It probably goes without saying that Michelle Obama, while one of the realest to ever assume the role of first lady, is perhaps also the most gracious. Granted, though she’s our big sister in our heads, we don’t know Obama personally, but in the face of any number of challenges, undeserved insults, and indignities, she has proven time and time again to be a better person than us, consistently taking the high road, no matter what depths others might sink to. It’s likely why she has outranked Queen Elizabeth II and everyone else as “Most Admired Woman in the World” for several consecutive years now.
So, it likely comes as no surprise that during a recent interview with Access Hollywood’s Mario Lopez to promote her new Netflix show, Waffles + Mochi (premiering Tuesday), Obama encouraged her friends and fellow Netflix moguls the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to rise above all the haters in the royal family (and the British media, and, at this point, Britain, in general). Despite the monarchy’s escalating pettiness in the wake of Harry and Meghan’s divestiture from “The Firm,” Obama hopes they remember that at the end of the day, they’re still family.
Per Access Hollywood:
Mario noted Michelle’s connection to Meghan Markle and asked her thoughts on the fallout of Meghan and Prince Harry’s bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey, in which the couple made troubling claims about their time as senior royals. Michelle, who Meghan interviewed for British Vogue in 2019, sent well wishes for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to find closure that works best for them and their future as they continue navigating their rift with the monarchy.
“My hope is that, when I think about what they’re going through, I think about the importance of family and I just pray that there is forgiveness and there is clarity and love and resolve at some point in time,” Obama added in regard to the Sussexes’ current impasse with Buckingham Palace. “Because there’s nothing more important than family.”
Speaking of family, at least one royal expert believes any claims of racism on the part of the royals are “preposterous,” because she’s not the first woman of color in the British royal family, according to Page Six.
“All of the British royals have African blood,” said socialite and author Lady Colin Campbell, who counts 2019's People of Color and the Royals and 2020's Meghan and Harry: The Real Story among several books she’s written about the Windsors.
More from Page Six:
One Black royal was Queen Charlotte, who is the focus of the Netflix series “Bridgerton,” Campbell told The Post. Born in 1774, Sophia Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz was a direct descendant of Margarita de Castro Souza, a Portuguese noblewoman who traced her line to Madragana Ben Aloandro, the North African mistress of Portugal’s King Afonso III in the 13th century. Historian Mario de Valdes y Cocom has said the depiction of Charlotte in royal paintings emphasizes her African features.
In addition to Charlotte, who was married to King George III, Campbell and other historians point to Philippa of Hainault, the wife and adviser to King Edward III. Philippa was of North African Moorish ancestry, born in northern France in 1314.
“When you take this history into consideration, accusing the royal family of racism is preposterous,” said Campbell, who also claimed “there was ‘constant intermarriage’ among both British and European royals who have ‘proportionally a large percentage of African blood,’” Campbell also maintained “there was little in the way of racial prejudice until the latter part of the 17th century, when Britain’s West Indian colonies increasingly relied on slave labor for the cultivation of sugar cane.”
“When sugar started to become more important than gold to the British community, slaves who worked the fields were dehumanized,” she told Page Six.
Umm...sounds a bit like selective memory to us, but sure, Jan. Aside from the fact that many self-identified people of European descent have a percentage of African blood, tell that to the dozens of other predominantly Black and Brown nations at some point colonized by the United Kingdom. Basically, this is the royal equivalent of “but I have a Black friend/partner/spouse/relative; I can’t be racist.”
Sorry, milady. Racist is as racist does. You can’t DNA your way out of it.
But really, why confuse this “royal expert” with facts, context and lived experience when she’s already made up her mind?
“I think Meghan Markle is…a very destructive and divisive operator who is reckless about the damage she does as long as she achieves her objectives, which are fame and fortune,” Campbell told Page Six.
Well, that’s low...but sure—let’s go high.
Updated: Tuesday, March 16, 2021, at 1:12 p.m., ET: Sorry, Michelle, but according to none other than Oprah’s BFF Gayle the King, who checked in with the Sussexes this past weekend, forgiveness may not be on the immediate horizon. Harry has reportedly spoken with brother William, and their father Charles since the bombshell interview and ahead of the unveiling of a memorial to the late Princess Diana later this summer, but as King told her co-hosts on CBS This Morning, “The word I was given, those conversations were not productive...But they are glad they at least started a conversation.”
King also reiterated claims made by Harry and Meghan, who has not been contacted by the royal family, that their main concern has been that the royal family, while expressing support and a desire to reconcile privately, has done nothing to correct the public record or in any way redeem the Sussexes’ reputation. On the contrary, in the wake of the ratings-shattering interview, Buckingham Palace recently launched an investigation into complaints made by the royal staff against Meghan in 2018—and investigation CBS confirms the Sussexes have not been invited to participate in. Furthermore, the royal family has neglected to issue any rebuttals to further denigrating coverage by the British press, which has always had “a racist slant,” as King noted.
“And until you can acknowledge that, I think it’s going to be hard to move forward,” she added. Nevertheless, like Mrs. Obama, forward movement and healing is exactly what the Sussexes desire, according to King, who acknowledged: “At the end of the day, that is Harry’s family.”
Significantly, the discussion also gave further context to Mrs. Obama’s “forgiveness” comments, as the former first lady reportedly also said: “As I’ve said before, race isn’t a new construct in this world for people of color, and so it wasn’t a complete surprise to hear [Meghan’s] feelings, and to have them articulated.” According to CBS, in full context, the forever first lady was urging forgiveness as a “teachable moment” to the world about race relations.