As I’m based in the UK, the biggest story of the past few weeks (for better or worse) has been Meghan Markle and Prince Harry leaving the Royal Family to pursue their own future independently and with “financial self-sufficiency”.

Meghan Markle has openly shared her discomfort in being part of the Royal Family, with a recent interview with ITV News showing her holding back tears. She’d said it is a “very real thing to be going through behind the scenes” and replied “yes” when asked if it’s “really been a struggle” and she’s “not really ok”. When asked this, she caught public sympathy when she’d said “not many people have asked if I’m OK”. So, this move for independence wasn’t the biggest surprise for sympathisers.

Author and mental health advocate Matt Haig has hit the nail on the head via Twitter, saying that “I think Meghan Markle is an inspiration to anyone who has ever been bullied. You don’t have to put up with bulls**t because it is ‘expected’ or because it is ‘part of the job’ or it ‘comes with the territory’. Live your life in accord with your own terms, not the terms of haters.”

The couple were no strangers to tabloid bullying, no doubt with race relations a part of that. Prince Harry himself had written about the “human cost to this relentless propaganda, specifically when it is knowingly false and malicious, and though we have continued to put on a brave face – as so many of you can relate to – I cannot begin to describe how painful it has been”. Along with many other reasons they have chosen to move towards independence, the treatment by the media of a inter-racial couple in the limelight inevitably has had a huge impact on their mental health.

What Meghan and Harry have done in granting themselves independence is (hopefully!) going to inspire girls, who often look up to princesses around the world to see that they can be more than their expected roles. Even more, it shows that it is ok to leave situations that are harmful.

-Chloe Turner
Volunteer and Instagram Manager
Girl Museum Inc.

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