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Meghan Markle says she was not ‘treated like a Black woman’ until her relationship with Prince Harry

‘I mean, if there’s any time in my life that it’s been more focused on my race, it’s only once I started dating my husband,’ duchess says

Meredith Clark
New York
Tuesday 30 August 2022 15:41 BST
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‘I’m not from Compton’: Meghan Markle jokes about being confused with Serena Williams

Meghan Markle has spoken out about how people became more focused on her race when she started dating her now-husband, Prince Harry.

In the second episode of Meghan Markle’s podcast Archetypes, titled “The Duality of Diva”, the Duchess of Sussex and her guest Mariah Carey opened up about their mixed race identities. As the two discussed their experiences as light-skinned biracial women, Meghan revealed that her relationship with Prince Harry was the first time in her life that people started treating her as a Black woman.

“I think for us, it’s so different because we’re light-skinned,” Meghan told Carey. “You’re not treated as a Black woman. You’re not treated as a white woman. You sort of fit in between.”

“I mean, if there’s any time in my life that it’s been more focused on my race, it’s only once I started dating my husband,” Meghan replied, referencing her relationship with Prince Harry. “Then I started to understand what it was like to be treated like a Black woman. Because up until then, I had been treated like a mixed woman. And things really shifted.”

Throughout the episode, Meghan shared her praise for the pop star. As she remembered the first time she saw Carey onscreen early in the singer’s career, Meghan described the moment as “formative” to her, growing up as a young biracial girl.

“Representation matters so much,” she added. “When you are a woman and you don’t see a woman who looks like you somewhere in a position of power or influence, or even just on the screen — because we know how influential media is — you came onto the scene, I was like ‘Oh, my gosh. Someone kind of looks like me.’”

Meghan Markle has previously been open about the public scrutiny she faced because of her race early on in her relationship with Prince Harry. In last week’s episode of the Archetypes podcast, Meghan told guest Serena Williams how the media first confused her with the tennis star when they falsely reported the duchess was from Compton, California.

“This morning, I was saying to Harry: ‘Do you remember when they said, ‘Harry’s girl is straight outta Compton?’ I was like, are they talking about Serena?” Meghan told Williams. “I’m like, I’m not from Compton, I’ve never lived in Compton, my mum’s never lived in Compton but by the way what’s wrong with compton? My girl Serena’s from there.”

In 2020, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge announced they will be stepping back from their roles as senior members of the royal family. Following the news, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle briefly relocated their family in Montecito, California.

A year after moving to the US, the couple gave a bombshell interview to Oprah Winfrey, in which Meghan said she experienced racism and thoughts of suicide while living with the royal family. During the sit-down interview, the duchess revealed that there had been conversations within the palace about “how dark” her unborn child’s “skin might be when he’s born,” although she did not name who was having these conversations.

Prince Harry has also been open about the racial scrutiny his wife has faced throughout their relationship. While speaking with Oprah Winfrey for the Apple TV+ docu-series The Me You Can’t See, he expressed his fear of history repeating itself by comparing his mother being “chased to her death while she was in a relationship with someone that wasn’t white” to his relationship with Meghan.

“History was repeating itself. My mother was chased to her death while she was in a relationship with someone that wasn’t white,” Harry told Winfrey. “And now look what’s happened. You wanna talk about history repeating itself, they’re not gonna stop until she dies.”

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