DURHAM, N.H. — Buckingham Palace broke its silence around Harry and Meghan’s explosive interview with Oprah releasing a statement from Queen Elizabeth saying the issues raised, especially those of race, were “concerning.” Nicoletta Gullace, associate professor of history at the University of New Hampshire who studies 20th century and modern British history, is available to discuss the underlying historical influences around the royal family’s continued attempts to remain relevant and popular at this difficult time.
“Any parent or grandparent wants their children to be happy but this is a very unique family and some of the allegations from Harry and Meghan reveal alarming behavior,” said Gullace. “And while there are hints of history repeating itself, especially in the case of Princess Diana, the new revelations around race and mental illness have raised concerns and could impact not only the royal family’s reputation but reignite the debate around the need for a modern monarchy.”
Gullace is available to address the historical importance of a racially inclusive monarchy, the appearance of history repeating itself and the monarchy’s uncomfortable relationship with celebrity.
She points to the fact that the British Commonwealth was built around cultural and linguistic ties between Great Britain and its former colonies, which are home to millions of people of color, who have chosen to maintain sentimental allegiance to the Crown. Gullace says the failure to embrace Meghan, or to award Archie a princely title, could be lost opportunities to symbolize the monarchy’s transformation into a multi-cultural and inclusive institution.
“Meghan Markle has been a polarizing figure in the British press, winning comparisons with both Princess Diana, for her struggle with the paparazzi, and Wallis Simpson, who caused a beloved king to abdicate the throne,” said Gullace.
As for historical ties to celebrity, even though the televised interview has sparked debate, Gullace points to the irony that the queen, who professes to hate publicity and desires privacy, was the first British monarch to bring television crews into the palace. She did so to enhance the prestige of the monarchy after the second World War, allowing Britons to see her young family and to relate to them on a more personal level.