The Uproar Over Meghan Markle’s Curtsy Jokes Reeks Of Modern Day Colonialism

Those who accused the Duchess of Sussex of racism clearly missed the point of ‘Harry & Meghan’.

In episode two of the long-awaited Harry & Meghan documentary, Meghan Markel revealed the intimate moment when she met Prince Harry’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II.

In the scene, we see Meghan point fun at herself by dramatically recreating the first time she curtseyed in front of the late Monarch.

Meghan explained that the process of curtsying to someone was foreign to her as an American, although her over enthusiastic attempt saw her butcher the whole thing.

It’s an inconsequential moment, especially given the gravity of the allegations and revelations made by the Sussexes, and should’ve been taken at face value for what it is: comedic relief.

However, social media has started a firestorm, accusing Meghan of racism and disrespecting British traditions and customs. 

“Why is it ok for Meghan to mock our culture in this way? Or does racism only work one way?” wrote British columnist Sarah Vine on Twitter.

“Rude Meghan Markle mocking the Queen and British Monarchy. Her appalling behaviour is an embarrassment to the royal family, and the United States as well. Meghan is burning bridges on both sides of the Atlantic,” added British conservative commentator Nile Gardiner.

These are just a few examples of the barrage directed at Meghan on social media over the recreation.

People mocked her intelligence, claiming that she must be naïve and is choosing to act dumb by not knowing the proper protocols of a country she isn’t a citizen of.

As Meghan explained in Harry & Meghan, there is no ‘school for soon-to-be princesses’ to learn the protocols of being a royal. The Crown, albeit fictional, does a wonderful job at showing how jarring joining a family that has traditions and customs older than most institutions really is.

Meghan’s entry into the royal family was a baptism by fire. However, in her attempts to make a jovial remark about how awkward things were for her, she’s seemingly opened herself up to accusations of treason.

One columnist even remarked that the scene was an attack on the late Queen. But let’s make it clear, she wasn’t being disrespectful, impolite or uncouth, she was simply a woman telling her truth. Something that she was unable to do whilst in the royal family. 

Political rights activist, Dr. Shola Mos-Shogbamimu, summarised what the racist rhetoric actually signifies. “White people claiming ‘racism’ is Caucacity on steroids. Always revealing,” she wrote.

“Meghan was mocking herself here but sure make this about British culture like the Brits created ‘curtesy’ and the ‘bow’ – Colonial Mentality.”

As actress Holli Dempsey added on Twitter, “if you watched the Harry and Meghan Documentary and learned about empire, this country’s gutter press and the utter tragic injustice of the Stephen Lawrence case…and all that rattled you was M’s self deprecating BOW…You are the issue.”

The royal family, whether you like it or not, is an establishment within itself. There’s a reason it’s called ‘The Firm’, after all. Their rules and regulations aren’t modern, and the family itself acknowledges it.

“How do you explain that to people, that you bow to your grandmother and that you would need to curtsy, especially to an American? That’s weird,” Prince Harry explained in the docuseries.

What is obvious, however, is how far the tabloids will go to spin Meghan into a villain. Her apparent failure to know the proper protocol to them is an innate act of  being anti-monarchy.

Sure, the royal family have their own traditions, but it’s also worthy noting where these traditions came from.

You don’t have to like Meghan Markle, but you don’t have to call her a racist for being unfamiliar with traditions she’s not accustomed too.

Related stories