The Duchess of Sussex Does Not “Need To Conform” To Some Imagined And Malleable Standard of Behavior – Part 3


Co-written and edited by Etta Ibok

In any case, Her Majesty the Queen appears to be quite happy with Duchess Meghan given the charities that she has bestowed on her, including appointing her as Vice President of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust. According to historian, David Starky, the only thing the Queen really cares about is the Commonwealth and the fact that, in less than a year as a member of the Royal family, the Queen, in effect, made Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan her ambassadors to the Commonwealth is a sign of the Monarch’s fondness for her granddaughter-in-law. [Elle]

On her part, Duchess Meghan has run her charities brilliantly and, in just over one year as a Duchess, including nine months of pregnancy and five months of maternity leave, Duchess Meghan has produced substantive and tangible results for her charities that no other royal wife can match. Two examples will suffice.

  • The Hubb Kitchen: Under Duchess Meghan’s guidance, the Women of Hubb Community Kitchen published a cookbook (Together: Our Community Cookbook), which sold 130,000 copies globally. Proceeds from the sale were used to refurbish the center, to expand services to seven days a week and widen the center’s reach to others in the community. [The Duchess of Sussex]
  • Smart Works: Recently, the Duchess of Sussex, in collaboration with leading fashion designers John Lewis & Partners, Marks & Spencer, Jigsaw and Misha Nonoo, launched the Smart Set Capsule Collection for Smart Works, a charity that

    “helps unemployed women regain the confidence they need to succeed at job interviews, return to employment and transform their lives”.Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex

  • According to a post on September 21, 2019 on the Sussexes’ official Instagram, within eight days of its launch, Smart Works received enough units from the capsule collection to support its members for a full year.

  • Outland Denim: Outland denim is not one of Duchess Meghan charities. Duchess Meghan is known to promote sustainability in her fashion choices. Not for the first time, it was recently reported that Outland Denim, a Queensland-based and ethically minded denim business whose “Harriet” jeans the Duchess wore while she and Prince Harry toured Australia in 2018, saw a 948% percent increase in traffic. With increased sales, driven by the Duchess Meghan’s stamp of approval (the “Meghan Effect”) Outland was able to open a new finishing facility in Cambodia, which provides jobs for 46 new seamstresses — women rescued from human trafficking. [Harper’s Bazaar]

These three examples, like others not discussed here, represent Duchess Meghan’s effectiveness in using her privileged platform to produce tangible, measurable, and positive results that are not subject to speculation, dispute or differences of opinion. And, outside of Great Britain, there are people who recognize Duchess Meghan’s “soft” power as an influencer and a force for change or, in the eyes of the women she met in South Africa, a “beacon of hope” for women’s empowerment. [People]

Why was she holding her pregnant bump, as if she is the only woman who has ever been pregnant?

To criticize Duchess Meghan for holding her baby bump, something most, if not all, pregnant women do at one time or the other, is just plain silly and shows just how baseless the vitriol directed at her really is.

If the Royal family had known the kind of family she had (Samantha and Thomas Markle, Sr. and Jr.) the Queen would not have given Prince Harry permission to marry Meghan Markle.

Another puerile argument that ignores reality and cold hard facts. The House of Windsor or Mountbatten-Windsor may be royal, but it is not without its own family scandals, ones that are more serious than snippings from the sidelines by two disgruntled siblings and a befuddled father struggling to accept personal responsibility for actions that led to a heart attack that, in turn, sidelined him as a mere footnote in a history-making royal wedding in which he was billed to take center stage by walking his daughter down the aisle in the traditional giving-away of the bride. The Markles pale alongside the Mountbatten-Windsors’ transgressions that include, as samplers: searing love children, infidelity (which seems to be rampant among the male members of the clan, including the most recent claim that the second-in-line stepped out on his wife and children), divorces, divorces and more divorces, selling access to a Prince, associating with a convicted and known pedophile, to mention just a few.

Duchess Meghan is often disparaged for being a divorcee. Yet, in recent times, the House of Windsor/Mountbatten-Windsor has experienced at least four high-profile divorces, including three of the Queen’s four children, two of whom went on to remarry. The royal family endured through and survived the very public and very embarrassing mess of a separation and subsequent divorce of Prince Charles, the current heir to the throne, from Princess Diana. Prince Charles subsequently married the woman who everybody blamed for breaking up his first marriage. The public seems to have forgiven and have accepted her as the first-in-line as Queen consort in-waiting. Last year, at the celebration of Princes Charles’ 70th birthday, Her Majesty, in her role as a mother, acknowledged and commended the Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla Parker-Bowles, for making her son very happy. [For more on royal family and divorce, see] If the Royal family survived its own internal upheavals and scandals, it will survive Prince Harry’s marriage to Duchess Meghan.

In Meghan Markle, the House of Mountbatten-Windsor has an opportunity to remake its image – from that of a dusty old institution, an anachronism from the past that is impervious to change and that U.K. citizens hold onto for no tangible reasons, to that of an institution whose privileged members become the vanguard of changes that are inevitably sweeping through the world as national boundaries dissolve in the global search for global solutions to the world’s most enduring and daunting problems — climate change, poverty, and women’s empowerment, to mention just a few.

Duchess Meghan brings dynamism, creativity and a strong work ethic to the Royal family. As the events unfolding in South Africa during the Sussex’s ongoing visit to that country show, the Royal family would do well to embrace and harness Duchess Meghan’s exceptionalism, as well as her and Prince Harry’s star power, towards building a new and modern dynasty that caters, and is responsive, to all its people – both those under its direct rule, as well as the other 52 countries that make up the Commonwealth of Nations.

Especially in the less developed member countries of this loose and largely voluntary association of nations, there is a thirst for change, of leadership that requires a redefinition of the role of the monarchy to that of an agent of change. As expressed by one South African female entrepreneur who met with Duchess Meghan in one of several discussion groups that she held during her current tour of South Africa, people are looking for solutions, not just “to have tea with the royals for the sake of having tea with royals”.

I don’t want to have tea with the royals for the sake of having tea with the royals. As a female founder and entrepreneur, I want to know, ‘How does a woman like her open doors?’Matsi Modise, founder of skills training company Simodisa

Female entrepreneurs in Africa, for example, want to know how to get the doors open to them. Duchess Meghan’s qualification and suitability in a leadership role as a representative of the British Crown is assessed in practical and functional terms. Because of her modest background and because she worked hard to build a successful career, Duchess Meghan is seen as someone who “can relate to the struggles of the normal person in the street who’s trying to make something of herself.” She is “a beacon of hope”, [People], and a change agent that the British monarchy can utilize to increase its relevance globally.

It is worth noting that, while Princess Diana is remembered today with great fondness, reverence and nostalgia, this was not always the case when she was alive. Just as they are now doing to her posthumous daughter-in-law, the British media hounded and fed off Princess Diana’s every real and imagined missteps. Princess Diana paid the ultimate price with her life, for the media’s inhumane and unwarranted pursuit of her. Those who support Duchess Meghan and her husband, Prince Harry, are acutely aware of this tragic history.

And, for all people of color who have drank of the British media Cool aid and believe that Duchess Meghan should conform, here’s a final thought: If African Americans, after 400 years of slavery, had left things just the way they were because “[i]t was an old establishment and that was how things were done”; if Rosa Parks had continued to conform and not refused to give up her seat to a white person; if Nelson Mandela and other Pan Africanists had not stood up and fought back against an old established system, made tough personal sacrifices and endured long incarcerations, the old, established systems would not have changed. Those in power do not voluntarily surrender the privilege that that power confers without a fight.

And that is why Duchess Meghan cannot, should not, and must not conform to some traditional, stereotypical and malleable standard of behavior to assuage her critics. Duchess Meghan may not be able to effect changes to the institutional and structural barriers that perpetuate existing national and global inequalities and oppression. But she has the experience, the passion and the platform to make a difference. As a wife, a mother, a woman and a woman of color, Duchess Meghan is an embodiment of vast possibilities, a powerful symbol that young girls can easily recognize, identify with and seek to emulate. By continuing to use her soft power and her global platform to champion and rally support for causes close to her heart, Duchess Meghan can help open doors of opportunity for those who lack the information, opportunities, and connections that in many instances make the difference between success and failure.

The Duchess of Sussex Does Not “Need To Conform” To Some Imagined And Malleable Standard of Behavior – Part 1

The Duchess of Sussex Does Not “Need To Conform” To Some Imagined And Malleable Standard of Behavior – Part 2


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10 comments on “The Duchess of Sussex Does Not “Need To Conform” To Some Imagined And Malleable Standard of Behavior – Part 3

  1. Paula

    Thanks Rachel, indeed “…information, opportunities, and connections in many instances make the difference between success and failure”. Duchess Meghan is so exceptionally hard working.
    Again I say the law suit was as perfect timed as it could be. With Meghan taking responsibility for identifying as a sister and woman of colour, with all the supportive turn out in a country vocally demanding more self reliance and with those Malawians singing her open praise of duchess of solutions, my heart beat quicken and I just felt like the conspirators would soon be throwing spears like King Saul at David. When I saw that Harry’s message, it hit me with the same surprise as seeing Archie on the tour but with different emotions. I felt like they just released another hurricane to cancel out the impending wicked plans of those heartless racists.

  2. Celine

    Excellent articles… I have read all parts and I love H and M more…. I started following the royals after Meghan came into the picture.. God knows how many times I have prayed for her…. I love her strong personality and confidence…..

  3. Rosa Dalton

    Good article. I wish someone with a talent for analysing data would compile a list of stories positive and negative about Meghan. The information would contain the reporters’ names, number of articles, publications, most used key words etc. Then no one could argue with the facts. A separate study would have to be done for Piers Morgan! I would be curious to know how often he talks about Meghan and see it in black and white. E.g does he talk about Meghan more than he talks about Trump or Brexit?
    Then there would be a table of unarguable facts that could be referred to. You could even compare coverage that other royals get compared to Meghan, using the same parameters.

    1. Yaa Boama

      A study of PM’s obsession of the Duchess would be a good case study. Maybe Meghanpedia could look into this. I am sure they will need a number of volunteers to do the counting.

  4. Amy

    Brilliant article and well articulated for readers like me who have come to love Duchess Megan after her marriage to Prince Harry. Although I knew more about Prince Harry than Duchess Megan, I have come to know her better by articles like this and joining the Sussexsquad. I feel learned do much about her and I wish I knew her before she became Princess Meghan. She has and us doing do much good for all humanity and people need to know that and be thankful and support her and her husband.Thank you for your due diligence in keeping us informed. I look forward to reading all article regarding DDOS, they are positive and well researched. Keepkeeping on keeping on.

  5. Rose

    Excellent articles. Things really started changing after the Oceania tour. Not having seen the headlines you referenced, I was none the less sure that Meghan having overshot the “normal” royal behavior on tours had scared the heck out of the palace. That is when the men in grey suits Diana talked about went into gear, plus a squad in the Cambridge camp had to have something to do with it.
    I think Harry came to realize this, that is why he has gone to great lengths to separate his and Meghan’s operations from his brother and the Palace as much as he is able.
    I too followed Meghan over when she got married, I did always like Harry, he was never dour, no interest at all in the rest.
    One thing that has been maddening is how the Palace put out statement after statement defending Andrew, the press had nothing to say about that. Harry is forced to put out a statement on his own because he sees how the wind blows and that old tired phrase of never complain, never explain is on every Journalist’s lips, talk about double standards.

  6. Marjorie Ireland

    Brilliant article. I was following HRH Duchess Meghan who was ROYAL long before she married Harry.

  7. Maureen Vaughn

    Excellent articles! The Royals were not even on my radar until Meghan. They ought to be thankful that she has brought fresh air to a stale institution. I stand with you in your effort to shine a light on this unfair treatment of OUR DUCHESS.

  8. Pingback: The Duchess of Sussex does not “need to conform” to some imagined and malleable standard of behavior - Part 2 - Meghanpedia

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