If we were to spend our lives believing everything the way it is presented to us by those in power, it might work out easier for us in the long run, to leave all the important decisions to somebody else but for those of us who choose to think critically, those of us who value honesty so much we are willing to suffer for it, the world is a stage and the 1% actors, presenting the side of themselves they believe we wish to see. There is no better example of this than the British royal family. ‘Sources’ reporting to the tabloids are palace staff, if not members of the royal family themselves. There is an army of royal correspondents, attached to their respective papers and broadcasting stations, and every last one is a royalist, prepared to read out official statements and pass them off as personal opinion. They hold dress rehearsals for funerals years in advance. The royal family is a live soap opera, fulfilling ideals of fairy tales that are poured into little ears from the moment the midwife assigns us female.
What nobody seems to consider, ever, not even the superior white feminists for whom femininity is a curse, is how the women who marry into the royal family are often treated as pariahs, as though they should be grateful for their privileges and in exchange cannot be allowed to have feelings ever again. Kate Middleton is one example of a woman who submitted, she has made herself small (quite literally) and churned out those heirs like a good un, never speaking out of turn or hinting at a personality. When Markle gave birth the papers were placing bets on when Kate would pop next, like it’s a competition for the queen’s affections. As the oldest daughter in law, wife of the heir apparent, she is given preferential treatment, like access to looted Mughal jewels, whereas Markle is forbidden (according to the Daily Express who like to take a royal press release and make it their own). It actually makes me laugh because the royal family conducts itself in exactly the same way as those who engage in honour based violence in the South Asian diaspora have done; the eldest son is in charge and his wife is given first dibs on everything, promoting inequality and ill feeling.
Familial abuse is an issue I am familiar with, from personal experience but also in my professional career as a women’s worker. More often than not it is considered a cultural matter because South Asian families stick together as opposed to moving away when they go to university or get married. It is something I grappled with growing up, this notion that certain suitors might estrange you from the family, as a result most people married within the clan to avoid such grievances. If everyone knows what is expected of them there’s less chance of conflict further down the line. This is what the royal family did themselves, the queen was betrothed to her cousin as a young child (still feel sickened by the news reel gushing about this child being in love with a grown man), and Prince Charles was related to Diana in a number of ways, not least because they shared Henry Tudor as an ancestor. If the royals hadn’t been white and immensely privileged, you could say it was a Forced Marriage. Look at the misery they endured for the length of their union and how Diana felt she’d done her bit providing an heir and a spare. Imagine if she’d had girls!
When Piers Morgan attacked Markle with the words “I always thought you’d do this anyway” he sounded like the in laws on Bhaji on the Beach (a film about honour violence made in 1993) attacking their dark skinned daughter in law (who’d married their son for love against their wishes) for leaving the family after he’d beaten her, claiming that the darker ones are sly and can’t be trusted. Morgan insists he is not racist and this is not about racism but he’s an ex tabloid editor, and has always been untrustworthy. Why is he allowed an opinion? I ran away from home at the age of 15 because I was sick of outsiders inserting themselves into familial matters as though they are personally invested when in actual fact they thrive off drama and conflict, and are always looking to settle old scores. Morgan has been waiting for the opportunity to let rip, because he is a savvy racist and knows how to play the game. This is about Meghan Markle being an outsider, not least because she is black and won’t bow down to pressure. What else could have informed his childish prophecy?
When racists have attempted to rationalise their prejudice for me, they often bring up the refusal of other groups to assimilate, and the resistance to intermarriage, to their chagrin. At the heart of it they fear rejection so pre-emptively reject the rejecters, at least that is what they say. The Royal Family is surely an example of this, they are supported by like minded die hard colonialists who do not assimilate yet stand apart from the rest of us, because they like to feel special, and they actively resist outsiders, demanding they fall into line if they should break through or else risk the wrath of the entire establishment. They are the most intolerant of all.
How is that the most public family in all of Great Britain escapes the attentions of the authorities, whether they are sexually abusing children or domestically abusing their wives and daughters in law? Emotional abuse is actually illegal in the UK but then so is racism and very little gets done about that. Women’s safety groups should be advocating for Meghan Markle, as a victim of familial honour based violence, she has “brought shame to the family” and is therefore at her most vulnerable (Diana died for her efforts). Antiquated beliefs such as this are mocked by the authorities when the victim is South Asian, as though we are backwards and savage yet the world’s media is happy to reinforce it for the royal family.
Aren’t you sick of the hypocrisy?