November 29, 2022

DCTRS

Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

Michelle Obama hopes royal family grows from Meghan debacle

For Michelle Obama, the former Meghan Markle’s experiences at Buckingham Palace — particularly her account of how she encountered racism within the royal family — didn’t come as a shock.

In a Tuesday interview with NBC’s “Today” show, the former first lady recalled what it was like to be in the public eye and offered words of hope for the British monarchy.

In a conversation with Oprah Winfrey earlier this month, Meghan and husband Prince Harry discussed why they decided to step away from royal life in 2020. Because Meghan is biracial, they said, unnamed members of the royal family raised “concerns,” while she was pregnant with Archie, about the baby’s possible skin color.

When asked what ran through her mind as Meghan described that experience, Obama said that public service was a “bright, sharp, hot spotlight, and most people don’t understand it — nor should they.”

“The thing that I always keep in mind,” she added, “is that none of this is about us. In public service, it’s about the people that we serve.”

“What about when she talked about how she experienced racism?” TV host Jenna Bush Hager asked.

“Race isn’t a new construct in this world for people of color,” said Obama. “So it wasn’t a complete surprise to sort of hear her feelings.

“The thing I hope for and the thing I think about is that this, first and foremost, is a family,” she added. “And I pray for forgiveness and healing for them so that they can use this as a teachable moment for us all.”

Obama is among a string of public figures who’ve backed Meghan following her bombshell interview with Winfrey. Beyoncé posted a photo of herself and Meghan on her website, accompanied by a message that read: “Thank you Meghan for your courage and leadership. We are all strengthened and inspired by you.”

The palace, meanwhile, issued a statement a few days after Meghan and Harry’s Oprah interview. “The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning,” it read. “While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family — privately.”