Saturday, April 13, 2019

"We Own Them," - Meghan Markle's Choice of a Private Birth

On the 12th April 2019, a video appeared on my twitter feed from the popular day-time news panel programme Jeremy Vine on 5, which featured journalist and host Anne Diamond and fellow panellists, television presenter Anthea Turner, journalist Carole Malone and writer Jemma Forte. The current topic of discussion was Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's decision to delay the announcement of the birth of their first child with respect to their privacy.

For those who have not seen the clip*, Buckingham Palace released a statement this week that the couple has decided to keep the arrival of their baby private and that they will share the news when they have had time to celebrate the birth of their child and their new family in private. This also means that she will not be posing for photos after the birth outside of the hospital which previous royals have done.

Upon discussing this Diamond, says "they are going to keep complete control of when they tell us and what they tell us," prompted by numerous "why's?" from Turner and Malone. Turner makes points about it being a "joyous occasion" and don't they want the public to celebrate with them. My response is, where in that statement did they say that was not going to happen? All they seem to be asking is for a couple of days to recover from the birth and enjoy the birth of their child. In no way are they denying any public celebration.

Malone, then audaciously, states that this decision for privacy is a "swipe" at the press because Meghan is upset at how the press has treated her. All of which I highly doubt the couple were thinking of sticking two fingers up at the press by deciding to have a private birth. Moreover, I do not blame Meghan for wanting a more private birth, we do not know how the end of pregnancy is going, she could be having a difficult time. We don't know how the birth is going to go, it could be extremely difficult and to have the announcement out there that she is in labour with people expecting to hear about it, is pressure no expectant mother should have to feel, royal or not. Furthermore, if you simply google 'Meghan Markle,' most of the news articles vilify the woman and have done since it was announced she and Harry were to be married. The press pit Kate and Meghan against each other insinuating a rivalry, no one has proof is even true and portray Meghan as this infiltrator who has made Harry do as she says. They constantly comment on her appearance, her 'outlandish' actions and have created a narrative of the 'bossy' and controlling woman. So, with this current press out to scrutinise her every move, is it no wonder that she has decided to keep the announcement of her baby private? Because I do not doubt these same outlets would go after her child, considering the Markle's African-American heritage, which has fuelled parts of these reports and online abuse.

Their overall argument is justified on the basis that we pay tax, which pays for them so as Diamond puts it "we own them," now doesn't that language sound familiar? Owning people, people as property, an incredibly poor choice of words. Because not only does it bring to the mind slave-holding language, but the ownership over a woman's body now becomes the issue. As they are essentially saying that because they pay tax they now have ownership over Meghan's body and her choice not to reveal the birth of her child. I just wonder if they talk about women's rights, and if they believe that women have the right to have control over her own body, then apply that logic here because you have no right to demand to know about the birth of another woman's child, taxes or no taxes, royal or not royal, if you are not the one having the child then you have no say on the issue.

Finally, I just wonder if this is just a Meghan thing, is it just because Meghan who has not decided to adhere to the strict royal rules and his making her own mark on what it means to be royal, who has this 'rebellious' nature, is why they are so angry about it. I just wonder if Kate, who sticks to the status quo, was to say the same thing, would the backlash be so harsh?

*link to the clip - 


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