The Royal Box

Pauline Nevins May 18, 2018- The Union



I had never watched the TV law drama, “Suits,” so I had no idea who Meghan Markle was. I, and the world, now know she is the young woman who, on Saturday, will marry Henry Charles Albert David Mountbatten-Windsor (aka Prince Harry), fifth in line to the throne of the United Kingdom.

What makes this announcement even more newsworthy than an upcoming marriage of a British prince would be that Ms. Markle is an American, an actress, a divorcée, and happens to be biracial — one black parent and one Caucasian one — like me.

In an interview she gave to Elle Magazine in 2015, a year before she met her prince, Ms. Markle talked candidly about growing up biracial in a non-diverse section of Los Angeles. The article, “Meghan Markle: I’m More than An ‘Other,’” is worth a read.

The Elle article begins with “What are you?” — a question often asked of those whose race is indiscernible. Meghan plays coy. She answers to a “who” rather than a “what.”

“I’m an actress, a writer, the editor-in-chief of my lifestyle brand ‘The Tig,’ a pretty good cook and a firm believer in handwritten notes.” You would think that laundry list would suffice. Instead, there’s always the follow-up: “Right, but what are you? Where are your parents from?” Meghan gives up. “I’m half black and half white.”