someone shouldn’t ever be about unbecoming who you are. Abiding by the protocols and customs of your spouse’s family is an unwritten rule for marital bliss but that shouldn’t be at the cost of losing yourself entirely in the process. Is it time to revisit those protocols? Marriage as an institution must be based on love, mutual respect and trust. We have heard this often, it’s perhaps time for royals to keep up with times and ponder on their rules and protocols.
On a side note, I have always wondered why Britain is still a sovereign, isn’t it time for them to change? Statista mentions that the ‘Queen of England serves as the head of 15 sovereign countries other than her own’. This is in addition to British Overseas Territories. Yet, the fascination for royalty is deeply embedded in most of us. We have grown up listening to fairy tales of kings and queens, princes and princesses. Is this why we are still fixated and find monarchy charming? I am watching the Crown on Netflix and I won’t deny my affection for this show. It’s about the mere glimpse of what happens within the palace, all the charm and grandeur and how even royals are only as human as us. Their privileges make them different from the commoners and yet the royalism comes with its own price. As it’s said in the show, the crown must win over individuality.
Yet, to think of it, how monarchy still prevails in this modernizing world is something my millennial mind finds hard to fathom. Even in India we still have kings and queen in certain regions, but they have no constitutional power. Does it have to do with balancing and keeping the traditions alive along with modernism? An interesting survey by Statista says that 42% of 18-24-year-olds are in favour of monarchy, 62% in the age bracket of 25-49 favour it, 72% among 50-64 and a whopping 84% among 65+; at an overall level 62% are still in favour of monarchy. The majority are in favour but the winds of change are evident in the new generation. All eyes, for now, are on Buckingham Palace, and we all look forward to seeing ‘changes’ and hearing more in the times to come.
Statista survey on monarchy: https://www.statista.com/statistics/863893/support-for-the-monarchy-in-britain-by-age/
Photo by Hulki Okan Tabak on Unsplash