Prince Harry’s relationship with American actress Meghan Markle has been his most public to date, so it’s no real surprise that the two are getting married next spring. But Markle is making history for being more than just the first American to enter the British royal family. She’s also the first Black woman to be engaged to a British royal.
That’s right. Markle, who was born in Los Angeles, has a white father and a Black mother and hence identifies as a mixed-race woman. That she is Black is something Markle has spoken about with pride.
The monarchy has never had a woman of color marry into the family—a designation that hasn’t been without speed bumps. Since the two started dating, Markle has been the target of racist comments in British tabloids, even causing Prince Harry to respond.
Regardless, that won’t stop Black Twitter from being excited about the engagement news. Markle represents visibility for women of color everywhere, including Black women living in the U.S.
She’s friends with Serena, Serena is friends with all of Destinys Child. That wedding is about to be so black.— Darrell (@duhraill) November 27, 2017
Some see Markle as a dream come true. She represents a fantasy many young Black girls have—becoming royalty—that’s often missing in mainstream media. That’s because Hollywood largely depicts princesses as white girls.
This is all so beautiful and I just thought about all the young girls who will grow up seeing a black princess and I- pic.twitter.com/7BgqlVj65j— captain b/addy (@firecrackerroot) November 27, 2017
We got us a Black princess ya'll. You really can't tell me a damn thing for the rest of the day because it won't matter. Shout out to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Their wedding will be my Super Bowl. pic.twitter.com/WmBnGm5AuZ— GirlTyler (@sheistyler) November 27, 2017
Guys, a American Black Woman is bout to be a Princess.— eatwords drinkstars (@akamami) November 27, 2017
No one can touch my joy today.
And while Markle would most likely have the title of Duchess of Sussex, and her rank would really be through marriage… who cares about the specifics? Black princess!
Seriously, it’s about damn time a woman of color held some power in the Western world.
A black woman will be at the topmost echelon of white European culture.— Tim Wright (@timswar) November 27, 2017
Punchedface McNazi’s gonna have a heart attack.
I wanna live in a world run by black women!#BlackPrincess— Listen to Black women (@WeTried2TellU) November 27, 2017
But amid all the hype, some Black people are pointing out that she’s extremely light-skinned. While it’s true that mixed-race people often face racism and colorism throughout their lives, Markle is white-passing to many onlookers, making some Black women question how big of a deal this really is. After all, where’s the representation for princesses with darker skin?
celebrate a black american woman becoming a princess— folu (@notfolu) November 27, 2017
without praising the monarchy itself pic.twitter.com/AteXmhhsb9
On the other hand, mixed-race women face their own everyday struggles. And Markle does, in fact, identify as Black.
So while some of the criticism is warranted, her story shouldn’t be downplayed. Markle sees herself as a Black woman and a mixed race woman of color, too. For her to enter the royal family is still amazing for women of color everywhere.