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The British Royal Black Out

The British Royal Black Out

Yvonne Ridley

The emergence of Black Lives Matter is an indication of the serious escalation of racism and bigotry in America these days which is obviously felt around the US hence the emergence of the #taketheknee protests.

US President Donald Trump might be in denial but it is obvious there is institutional racism in your back yard, but there are equally sinister agendas at play over here in the UK albeit a tad more subtle.

I'm referring the frenzy over speculation that Prince Harry will shortly announce his engagement to US actress Meghan Markle and now some of the British media have even begun the process of white-washing her gene pool!

Totally missing the point of what this particular mixed marriage would bring, the laundering of your Miss Markle bears all the hallmarks of the palace spin doctors and, as a former royal correspondent, I can easily recognise the signs.

Instead of celebrating her ethnic background the white colonialists from Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and Kensington Palace are working round the clock to bleach Markle's past. 

To prepare the servile subjects who give their unconditional support to the British Royal family the subliminal message about the undoubtedly gorgeous Meghan Markle is that she might be part black but she's a white girl really. How sad that the main link between blacks and Buckingham Palace continues only to be one of colonial significance.

Markle is a worthy role model for black women everywhere and her work as a UN ambassador is much more than a photo opportunity. She appears to be genuine in her philanthropic ventures and certainly celebrates her black identity rather than hide it.

Over here, in the UK, one of the tabloid newspapers created her family tree and spattered the genealogical chart with British flags to play down her black mother and celebrate the fact that Markle's great great granny was white and from Yorkshire! God Save the Queen!

Surely we should be celebrating the fact Meghan Markle is a talented, intelligent young woman who happens to be black and beautiful. Why can't the palace officials be briefing the media by saying: "Wow, this is great news. Britain's next generation of royals will be mixed race."

Instead the royal spin doctors are pouring whitener on her gene pool. Team Windsor should embrace the positives just as you did in America when the first ever black president took the keys to the White House. There were cheers and boasts in the BME community - no one tried to get out the bleach for Barack Obama so why are we doing it in the UK?

The American black community felt empowered; this was one hell of a leap from the path of the vile days of the slave trade to the keys to The White House. Sadly, it appears the problem we have in Britain is so much more deep-rooted. The royal firm is too stuck in its ways, too patriarchal and so out of date. The old guard just can not see a positive and so for the next few weeks and possibly months we are all going to be conditioned in preparation for Prince Harry's nuptials.

So what if the Windsor gene pool is being infiltrated with a new, vibrant and colourful DNA? It's hardly going to bring about a downfall of the monarchy or destroy the social hierarchy in the British upper classes ... more's the pity. Instead of empowering the black community it seems the palace spin doctors are under orders to preserve what is left of Little England and all that it represents including an all-white royal lineage.

And if you don't believe me it began last weekend with a TV documentary, When Harry Met Meghan: A Royal Romance. The programme makers have actually traced her great great grandmother, Martha Sykes, back to England. Historian Andy Ulicny tells viewers that Martha was born in Yorkshire and left with her parents, Thomas and Mary, to settle in the US when she was one. Naturally this titllating news has been poured over and projected with delight by London-based newspapers like The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail.

"Most likely the Sykes family came from Yorkshire, a coal mining region, and the name Sykes was popular up that way," says historian Ulicny. So it turns out working class Martha is a direct descendant of Markle's father Thomas, a lighting director. If you want proof a copy of the 1870 census from the Mahanoy Township in Schuylkill County, in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains, shows the family living with three-year-old Martha in the mining area of Pennsylvania. The family upped roots and quit England in 1869 in the search of a better life.

Apparently Markle has already supped afternoon tea with Prince Harry and the Queen which has only served to fuel speculation of a royal wedding in 2018. Trust me, there is nothing coincidental about any of this. Team Windsor does everything in military-style precision and is preparing its subjects for a royal wedding with a difference.

However, and not for the first time, I believe the Royals have misjudged the public mood. White-washing Markle's family background with the help of what's left of Fleet Street and state TV will backfire among black and ethnic minority communities. This will turn in to a clanger of Dove Soap-style proportions.

The Queen is head of The Commonwealth comprising of 52 countries largely spanning the BME countries in Africa, Asia and the Pacific so what will her 2.3 billion so-called subjects, almost a third of the world's population, make of this crude attempt to airbrush Markle's black roots from the royal love story? Or do their views not count?

Prince Harry, himself, has described Africa as his "spiritual home" and was a prime mover behind the Kensington Palace statement back in 2016 condemning the British press for their “outright sexism and racism” over coverage of his relationship with Markle. It was, at the time, most refreshing to hear the royal family publicly defend a mixed-race union but now the subliminal media briefings appear to be setting out a quite different course.

Our institutional racism might not be as 'in your face' as what is happening in America today towards the black community but it is in evidence, just deeper and therefore probably much more sinister.

Brace yourself for more propaganda ... like the TV legal drama series Suits in which Markle's character is Rachel Zane, this whitewash drama is set to run and run. 

(Sister Yvonne Ridley is an author and journalist living in the UK. Her latest books is called TORTURE: Does it work? Interrogation issues and effectiveness in the Global War on Terror. You can order a copy here: )



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