On 19 May 218, the wedding of Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle took place at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.

Over 29 million Americans watched the royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, a monumental event that serves as a lens into modern British politics.

Over 29 million Americans watched the royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, a monumental event that serves as a lens into modern British politics.

Royal weddings are always a spectacle: over 20 million Americans watched Prince Charles and Kate Middleton’s marriage a few years prior. Royal weddings are much like the Olympics or the Superbowl—an extravagant holiday that everyone watches closely. But this royal wedding is a little different. Meghan Markle, an American-Catholic raised in Los Angeles, is far from a typical English duchess. She’s also biracial—her mother is African-American, her father Caucasian—and is an actress most known for her work on the television drama, Suits, facts British media latched onto once she began dating Prince Harry. Meghan Markle is even more than an American, Catholic actress. She’s a divorcee, a commonly known taboo amongst the royal family. Until about 20 years ago, it was illegal for anyone within the British royal family to marry someone who had been divorced. Her marriage status only adds to the pervasive controversy surrounding her status as a royal.

Beyond the controversy, Meghan doesn’t act like most royals, either. Even as a child she was an activist—in grade school, she wrote letters to a soap company that had released a sexist ad about washing dishes. She embraces her biracial status, starring in PSAs about slurs and ridicule directed her way, and constantly speaking about the racial incidents her mother has faced. She’s traveled to Rwanda and India to promote clean drinking water and girls’ education, but there’s more. She’s called President Trump an outright misogynist, posted photos of Londoners protesting the Brexit decision and spoken openly about the #MeToo movement.

She’s a vocal, confident activist, a woman-of-color, and now, a member of British royalty. When British press found out she was dating Prince Harry, they spoke of her with such racist rhetoric that Prince Harry publicly announced that the press’ “racial undertones” and “waves of abuse” against Meghan Markle were unacceptable. In a country that recently voted to leave the EU, likely due to xenophobic, anti-refugee ideology, it’s easy to see how many could oppose Meghan’s induction into the royal family.

Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Theresa May, as the leader of the British Conservative Party, has passed numerous anti-immigration policies and has a strong relationship with President Trump, who has passed and promised similar policies. Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s marriage, in a sense, is a blatant confrontation of that ideology: a union that reflects a changing royal climate.

The wedding was a historic spectacle, too. The ceremony involved a sermon by Bishop Michael Curry, the first black presiding bishop of the Episcopal church, who discussed Martin Luther King Jr., slavery, and the central theme of love. An all-black gospel choir sang “Stand by Me,” and the ceremony closed with a performance of Etta James’ “This Little Light of Mine,” a popular civil rights song.

Firmly different, progressive, and current, the royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle shows a new side of the royal family. The new royal couple is determined in their activism, something unheard of within the British royal family. Considering the political climate as is, introducing someone as steadfastly political as Meghan Markle into the British monarchy is certain to shake things up.

Grace Jin

Grace Jin is a student at Yale University. She’s a multi-time national champion in debate and is passionate about intersectional politics from the perspective of Generation Z.

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