Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
Say what you want about the United Kingdom’s royal family, but whether you’re totally anti-monarchy or a crown-loving Anglophile, I’m sure you heard the announcement of a new royal baby to join Will and Kate’s two children, George and Charlotte. The forthcoming baby will push Will’s brother Harry to sixth in line for the throne, and this thought got me thinking about the other aspect of royal news that has been floating around the tabloids–Prince Harry’s relationship with his girlfriend, American actress Meghan Markle.
Rumors have been swirling for months about if and when the two will get engaged, which echoes the types of stories found in any tabloid or on a slow news week in any more respectable publication during Will and Kate’s courtship. While I stand on the side of favoring the royal family at least in current image (history and other factors contributing to social relevance aside) and therefore enjoy hearing about any update in their lives, a Prince Harry-Meghan Markle union particularly excites me. She indeed would follow the legacy of Diana and Kate of not being from royal lineage herself, but one part intrigues me more.
Meghan Markle, best known for her work on Suits and Fringe, is Biracial. Her father is White and her mother is Black. She has spoken publicly about her process of growing comfortable with her racial background, her family’s history with racism, and the complicated roots on her mom’s side that trace back to the slavery-era United States (her mom has both White ancestors and Black ancestors from those times).
But all this baby talk and engagement talk made me think about what could happen if Meghan and Harry do get engaged, get married, and then maybe have children. If Will and Kate don’t have any more children after this third child, could the seventh in line to the throne be Biracial?
While it would be highly unlikely for the child(ren) to ever inherit the throne, having non-White lineage in the royal family is of interest when compared to the long history of colonialism with which the British throne is associated. One of the strongest arguments against the continuation of the monarchy is that it is an antiquated system that is now largely symbolic and significant only for ceremonial purposes. The United States has had to take a hard look at some things claimed to be “symbolic” (cough cough, Confederate flag), and decide what will be the correct way to mark their place in history. The United Kingdom’s monarchy arguably has that same complicated and often dark role in the past that can make one question whether or not its symbolic role today is appropriate. Adding non-White lineage into the line of succession could throw some interesting wrenches into the monarchy’s history of colonialism and make for some interesting debate about whether this is a step toward modernizing the royal family or if it just doesn’t matter.
After all, it wouldn’t be nearly as powerful of a symbol of change as the United States electing Barack Obama, but it’s something. Whether they should or not, many little girls (myself included) dream of being a princess growing up. If I had seen as a child that an all-White monarchy all of a sudden had kids that looked like me, I would be over the moon.
Then again, who knows if any of this will even happen? I sure don’t, the family has yet to add me on speed dial. But I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for a ring.
What’s your take on the royal family? What do you think the significance would be of having Biracial children fairly high up in the line of succession? Would it be different if the children had a better chance of taking the throne? Do you even care about the royal family? Should the system still exist?