Tea Time

Renouncing the Royal Duties: Should Tradition take a Back Seat?

The abdication of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex from their roles as senior royals has been the talk on everyone’s lips over the past week. Many people revile them for this decision while many others, many black women in particular, support them, and are hailing Meghan a hero.

But the fact of the matter is that none of us are apart of their relationship or their family, so our opinions are purely based on what we see from the outside. And, as an outsider, I don’t think it is as simple as witnessing a good decision versus a bad decision, or declaring that Meghan has been ostracised from the royal family because she’s black.

The monarchy is a long-standing, largely static, institution and integrating people who are not traditionally apart of that institution is naturally going to be hard. So, anyone who thought that Meghan’s assimilation into the British royal family would be a smooth one, purely because it’s the 21st century, was fooling themselves. And for an institution as closed off as the British monarchy to have accepted Meghan into its ranks at all, shows it probably wasn’t any hate from the family that caused this decision. Diana or no Diana, if they had really wanted Meghan gone, they would have gotten rid of her long before now.

So, it seems less likely that this decision was made because of a family feud, and more likely that it was merely something that Duke and Duchess wanted to do for themselves- which is fine. But a lot of Meghan’s supporters tend to gloss over this fact and act like it was spurred on by racism and British press harassment. Yes- there is no doubt that these issues played some part in this conclusion, but I think it more likely that Meghan was suddenly uncomfortable with having a life that was not her own.

On the one hand, I understand wanting to be free of it all and live by your own rules, and this step may seem necessary to avoid a repetition of the life of Diana, cut short as a result of this sort of media harassment, which, as a black woman, Megan undoubtedly has gotten a lot more of.

But was it a good resolution? In my personal opinion – no. As with any marriage, you never just marry the person, you marry the family, and that was never going to be any less true of the royals. And everyone running around screaming “good for you Meghan, do your own thing
!” isn’t really taking this into account. They’re only thinking about the couple as individuals and forgetting, that Harry comes with a family and a history that really shouldn’t have been pushed aside for a bit of comfort. Sometimes you have to stick it out for the greater good and Meghan should have been better prepared for the scrutiny and duties that her new role would involve. And it shouldn’t have been given up so easily, if not for the sake of a tradition that is older and than any of us, then for the sake of spiting those who oppose her.

But that’s just an outsider’s opinion.