#GlobalSussexBabyShower, A Good Home, Meghan Markle, Prince Harry

A Royal Surprise Pt.3: A Painful Beginning

To understand why supporters are so protective of Harry and Meghan, we have to go back to 2016.

Deesa Roberts, the Atlanta lawyer, knew nothing about Meghan Markle until October 2016.  However, she and her two daughters had been royal supporters for decades.

Blog Photo - Baby shower - Diana and sons
Credit: Kensington Palace

“When Princess Diana died, we bawled our eyes out. We felt so sad for her children, and especially for Prince Harry, who was so young to experience such a loss. I always had a soft spot for him.”

She kept track of Harry as he grew up.

“Then, in October 2016, news broke about his relationship with Meghan Markle and was confirmed in November.”

November 8, to be specific. That day, in a strongly worded statement, Kensington Palace asked British media and “trolls” to stop harassing Harry’s girlfriend.

“His girlfriend, Meghan Markle, has been subject to a wave of abuse and harassment. Some of this has been very public – the smear on the front page of a national newspaper; the racial undertones of comment pieces; and the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and web article comments.”

The “wave of abuse” didn’t stop.

Following the coverage from Atlanta, Deesa was shaken by the anti-Meghan “racism and misogyny” in the UK tabloids.  

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There are few (known) persons of colour in the British royal family. Though Queen Charlotte, wife of George III, is said to have been part-African, she’s been dead for centuries.

Blog Photo - Baby shower - Queen Charlotte - Credit National Portrait Gallery
Credit National Portrait Gallery

Meghan Markle was an anomaly.

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The attacks on Meghan Markle weren’t isolated to Britain.  Comment sections of several UK newspapers had as many American anti-Meghan remarks as British.

Deesa, meanwhile, read everything she could about Meghan.  “I sensed that she was the one for him. I felt she could handle the pressure.  She was older than his previous girlfriends and more mature; she had faced difficult issues and overcome them.

Blog Photo - Baby shower - Meghan Markle CU
Courtesy: The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust

“I decided I had to support her. I was born in Georgia and my grandfather was born in slavery.  So I’m thoroughly familiar with racism.  I recognized the attacks by some royal reporters early on. I tried to engage them and other royal watchers in respectful conversation, but it didn’t go anywhere. For my efforts, I was dubbed a ‘race warrior’.”

Blog Photo - Baby shower - Deesa CU
Deesa Roberts

Deesa’s concerns were echoed by others whom I interviewed for this series.

Mimi, also American, admired Princess Diana and felt protective of her sons after Diana’s death.

“Prince Harry was my favorite. I always rooted for him and supported his causes. I became a Meghan fan when she was with Suits. I followed her blog The Tig and admired the speech she made at UN Women. Having loved them both separately, it was a no-brainer that I’d support them as a couple.”

Blog Photo - Chris and Sparky and David
Chris, Sparky & Chris’ son David

Chris, from the US south, loved Princess Diana.  “When she died, my heart ached for Harry. Sometimes the press was so hard on him, but he truly has such a caring and loving heart. 

“When I heard he and Meghan were dating, I was thrilled.  I truly thought it was a match made in Heaven. 

Blog Photo - Baby shower - royal engagement H and M
Photos Courtesy: Kensington Palace

“From their engagement interview, to their wedding, and everything they’ve done so far, they’ve really impacted me. Their passion to help others and change the world is inspirational. I’m old enough to be their Mom (lol) but they’ve really impacted my life.”  

Blog Photo - baby shower - Melbour Australia skyline
Melbourne, Australia skyline. Credit: Wikipedia

From Melbourne, Australia, David says:  “I really believe in them as a couple and think they will achieve great things together and individually. They seem to both be driven people and that really resonates with me. Also very impressed with Meghan’s background before meeting Harry.”

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Many Sussex supporters  around the world felt they had to speak up against the “lies and vitriol” being directed at the couple on social media “and sometimes the press.”

Portia, an education assessment officer in the UK, says: “What was distressing, and still is, is the press giving a platform to trolls by using their quotes and giving press coverage to them. That I find sad. There is a need for a re-balancing of issues in the press.”

 On Twitter, Sussex fans fact-checked and rebutted reporters’ stories. Some reporters saw them as trolls who were brutally insulting, a few even “threatening”. (Author Note: I’ve seen no threats myself, but have seen many angry, and some insulting, tweets.)

As the battle waged, Sussex fans became familiar with each other through their tweets and Twitter profiles. After Harry and Meghan married and became the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Deesa says, she suggested fans call themselves The Sussex Squad.

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As organizers of the global baby shower, Sussex Squad members turned their focus to helping vulnerable people and pets through charities associated with the royal couple.

Blog Photo - Baby Shower

When people hurl online insults at the Sussexes or the baby shower,  most Sussex Squad members try to rise above it, often replying with these slogans:

“Don’t Hate. Donate”.

“Leading with Love”.

It’s a strategy of positivity and kindness. 

But they’re also strongly committed to defending the duke and duchess against the media and ‘haters’. 

Can the Sussex Squad do both things?

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Next: Moving Forward

 

 

 

 

A Good Home, British Newspapers, Journalism, Meghan Markle, Online Trolls, Prince Harry

Good on you, Online Readers

I dislike online trolls — people who write nasty, toxic comments.   And when Britain’s tabloid newspapers publish stories about Prince Harry’s relationship with his bi-racial, American girlfriend Meghan Markle, the trolls emerge from their dark places in droves.

Blog Photo - MMarkle image3

But something surprising — and encouraging — happened this week. A majority of Daily Mail readers took on the trolls and told the DM it had gone too far this time.

EXCLUSIVE: Meghan Markle’s stony-faced mother is spotted trekking to the Super Suds with her laundry as Suits actress rounds off her romantic African getaway with Prince Harry

Doria Ragland was dressed down (as anyone doing their laundry would), and we could clearly see the comforters, etc. she brought.  To some readers, this just proved that Meghan Markle was too low-class for Harry. This one is actually mild by comparison:

MyOpinionOnly, London, United Kingdom

The establishment surely cannot agree to Harry marrying her !

But this time – thank goodness — most readers were outraged at the newspaper and the trolls. Here are a few of the many reactions before the story was abruptly deleted:

Lily, York, United Kingdom

Why has this been published? This is a gross intrusion into someone’s private life. DM should be investigated and brought to account for this. It is clearly intended to attract abusive comments. DM should be reported to IPSO and should face legal action.

Summer07, Oakville, Canada

Agreed this is a despicable intrusion into this woman’s life and a terrible attempt at shaming and bullying a human being for living a normal life.

BatGirl, Bat Cave, United Kingdom

Maybe her own washing machine didn’t fit large amounts of bedding, perfectly understandable. What’s the big deal? That doesn’t make Meghan a bad daughter or this poor, harassed lady, a poor mum. We know what you’re trying to do here DM and this article only goes to show you up for the bullies you are.

DontKnowenough, Essex, United Kingdom

I don’t want to see Meghan’s mother put through hell if Meghan and Harry decide to team up for life — and don’t do it in my name. Well done, Meghan’s mum, clearly a worker – something to be proud of.

Mally, Kingston, Canada

I suppose you’ll do anything for a paycheque…. gutter press!

Frankieessex, Essex, United Kingdom

I really don’t get all the hate against Meghan and her relatives. So her mother goes to the laundrette! How is that a crime or even news? So Prince Harry is dating outside his race. So?? Love knows no boundaries- genuine love that is. I for one am pleased that Harry has chosen to follow his heart. All you haters must not ever have experienced true love to be so focussed on her race/class/colour instead of being happy for two young people apparently in love. Whatever happened to live and let live?

Rubyjas, Bridlington East Yorkshire

OMG, woman who is not related by marriage (or anything else) to the Royal family takes own clothes to the laundry…….. I am speechless.

Pn, Melbourne

Leave the woman alone.

Kati 1, London, United Kingdom

So what? Kate’s mother grew up in a council flat. We seem to have very short memories in this country. Leave this poor woman alone. At least we know Meghan will keep Harry’s sheets clean!!!

M. Erlin, Dorset coast, United Kingdom

Seems to me like this woman could teach our privileged monarchy at thing or two….. GOOD ON HER!!

NJZLeigh, London, United Kingdom

Could be that she is doing voluntary work. If it is her own stuff might be that her washing machine cannot take such big loads of bedding. Why is it degrading to do your washing at a laundromat? Good on her she appears to be a hard working normal person that goes about her life in a normal way. Harry has found a great gal, beautiful, intelligent who obviously makes him very happy who just happens to have a normal mother!

Hunterman212, London, United Kingdom

How degrading of the DM to publicise this! Her washing machine may have broken down or she might be washing her duvets in the large capacity machines. So cruel to shame her in this way!

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Well, it appears that the responsible voices won this time. I couldn’t find any record of this story on the DM website one day later, though it’s been picked up elsewhere.