Megxitting the Firm
Race, postcolonialism and diversity capital
in Running the Family Firm
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This chapter focuses on Meghan Markle’s introduction into the Firm in 2016, through to her and Prince Harry’s ‘resignation’ in 2020. Media and public commentary of Harry and Meghan’s wedding in 2018 seemed to position it as a feminist, post-racial, meritocratic utopia, as Meghan’s identity as a biracial, divorced, self-identified feminist American actor with a working-class background was seen to diversify the monarchy and illustrate its progressive values. If, as this book argues, royal figures serve particular purposes to reproduce the institution, this chapter reads representations of Meghan as a form of ‘diversity capital’, extending and diversifying the Firm’s markets. It discusses Meghan in terms of the ‘post-racial’, and how Meghan’s racialised identity is absorbed into ideologies about both localised progress within the Firm and inter/national multiculturalism. I expose these narratives as false, due to the Firm’s own histories of inequality and oppression, the current global context, and because Meghan’s initial absorption into the Firm was dependent upon her fitting white, upper-/middle-class norms of respectability.

Using the colloquial reference to Harry and Meghan’s resignation as ‘Megxit’, a play on ‘Brexit’, I argue that public and media responses to Meghan are entangled in wider socio-political debates about race, nation, imperialism and nostalgia. Representations of Meghan confront the Firm with longer, complex, intersectional histories of racism, (post-)colonialism, voice(lessness), servitude, media and celebrity, genealogy, gender, feminism, capital accumulation, social injustice and inequalities. Rather than resolving royal histories through ‘progressive values’, representations of Meghan seem to have merely pulled these inequalities into view.

Running the Family Firm

How the monarchy manages its image and our money

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