The British Royal Family has been a popular topic in the last few weeks because of the interview the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, did with Oprah Winfrey on March 7 on their experience and treatment inside the Royal Family.
Miluska Hessen Walton is a mother of two from Lima, Peru who’s lived in Fredericton for 21 years.
She said she knows a little about the Royal Family through her mother-in-law, who is British, and keeps up with the royals.
“I thought [Harry and Meghan] were open and it seemed to be an honest expression of their experiences and inner feelings about what they were living through,” said Walton.
She said the monarchy was shocked to have a person of colour in the family and the public is now even more shocked as to how they have been treating her.
Walton, who works at the All Needs special care home on the northside, said she was left speechless after hearing how the family dismissed Meghan’s mental health.
With two children herself, Walton said she knows Meghan must have felt overwhelmed as a new mother.
“I think she said that she approached some of them and they diminished it and they kind of put it down because it’s not something you talk about,” said Walton. “It’s not something that someone from the Royal Family can experience and that’s awful. She was basically asked to keep it to herself. She had to get out.”
Along with the Royal Family’s response to mental health came the response to the possibility of their first-born’s skin colour. A member of the family, who Markle didn’t name, was worried about the possibility of their baby being born with darker skin.
Hannah John, a third-year St. Thomas University student from India, said she could relate to how the Royal Family hoped baby Archie would have white skin.
“It’s definitely a post-colonial effect. When the British ruled us, they associated whiter skin with a more civilized and not-savage type of person,” said John.
She said even today, families in India hope their babies come out with lighter skin. They do special remedies and practices to better their chances. There are even popular powders and creams that can help with lightening the skin.
“Even now parents want their kids to be white and if it’s a dark child then they will get made fun of, call them ‘darky’ or whatever. Pregnant mothers are forced to eat things that will make their babies white,” said John.
People like John and Walton said they are starting to realize the truths to the Royal Family and how just like other families, they have their problems.
“This just shows that they are just as human as we are. There is nothing perfect about them,” said Walton.