Anyone who has kept track of the brewing and ever-evolving situation between the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and the UK’s Royal Family will definitely be able to recount the tensions that have grown over the years.
The latest round has seen a tell-all, intimate interview between the Sussexes and Oprah Winfrey in which the couple go in-depth on just some of the situations that transpired behind somewhat closed doors.
Yet, at the heart of this situation, there are a lot of Maltese people (or people in general really) who can take a whole lot from this situation.
It is a story about two people from different backgrounds, countries and upbringings – who together form a mixed-race family in an environment that has yet to fully understand them. If they weren’t the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, their story would be even more relatable to everyday people.
As such, for this article let’s imagine that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are in actual fact just a regular couple living in Malta. Here’s six things that would definitely happen.
1. Discussions on the baby’s possible dark skin colour
Whether we like it or not, some families will always have at least one member who is kinda racist, or at least brings up the question of ‘how dark do you think the baby will be?’ Whether it is the nanna, mother, father or brother – racial bias and bigotry always have a way of seeping in.
In their interview, Meghan recounted a conversation a member of the Royal Family brought up with Prince Harry about the couple’s first child, Archie, “about how dark his skin might be when he was born”.
For many mixed-race people, and their parents, this only furthers a sense of isolation from their families by feeling that the colour of their skin – whether it was light or dark – were factors on how ‘accepted’ you would be.
This matter is also something that should not have to be spoken about in 2021, where people should instead be able to come together and marry no matter who they may be.
2. Falling out with the entire family
Just as Prince Harry felt the fallout of members of his family distancing themselves from him in light of how his marriage with Meghan has gone, this is a very real reality for anyone in the world.
Imagine in Malta, a Maltese person decides to marry someone who is an outsider in every sense of the word. Though some families are definitely going to be open and accepting towards such things, many people in Malta are likely to experience this to some degree.
Describing himself as feeling “let down” by how his father, Prince Charles, especially reacted to the Sussexes decision in stepping back from Royal Family duties and seeking a quiet life.
Strained relations with an in-law is quite common, having a strained relationship with an in-law due to their views on your marriage and choices meanwhile is even more horrible.
3. Strengthening ties with nanna
Through all of the drama and troubles that have stormed around the Royal Family over the past few years regarding the Sussexes, one thing that is definitely good to hear is that both Prince Harry and Meghan have a good relationship with the Queen.
Noting Queen Elizabeth as being nothing but “wonderful” and “warm”, Meghan recounted a story where the two were travelling between engagements and the Queen shared a blanket with Meghan for warmth.
There have also been other stories where the Queen spent more time with Archie than any other Royal Family member when Harry and Meghan were living in Frogmore Cottage.
Welcoming someone new into the family is never easy, let alone making that person feel invited and welcome into the group. However, the amicable relationship between the Queen and the Sussexes is undoubtedly a silver lining in an otherwise stormy tale.
4. Fanfare vs reality
When it comes to the do’s and don’ts of families, we all have our own traditions – whether it is something as trivial as the number of cheek kisses you give one another or the importance of complimenting your mother-in-law’s cooking.
For Meghan, she was most surprised by the fact that curtseying is actually something that is done in the Royal family – even in private. Rather, she always thought it to be “part of the fanfare” that came with the allure of watching the Royals.
In every family, there will always be unwritten rules that must be taken into account – especially if you are to give a good first impression.
Complimenting the food you eat, having similar interests with your in-laws or even just being able to seem like you are a good fit with the existing family dynamic are all integral parts of becoming ‘part of the group’.
If you are a fan of Netflix’s The Crown, a perfect example of this sort of scenario can be found in the latest season’s episode named The Balmoral Test. It shows both how Margaret Thatcher and Princess Diana fared with their first impressions with the Royals, yet also how difficult it may be to fit in if you are simply of a very different mindset.
5. Potential mental health struggles
Mental health is a vitally important topic, one that is getting the understanding it deserves as time goes on.
Now more than ever, mental health should be a prominent topic to consider when countless people are facing depression, anxiety and loneliness (among countless other struggles) which have only been further aggravated by the pandemic.
Meghan has spoken at length about her own struggles with mental health whilst being in the Royal Family life. From adjusting to a new lifestyle that was greatly more restricted than her previous life to even all of the racism and bigotry that she felt around her.
It all culminated in Meghan feeling suicidal. Unfortunately, this issue is not something that is rare, countless people who try to integrate into a new community or family suffer greatly in their attempts to fit in and be accepted.
In Malta, some may face family members who dismiss or even outright ignore the true gravity of mental health struggles.
They may also find themselves unable to find proper help if they feel like the situation is too taboo to speak out about.
6. Gossip can spin the narrative
Whilst Malta does not have too much of an issue with tabloid news, we do have the next best thing – especially for non-celebrity figures: village gossip.
It is no secret that Harry and Meghan faced extreme media coverage about their relationship, with the British tabloids being particularly ruthless towards Meghan especially.
Their interview brought up an interesting point in terms of how gossip and even people’s view on certain figures can twist a narrative. There had been a story several years ago claiming that Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, was left in tears by Meghan in a row over flower girl dresses.
However, Meghan has come out to state that this was instead the other way around – it was Kate who made Meghan cry.
If we think about this in a ‘Maltese’ sense, we all know that gossip can distort the facts of any story – exaggerating the details and even losing integral parts of the story in the process. All of this, simply because it sounds more interesting to hear and read or even simply confirms one’s bias about a person.
A perfect example of this is your Maltese neighbour only ever replying to you in English – even if you speak to them in perfect Maltese, simply because they are convinced you are a foreigner.
When you are an outsider trying to fit into a new community, these sorts of things will definitely make you feel alienated.
The main takeaway from all of this though is that even if Harry and Meghan are, at least by title, not your average people their story can still be very relatable to people across the world.
This is especially so for Malta, we are a mixing pot of countless different cultures and ethnicities – both historically and even more so today. Yet, despite all of this Malta is far from free from bigotry and racism, and these things must change sooner rather than later.
Do you feel able to relate to this story? Let us know in the comments