HomeFeatureRacism in Buckingham Palace

Racism in Buckingham Palace

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THE foundations of Buckingham Palace are reeling following an explosive Oprah Winfrey interview featuring the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Harry and Meghan, which explicated and contextualised issues often swept under the carpet by the media, particularly concerning racism in the British Royal Family.

The Shona saying: “Rina manyanga hariputirwe,” which, loosely translated, means ‘that which has horns cannot be concealed’ best describes the shenanigans at Buckingham Palace.

Queen Elizabeth II’s response to the bombshell dropped by her granddaughter-in-law Meghan Markle that there were concerns about how ‘dark’ their then unborn child would be during a recent Oprah Winfrey interview is evidence that the latter stirred a hornet’s nest. 

Recently, traditional and social media was abuzz following an explosive tell-all interview on CBS hosted by Oprah Winfrey in which Meghan Markle, wife to Prince Harry, divulged to Oprah that there were concerns about their then unborn baby Archie’s dark skin tone; how she suffered mentally and received no support from the Royal Family; and how she considered taking her own life, among other issues.

Described by one British tabloid as the most scandalous interview from the Royal Family in 26 years since Princess Diana’s BBC1 Panorama interview, the Oprah interview managed to bring to the fore concerns many have raised, but their voices were muffled to protect the image of the Royal Family.

Buckingham Palace, communicating on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II, responded by issuing the following statement: “The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan. The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning.

While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately.

Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved family members.”

Well, it’s obvious the proverbial cat is out of the bag.

The thing is, with Meghan being black, and regardless of having a light skin tone, it had always been rumoured to ruffle some feathers at Buckingham Palace. 

When she married into the 1 200-year-old institution called the British Royal Family, there were concerns that she would ‘dilute’ the ‘pure’ bloodline of royalty.

Even in fairytales, blacks are absent, despite having provided the blood, sweat and tears, well, and the diamonds, gold and all the trinkets that make royalty obscenely wealthy and adored by many across the globe. 

It is obvious that racism, not just at institutional level, but at the most intimate family level, played out in plain sight in the Royal Palace, driving Meghan to the edge.

She also mentioned how she had been silenced, being one who has always valued her independence, and this explains their decision to leave royal servitude two years ago in exchange for peace of mind and independence.

The Harry and Meghan interview was held just hours after Queen Elizabeth II had addressed the Commonwealth countries in a televised broadcast where she hailed ‘examples of courage, commitment and selfless dedication’ by member-states.

The Commonwealth is a grouping of former British colonies that continue to oil the financial machinery of the Royal Family. 

Zimbabwe, a former British colony, couldn’t help but draw comparisons with Meghan who had been silenced.

Zimbabweans followed the news closely, and couldn’t help but draw comparisons as the country has had a somewhat ‘intimate’ relationship with the Queen ever since she ascended to the throne.

The Pioneer Column, acting on behalf of the British Monarchy, colonised the country from 1890, and it took an arduous 90 years to free the country from this yoke. 

A protracted armed struggle against Rhodesians, kith-and-kin of the British, culminated in the signing of the Lancaster House Agreement, an agreement that would later prove the British Government’s disloyalty in failing to honour their word despite terms of the agreement on land redistribution being clearly spelt out in black and white.

Zimbabwe opted out of the Commonwealth after embarking on the Fast Track Land Reform Programme, and for that ‘transgression’, has been slapped with illegal economic sanctions by the British and all their allies, including the EU and the US.

Although Zimbabwe has been reeling under illegal economic sanctions for two decades, this is not the first time the country was slapped with economic sanctions.

On November 11 1965, the Rhodesian Parliament, led by Ian Smith, issued a statement stating that Rhodesia, a territory that had been under British rule from 1923, had declared itself independent of British rule. 

A rabidly racist Smith, who later would proclaim that the same territory would ‘never experience black rule, not in a thousand years’, surprisingly didn’t draw the ire of the British because he was only slapped with sanctions on paper, not in reality. 

That is because the British Monarchy believed in white supremacy and the continued subjugation of the black majority and used SA as a trade conduit under the purported sanctions regime. 

This means the sanctions levelled against Smith were nothing but a slap on the wrist.

Fast-forward to modern times when Zimbabwe has reclaimed land disproportionately wrested from the indigenes, the British unleashed hell and thunder, with the then Premier Tony Blair leading the offensive.

The difference; the former were white while the latter are black.

Back to Meghan; it is obvious she hogs the limelight because of her race and her outspoken nature.

Zimbabwe similarly hogs the limelight for standing up against continued oppression based on racial lines and, for that, the country has been ostracised and has suffered an economic meltdown of ignominious proportions. 

It is not too simplistic to say race plays a quintessential role in explaining the behaviour of the British Monarchy, and it is really sad that Meghan, an individual, has to fight against an institution with the world’s best arsenal at its disposal.   

Similarly, Zimbabwe, a small land-locked country tucked in Southern Africa, has to claw her way out of poverty because she dared stand up to the tyranny of the British. 

However, one has to stand for what is right regardless of the consequences.

History favours the brave.

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