Markle, who is mixed race, is marrying into a symbolic family that has so far excluded people of color.
But commentators argue that the engagement has also shed light on the racist undertones in British society, exposing how far we all still have to come.
Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff, deputy editor of online magazine ‘by women of colour’ gal-dem, said many black Brits were happy about the engagement.
But she also warned against exaggerating its significance, saying:
I think if she was darker-skinned, it would be very unlikely that she would be marrying Prince Harry.
And, in answer to those who shrug their shoulders and claim race doesn’t matter anymore, Guardian columnist Georgina Lawton pointed to the Prince’s statement condemning the “racial undertones” in press coverage surrounding Markle.
For example, this Daily Mail story said that Markle – who grew up in Los Angeles – was:(almost) straight outta Compton
Another Daily Mail piece said:
Miss Markle’s mother is a dread locked African-American lady from the wrong side of the tracks
The same article also commented on her “rich and exotic DNA” and how “the Windsors will thicken their watery, think blue blood”.
The British press continues to scream over the “VERY unlikely” engagement and Markle’s “unconventional” family.
Meanwhile, many will unsurprisingly find it hard to get excited over the upcoming marriage, even as symbolic step.
Paula Akpan, a co-founder of Black Girl festival that celebrates British women, told NBC News:
I feel like racism in the U.K. is pretty insidious.
She added that much of the objection and surprise over the engagement was to do with Markle’s race: We all know what you’re trying to say, spit it out, say it.
She cited the UK’s quiet and unique brand of racism.
Markle’s status as Prince Harry’s fiancee also does nothing to practically alleviate the unique suffering of black Britons, as Kri Kankhwende.
Citing the disparities that remain between non-white citizens and their white counterparts, Kankhwende wrote:
Consider that before hailing the dawn of a new post-racial era in the UK with Meghan Markle, who is mixed race, marrying into the Royal family.