In their interview with Oprah, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex blatantly admitted that racism was a major factor that drove them out of Britain and forced them to quit life as royals. Meghan and Harry’s explosive interview has rattled the world of the Royals with them dropping one truth bomb after another about the British royal family. With Queen Elizabeth II at the helm of the British monarchy, the royal family has been in news for a number of controversies in the past century — and the late Princess Diana’s tragic story continued to haunt as one watched Meghan and Harry’s interview. Prince Harry has himself spoken about how Diana was cast out of the family after her divorce with Prince Charles, her husband’s affair, her trials and tribulations during her time as a royal and the events that led to her death in a car crash.
In fact, Diana too had given a few interviews back in the day about her time as a royal and the problems she had faced while being a part of the family. Interviews, that are all too similar in tone and content as Meghan and Harry’s CBS interview. The revelations about royal concerns regarding their baby Archie’s skin colour and the palace’s attitude to Meghan herself who is part African-American have once again shed light on the history of racism and colonialism among the royals.
In a way, over 25 years ago, Diana paved the way for Meghan and Harry breaking their silence on television with a bombshell interview of her own with BBC.
BBC’s Panorama show featuring Diana would subsequently go onto become one of the most iconic and most startling interviews of her struggles while being married to Prince Charles. Her interview also came a few months after Charles openly admitted in an interview of his own that he had been unfaithful during his marriage. He was referring to his affair with now-wife Camilla Parker Bowles. Diana arranged for an interview with journalist Martin Bashir of BBC and did so without informing the Buckingham Palace.
The interviews are strikingly similar. In her interview, Diana spoke about how it got “crowded" in her marriage because there were three people present (Diana, Charles and Camilla.) She also revealed details about the hostile treatment she received from the royal family. She also narrated how she had battled mental health issues as a royal along - severe postpartum depression and bulimia, all while trying to smile and pretend that everything was okay in public.
Meghan, in her interview, spoke about being subjected to racism. In both Diana and Meghan’s interview, one thing stands out - both women asked the Palace for help as they struggled with mental health (Diana with her depression and bulimia and Meghan on being suicidal) and in both cases, they were allegedly denied help.
Prince Harry said that for the royals, this is just collateral damage that comes with the job. He said that they believe this is just how it is supposed to be and there’s nothing that can be done to change it.
There are, of course, multiple similarities between the experiences of Diana and Meghan. Like Diana, Meghan married into a family that believed she would conform to the royal protocols and customs without complaint or without voicing her own opinions. Like Diana, Meghan too was always portrayed as an outsider, especially by British tabloids. Some even went to the extent of drawing parallels between Meghan and the Duchess of Windsor Wallie Simpson - an American divorcee whom the former British king Edward VIII had married. Back then too, the royals had forced Edward to abdicate the throne as he chose love over country. And the British royal family did next to nothing to alter the narrative about Meghan. In fact, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor too had given a similar tell-all interview to BBC‘s Kenneth Harris in 1970. The Duke of Windsor never actually recovered from the way his family treated his wife, Wallie. His relationship with his brother, Bertie (Queen Elizabeth’s father) too took a toll Rings a bell?
As with Diana, Meghan too was hounded by paparazzi. It is important to note here that Diana died in a car crash while being chased by paparazzi.
In a way, Prince Harry was right — history was repeating itself.
Following Meghan’s interview, many dug out clips from Diana’s old interview to point out the similarities.
Diana in 1995, Meghan in 2021 —she told us, & yet 26 years later NOTHING has changed. Harry was far from wrong when he said his biggest fear was “history repeating itself” pic.twitter.com/wTAkCWXMFC— michelle (@ddarveyy) March 4, 2021
‘They will look after the heir and I will look after the spare.' The money she saved for Harry is being used to protect her grandchildren. May we all have the foresight of Princess Diana. #HarryandMeghanonOprah #OprahMeghanHarry pic.twitter.com/AOzQyWiJqe
— Brianna Michelle (@QueenBriDC) March 8, 2021
Watching this interview reminded me of Princess Diana’s in 1995. #OprahMeghanHarry pic.twitter.com/5WU4Rwnz0Y— (@thatscaleblol) March 8, 2021
Princess Diana didn’t even know that she was speaking for her future daughter in law Meghan #OprahMeghanHarry pic.twitter.com/vzQoY7sHdX— Favbreed (@Favbreed1) March 8, 2021
“It’s the strength that causes the confusion and the fear.” pic.twitter.com/M0JLKogYgc— Ava DuVernay (@ava) March 8, 2021
As a consequence of the interview, Diana and Charles were allowed to divorce and Diana lost her “Her Royal Highness" title. It is not yet known how the Buckingham Palace will deal with the repercussions of the latest interview. But we’ll just leave this quote by Diana here, “Every strong woman in history has had to walk down a similar path. It’s the strength that causes the confusion and fear. Why is she strong? Where does she get it from? What is she going to use it for?"
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