14:02, December 01 56 0 theguardian.com

2017-12-01 14:02:03
Meghan Markle, racial identity and British citizenship

The engagement of Meghan Markle to Prince Harry has once again raised awareness of being mixed race in 21st-century Britain. Many are keen to label her as the first black person to be included in the royal family, an untruth that is still disputed by historians, but Meghan describes herself as a proud mixed-race woman and deserves to be seen and spoken of as such.

People in Harmony has been in existence for over 40 years, supporting people of mixed race and in mixed relationships. Our members and supporters, as well as the small amount of research on this topic, consistently stress the need for mixed-race people to be seen as just that, coming from two or more racial backgrounds – all equally important. 

As we show in our soon-to-be-published report Breaking Stereotypes with Data: A Report on Mixed-Race Children and Families in the UK, children of mixed race start off in life with the same advantages and disadvantages as all children, but society still harbours views about mixed race which are potentially damaging to the emotional wellbeing of these children later in their childhoods and into adulthood.

We warmly welcome this engagement and hope, as we hoped with the election of Barack Obama, that people of mixed race will be allowed to choose their identities without prejudice.

Dinah Morley

Vice-chair, People in Harmony

Linda Bellos and Greg Williams (Letters, 29 November) are right to question our perceived notions of “race”. (The Romans, ancient Greeks and Egyptians would probably have found them hilarious.) I once knew a German woman who had a mixed-race son with a west African. She refused to refer to him as mixed-race. Nazi Germany’s beliefs about racial superiority to justify its genocide of the Jewish and Gypsy populations of Europe meant that for her – and many other Germans – the concept of race was anathema. To her he was merely the son of a German and a west African.

I would, however, challenge their perceptions of Meghan Markle as “black” or having “black skin”. As a mixed-race person with a black African mother, and who has also lived in Africa, I can categorically state that most black Africans wouldn’t regard her as black or one of their own. Markle is obviously more brown than black. She also, quite reasonably, identifies as much with her white European heritage as her black African.

Terms like mixed-race, biracial and dual-heritage have never had so much currency. Perhaps the public should, first and foremost, reflect on the fact that these are – Harry and Meghan – two people in love, and give them the time and space to develop their clearly close bond.

Will Goble

Rayleigh, Essex

Is there anyone out there who can help me? I know I’m ancient (over 70 anyway) and probably out of touch with the zeitgeist, but why is it that a young woman with no ties to this country (apart from her upcoming nuptials) can be given British citizenship while people who have lived and worked here for 50 years (‘They’ve put us through the worst heartache’, G2, 29 November) are denied this right?

Val Prior

Horndean, Hampshire

Reading your G2 article and the plans for British citizenship of Meghan Markle in anticipation of her marriage to Prince Harry, I wonder if the happy couple will find themselves at the “wrong end of an uncaring bureaucracy” which is blighting the lives of ordinary British citizens who fall in love with foreign nationals.

Corinne Boyce

Swainsthorpe, Norfolk

Congratulations to Prince Harry and his future wife Meghan – they certainly do make a beautiful modern couple, and I wish them all the best.

While Prince Harry would certainly meet the minimum income requirement, will Meghan, as a US national, have to return home to live for up to a year or even longer while her partner visa comes through, as would my non-EEA daughter-in-law if she wished to reside in this country with her British husband and their two dual-nationality sons?

Judy Clement

York

It is highly unlikely that Prince Harry will succeed to the throne. What a shame it would be if an articulate, clever and charming young women is prevented from expressing her views because she is to become his wife (She hit out at Trump and lamented Brexit. What now for Meghan Markle’s activism?, 1 December). I hope that in the 21st century she is able to continue to be who she is and that she is not silenced by outdated views expressed by some of the press.

Ann Lynch

Skipton, North Yorkshire

As an aspiring British citizen, will Meghan Markle be required to sit the complete citizenship test, including the written questions on the role of the monarchy? Or will Britannia waive the rules?

Austen Lynch

Garstang, Lancashire

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