Prince Harry Is Dating A Black Girl & I Am HYPE

Photo: Courtesy of John Salangsang/BFA.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle could be dating. Until the relationship is confirmed by the palace, however, we won't really know for sure. But if this is true, I, for one, am over the moon. Yes, because Prince Harry is my favorite royal and I'm glad to see him happy — and yes, because, from the outside looking in, I think they make for a fun couple. But also simply because Meghan Markle is Black. Before you protest that someone's race doesn't matter, hear me out. Like many Americans, I've inexplicably fostered an obsession with the royals since childhood, an interest that likely began with my mother's adoration of Princess Diana. Over the years, I've unabashedly taken part in royal-wedding fever, watched for the arrival of royal babies, and harbored a crush on the hot, hard-partying, hip-hop-loving royal family member, Prince Harry. But despite my fascination, there's always been a fact that I've been aware of, hidden somewhere in the recesses of my brain: The queen, her family, and her circle are completely, 100% white. It's a fact that is as true and old as time. And while they've welcomed the Obamas and dignitaries of many backgrounds into their home, the family itself pulses with pure, lily white British blood. The unspoken truth for me has always been that while I can love the royals from afar, someone who looks like me cannot be one of them — or even get close to them. Until now. Never before has a royal dated a Black person in the public eye. Though Suits actress Meghan Markle may look ethnically ambiguous, she is proudly biracial, the daughter of a Black mother and white father. In an essay for Elle U.K. last year, she wrote about struggling with her identity growing up in Los Angeles's mostly white San Fernando Valley and how it feels when she sees unknowing Suits fans tweet their disappointment when they discover that she's actually Black. As a fellow light-skinned biracial woman, I know how tempting it can be to try to avoid the topic of race altogether or act as a chameleon to fit in — especially because expressing pride in your heritage can provoke hatred or even prevent you from opportunities. (Yes, even in our alleged post-racial America, where we have a biracial president.) While I've always been quick to declare and clarify my background even before I'm asked, I've witnessed other multiracial women deny their heritage or simply use the term "mixed" rather than outwardly claim their Blackness. So the fact that not only is Prince Harry dating a biracial woman, but one who doesn't hesitate to say that she's Black and proud feels monumental. Who knows how Prince Harry's grandmama, Queen Elizabeth, and dad, Prince Charles, are reacting to the news, if this story is, in fact, true. (I really hope Prince Harry led that conversation with, "Guess who's coming to dinner?!" Tee hee.) But if they do choose to embrace Markle with open arms — or at least stay mum (pun intended) on the matter — Harry's dating choice could mean that the world of the royals will slowly become less exclusive and more inclusive.
Come on, y'all. How dope would it be to have a Black princess in Kensington Palace? One who could help the British monarchy begin to actually reflect its people? And maybe even blast Solange's A Seat At The Table from its windows? Okay, okay, I'm getting ahead of myself. Prince Harry casually dating one Black girl doesn't necessarily signal major progressive change forever. But it is a sign that maybe, just maybe, they're taking baby steps toward shedding some of their antiquated rules and restrictions. And that maybe, just maybe, I might have a tiny one in one billion chance with Prince Harry, after all. Thanks to Meghan Markle, a girl can dream.

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