Millions tuned in to view the highly anticipated royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. The lavish celebration involved the typical anachronisms of ornate hats, sexist media scrutiny of the bride’s appearance and propagandist glorification of the monarchy—all made possible through wasted government money and an unspoken history of imperialism.

Markle is an actress and activist who in many ways challenges the conventions of the crown. She is American, older than the prince, divorced and biracial. Her black heritage in particular has garnered both praise from those who see her entrance into the family as symbolic of rising racial acceptance in Britain and criticism from covert racists who can’t handle seeing a woman of color elevated to an establishment so long steeped in white elitism.

Those who call into question Markle’s identity as a black woman or believe she has no right to be in the royal family should be rightfully denounced. However, the fact that the royal family now finally has a person of color among them doesn’t absolve the monarchy from centuries of colonialism.

The royal family has made no acknowledgements or apologies for their past transgressions. Instead, they have continued to benefit from their past exploitation of others. The tradition of a royal wedding only serves as propaganda to justify the outdated existence of a monarchy. It also conveniently distracts from the truth of their long history as oppressors.

Racism and patriarchy are still deeply ingrained in the monarchy. The royal family perfectly exemplifies male privilege, white privilege and class privilege. Members of the family have not had to accomplish anything to earn their titles and power, it is all simply the result of attributes they were born with. This is not something to be revered or applauded. It’s the 21st century, why are we still giving power to people because they happen to be from a certain bloodline?

Media outlets have praised Prince Harry for his progressive outlook, as if being willing to marry outside of one’s race is somehow the pinnacle of enlightenment. However, like other royals, Harry hasn’t done much worthy of praise in his lifetime. On the contrary, he’s lived a privileged and lavish party boy lifestyle, once even wearing a Nazi uniform to a costume gala. Many have sought to diminish this offense by citing Harry was only 20 at the time of the incident. However, that is far too old to be excused for such a repugnant insensitive act. Even children understand the gravity of the holocaust and the millions of lives it claimed.

Harry isn’t the only example of bad behavior tolerated within the family. Prince Philip, his grandfather, has become notorious for routinely making offensive remarks. These include making the comments, “I would get arrested if I unzipped that dress” and “Do you work in a strip club?” to young women.

Markle is an independent woman who can live her life as she pleases but her marriage into the royal family isn’t the great step for feminism and equality it has been heralded as. Now obliged to engage in the pointless pageantry of the monarchy, Markle’s voice and activism will probably inevitably be stifled. It’s difficult to believe that she will be allowed to be very vocal about stances the monarchy holds. Rather, women in the royal family are resigned to simply smiling at cameras and waving at crowds.

Furthermore, the tradition of a royal wedding is not merely a public propagandist spectacle of what should be a personal occasion, but it is an enormous waste of money. The wedding reportedly cost $45 million in total. The majority of the expenses are security costs, an estimated $40 million. Taxpayers are footing the majority of the security costs. For Kate Middleton and Prince William’s wedding in 2011, English citizens contributed around $27 million in security fees. The people shouldn’t be forced to pay for unnecessary and frivolous weddings for already extremely wealthy elites.

The royal wedding is a ridiculous waste of time that shouldn’t be granted the immense attention and funding it receives. However, it is merely a symptom of the equally illogical existence of a monarchy in this day and age. The royal family has a horrendous history which they continue to prosper from. Obtaining Markle as their token black woman doesn’t erase their sexism, racism and continued atrocities.

 

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