Q3 The Bad Feminists

Is Meghan Markle Bringing Modern-Day Activism to the Royal Family?

by Lottie Ennis

Traditionally, words such as feminism and modern have not attached themselves to the Royal family. With a growing feeling of resentment towards an ancient British establishment, it is interesting to see the impact that the young women who have married into the family have had on the Royals’ reputation. Although the marriage of Prince Charles and Diana was one of the most celebrated unions of its time, the tragedy of Diana’s death cast a shadow over the Royal family. During and after her marriage, Diana became a champion of human rights, fashion and pop culture; the contrast provided by the media cast the Royal family as old-fashioned, frivolous and cruel. It is interesting now to see the choices made by her two sons, Harry and William, both being active in different charities and marrying strong, determined young women. William and Kate’s wedding mirrored his parents as there was so much build-up around the special day – even a bank holiday. Similarly, Harry and Meghan had a wedding studded with celebrities who run in Meghan’s circles this time – being a successful activist and actress has introduced her to many remarkable figures, not just the Royals.

The union itself comes as something of a surprise as Meghan is American, biracial, previously married and was raised Catholic; all factors which may have stopped a Royal marriage in the past. However, the ease with which she was accepted by the Royal Family indicates some progression for a family which has often been ridiculed – Prince Phillip’s sometimes questionable and sometimes outright racist remarks in the spotlight most often. Since Meghan married Harry she has been warmly embraced by the Queen herself who has invited her mother, Doria Ragland, to Sandringham for Christmas. This olive branch demonstrates a loosening of traditions and shows that it is perhaps Meghan’s warm spirit that is creating a sense of ease within the royal household.

Meghan has embraced her role as the Duchess of Sussex wholeheartedly by retiring from acting, finishing her lifestyle website, The Tig, and deleting her social media accounts which in one way could be seen as a loss of independence. But, since marrying in May she has demonstrated that it is possible to bend the strict rules of the Royal family. Following her own fashion guidelines and displaying a very small amount of affection for Harry in public has already brought the new Duchess into focus as a fresh face of the old routine. Although the British headlines focus on the frivolous nature of Meghan’s hemlines and how her and her On her first overseas tour, she highlighted the importance of women’s suffrage in New Zealand as well as female empowerment in education in Fiji.

Although Meghan works hard to uphold her own values alongside the values of her new family, she is also working against the media of Britain which have the potential to undermine any progress she does make, by focusing on rumours of fallouts with the Queen or the estranged members of her family. It is important to remember that a lot of the news that we hear will come through an old-fashioned media filter not designed to benefit women; despite this, her willingness to travel and speak passionately to women marks her as a brave and exciting addition to her new family. I am confident that Meghan will continue to bring the modern-day activism to the family and usher in a new era of popularity which the Royal family so desperately needs.