Meghan says she was only ‘treated like a black woman’ after dating Harry

The duchess has released the second episode of her podcast, which features singer Mariah Carey.

Laura Elston
Tuesday 30 August 2022 16:39 BST
The Duchess of Sussex 'wasn't treated as a black women until she dated Prince Harry': 'Things really shifted'

The Duchess of Sussex has told how she only began to understand what it was like to be treated like a black woman when she started dating the Duke of Sussex.

Meghan, in conversation with pop superstar Mariah Carey for her Spotify podcast, said her relationship with Harry led to more focus on her race than before.

The American former actress was the first mixed-race person to marry a senior British royal in centuries when she wed Harry in 2018.

Harry and Meghan on their wedding day (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
Harry and Meghan on their wedding day (Dominic Lipinski/PA) (PA Archive)

The duchess, who quit as a senior working royal two years ago, sparked a royal crisis with her Oprah interview in 2021 when she accused an unnamed member of the royal family of making a racist comment about her son Archie’s skin tone before he was born.

Her latest comments came the day after an interview with The Cut in which she suggested her children had been referred to by the “N-word” by the media.

Discussing the royal rota, the long-established press system that covers official events involving the monarchy, Meghan said: “Why would I give the very people that are calling my children the N-word a photo of my child before I can share it with the people that love my child?

“You tell me how that makes sense and then I’ll play that game.”

Chatting with singer Carey in the Archetypes episode on divas, they discussed their mixed-race heritage, with the duchess saying: “It’s very different because we’re light-skinned.

“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.

“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.”

Carey added: “But that’s an interesting thing, a mixed woman, because I always thought it should be OK to say I’m mixed, like it should be OK to say that, but people want you to choose.”

Meghan replies: “Yes”.

Carey told Meghan about her childhood, saying: “I didn’t fit in, it would be more of the black area of town, or then you could be where my mum chose to live… the more white neighbourhoods and I didn’t fit in anywhere at all.”

Meghan replies: “Yeah. I understand that.”

Mariah Carey appeared on Meghan’s podcast (Matt Crossick/PA)
Mariah Carey appeared on Meghan’s podcast (Matt Crossick/PA) (PA Archive)

The pair also compared stories about their hair when they were younger.

Meghan said: “Because my hair is so curly and it’s so, so thick, I just remember as a child – because my mum’s black – and so my grandma Jeanette would do my hair, she’d go, ‘Just hold on to the sink’.

“And I would grip my little hands on both sides – so you would have no luxury of being tender-headed because she would take the brush and just go whoosh, whoosh.”

After a discussion by feminist studies academic Dr Mashinka Firunts Hakopian about divas, Meghan said: “It’s interesting, isn’t it? This idea of power, of a person acquiring power and then needing to be taken down, and how that corresponds to the usage of the word.”

In her controversial interview with The Cut, Meghan said she had been told there was the same jubilation in South Africa when she married Harry as there was when Nelson Mandela was freed from prison.

She added that “just by existing” she and Harry were “upsetting the dynamic of the hierarchy” before they stepped down as senior working royals.

The duchess also said she had made an “active effort” to forgive the royal family, “especially knowing that I can say anything”, and saying: “I’ve never had to sign anything that restricts me from talking.”

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