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The New Era: An inter-racial royal wedding during a time of rising populism

  • Published at 01:59 pm May 19th, 2018
Harry and Meghan

Change for the future

Meghan Markle will have to make some major changes with the list of new royal protocols she has to follow. That means no more selfies or autographs, and not even the nail polish is spared since royals cannot be seen wearing bright colors; only pastels and nudes. With the nail polish purge comes the closet purge and since the queen detests wedge heels, all those will have to go-go because they’re no-nos. Fortunately enough for Miss Markle, she’s more of a stiletto girl anyway. However, even though Meghan will have to make some adjustments to her lifestyle, she in turn has already influenced royal protocol.

How Megan has broken royal protocol, but in an inspiring way

As the wedding draws near, it is clear that Markle embraces royal life on her own terms. Markle seems keen on doing things her way whenever possible, just like her fiancé.From the open and public nature of the whirlwind romance with Prince Harry to the flair she has already added to her royal appearances, Markle is a breath of fresh air for the British monarchy. Since her responsibilities will only increase, so will her modernizing influence. During a time of increasing populism and nationalism, this is quite significant.

Here is how the future royal is breaking tradition to create her own set of royal protocols

Meghan’s background is already unlike most royal fiancées. While she is educated and accomplished, she is both biracial and American. Furthermore, she is also a divorcée. Compared to the blue blood prerequisite for any prospective royals along with the virginity testing that Lady Diana, Princess of Wales had to undergo, this comes as a drastic change.

Royals are discouraged from making politically charged statements, but being a humanitarian and activist, Meghan doesn’t shy away from hot-topics like feminism or racism.

Furthermore, she was photographed wearing ripped jeans during her first official appearance as Prince Harry’s girlfriend, chose a see-through gown for her engagement photos, was seen taking a selfie with one fan while on walkabout in Cardiff and writing a note to another, giving high fives, offering hugs to non-royals and even sticking out her tongue at passersby on Christmas Day. Although PDA is frowned upon, Meghan and Prince Harry have frequently been seen not being able to keep their hands off each other, and their interactions have had positive responses.

“Meghan and Prince Harry holding hands at a royal engagement is a refreshingly modern approach to their new role both as a couple and as representative of the royal family,” stated Myka Meier, a royal etiquette expert.

What does this mean for rising sentiments of populism and nationalism?

Recently, there has been a rise in the dangerous rhetoric of populism and nationalism across the globe and in Europe especially. Beginning with Brexit, America also rode the wave with the emergence of the Trump regime and President Donald Trump’s “The Snake” allegory to justify anti-immigrant sentiment. The domino effect continued as Italy’s populist parties helped swing a referendum that forced Prime Minister Matteo Renzi to resign. In the case of France and Marine Le Pen’s near victory, her National Party may have lostbut the real victory was in the expanding support and active following she gained through her campaign. 

Perhaps this royal wedding could not have come at a more opportune moment. Markle's openness also aligns perfectly with the new image of transparency and normalcy that has been cultivated by the young royals over the past few years. Different isn’t bad and on the contrary, it seems that the refreshing royal and royal-to-be are slowly but surely modifying tradition to fit with the times. The royal family has been welcoming to Meghan, and publically embraced her long before the big day. The burning questions are, what does this mean for globalization, and will we see a shift back to the borderless and increasingly connected world we dream of, or will we more inwards? As Angela Merkel stated during the World Economic Forum in Davos, “Isolating ourselves is not the answer.” 

Meghan Markle’s own words, and how they ring clear two years later

Meghan Markle herself seems to be pointing us all in the right direction, and her interview with Elle Magazine back in July of 2015 titled “Meghan Markle: I'm More Than An 'Other’” is almost prophesizing.

When describing the Role of Rachel Zane in Suits, Markle said that “‘Dream girl' in Hollywood terms had always been that quintessential blonde-haired, blue-eyed beauty… But the show's producers weren't looking for someone mixed, nor someone white or black for that matter. They were simply looking for Rachel.”

In making that decision, the Suits producers did more than just expand the confines of ‘beauty’; they created room for change, for growth, and for possibility. Markle found her calling as a princess just as she did as Rachel Zane, and if there were more roles like that of Rachel to fill, the world would be a more accepting and therefore stronger place. If the royals are able to overlook their own traditions and Prince Harry can defy rules and regulation, why can’t the rest of us? This is the kind of love the world needs, and kudos to the new royal couple for having a refreshing approach. It is said that love is blind, and if Prince Harry and Meghan Markle can share a color-blind romance, then so can we.

The writer is Dhaka Tribune Correspondent in Hollywood, CA

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