Meghan Markle, also known as The Duchess of Sussex, is the first woman to feature in our EmpowHER column. Why? Because despite the invasion of her privacy by the media, having her private life being aired so publicly, and with a lot of people having very strong and (pretty uncalled for) opinions on her, she is a woman we at SOCIALight feel the need to recognise and appreciate for being the feminist icon she is.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Meghan became well known for her role as Rachel Zane on the American legal drama series ‘Suits.’ As someone in the spotlight, Megan has always been an outspoken feminist, addressing issues surrounding gender equality, profiling influential women on her lifestyle website ‘The Tig,’ and speaking about her experience of being a mixed-race woman.
“With fame comes opportunity, but in my opinion, it also includes responsibility – to advocate and share, to focus less on glass slippers and more on pushing through glass ceilings and, if I’m lucky enough, then to inspire.”
In 2016, whilst working as an actress, Meghan met Prince Harry through a mutual friend. Pretty much right from the offset, the online comments rolled in targeting Meghan, consisting of criticism, judgement and scathing attacks.
“Perhaps most shockingly of all, however, were the loaded comments about Meghan’s ethnicity – and the backlash that this generated on social media. Many racist Twitter trolls claimed that the prince should not be allowed to date a biracial person – harkening back to the mythical concept of ‘blue blood’ and royal purity. And, as Prince Harry was forced to explain in a public statement, paparazzi began to invade the privacy of both Meghan and her family, employing abusive tactics in order to find out more about them.”Stylist Magazine
In 2017, they announced their engagement to the world.
Prince Harry said in an interview around this time that ‘he tried to warn his fiancee of the pitfall of royal life as much as possible.’ With Meghan commenting ‘We were hit hard at the beginning with a lot of mistruths.’
They were surprised, perhaps naively, by the level of interest in their relationship. Particularly by the British public. When they married in 2018, the day had a shadow cast over it with a very public family fall out which resulted in Meghan’s father no longer being a guest.
When they wed, it was clear just how interested the public was in the couple, with their marriage being watched by millions all over the world.
Shortly after marrying, they announced that they were pregnant, and with the celebrations of the Royal Wedding over, Meghan was unfortunately continuously plagued by the press. Her private life has been spilt very openly in public, and quite often she has been harshly judged, simply for being with Harry.
“I don’t sit around thinking about my titles and roles; I just do what feels right.”
Meghan has taken a lot from the press. So much so that Stylist Magazine put together an article detailing ‘A comprehensive list of all the s**t Meghan Markle has taken from the British press and public.’
From headlines saying she cradled her baby bump too much, to criticising the way she sat, what she ate or what she wore, you only have to take a look at the comparison of the way Kate Middleton has been treated by the press to realise that this is a personal issue with Meghan, whether it’s race or background, it doesn’t matter. The woman quite simply can’t win!
So, it really is no wonder that Prince Harry and Meghan have had to take the decision to step away from their Royal duties and titles, putting their family and relationship first. Of course, this came with criticism in itself over the last year or so, with the press (and comments from the general public) being that Meghan is some sort of ‘seductress,’ ‘bunny boiler,’ ‘temptress’ that has stolen away our beloved Prince. It really is laughable to read!
“It’s really important that young women be reminded that their involvement matters and that their voice is heard. Even if it feels like it’s small, it really can make an impact.”
And as sad as it is that they feel as though they must take a back seat for their well-being, we at SOCIALight see it as a brilliant new beginning. We can’t wait to see what Meghan does now, with a bit more freedom to pursue the things that truly matter to her. And to be able to be herself.
Now that she won’t be restricted in her role as The Duchess of Sussex, she has the freedom to speak freely about issues she feels need airing, to work closely with organisations that are helping change the world for the better and to campaign for the things close to her heart.
We think she is incredible and has kept her composure despite the awful time she’s had just for falling in love with a Prince. We cannot wait to see what she does in the future.