Markle’s royal arrival blows lid off Britain’s glaring heritage secret

by Adilifu Fundi

Harry-Meghan-wedding-051918-by-Dominic-Lipinski-Reuters-300x169, Markle’s royal arrival blows lid off Britain’s glaring heritage secret, Culture Currents
A lip-reader has “translated” the whispers exchanged by Harry and Meghan during their magnetic gazes that viewers could see but not hear. In the moment pictured, Harry said, “You look amazing … absolutely gorgeous.” A body language expert said Meghan “was the strength” of her wedding ceremony as she appeared to be constantly reassuring Harry. “I think she probably saw it as her role to help Harry through it rather than the other way ‘round. She sat with her hand over his for quite a bit of the service as though she was reassuring him.” Meghan turned 37 on Aug. 4, and Harry turns 34 on Sept. 15. – Photo: Dominic Lipinski, Reuters

Over two months have passed since Meghan Markle’s televised royal wedding. And yes, I did look forward to her marrying England’s Prince Harry, youngest son of Prince Charles and the late, internationally loved “people’s advocate” Princess Diana. Tears actually surprised me watching the May 19 event unfold – but not for the standard idolized glitz or glorified upper crust glamour.

Britain’s notorious tabloids were mixed. Some welcomed Markle amid the “Firm’s” loosening of eternally unyielding acceptance rules. Others, guarding unreachable Eurocentric ego – and catching Harry’s wrath – were outright racist, saying she was “straight outta Compton.” Markle, born in Hollywood, went to private schools.

My fairytale scope anticipated significant doses of a broader magnificence – elements absolutely foreign in this level of restricted, well-guarded protocols. Astonishing cultural precedence might here be set, ringing well into posterity. It is the true source of what ran off with my emotions – one I feared heartland Afro-America might just sleep through – or patently ignore.

Tears actually surprised me watching the May 19 event unfold – but not for the standard idolized glitz or glorified upper crust glamour.

Markle did scratch her way up into the “celebrity aristocracy” ranks, meeting Harry through a mutual show business friend. But Markle is not the standard initiate, gaining carefree ground while not ever caring to look back. Offspring of an African-American mom and a Caucasian dad, she instead proudly declares being a “strong, confident, mixed-race woman” – staunchly affirming a Black heritage, environmentalist and feminist activist positions.

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The newest princess here promised to upset the cart – exceptionally inserting her own designs in this legendary imperial event. And for traditionalists and those distinctly relegated as outsiders, she truly did not disappoint.

St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle was packed with England’s aristocrats, including extended royal family, elite business class – local and international celebrities alike. No “politicians” were invited.

The newest princess here promised to upset the cart – exceptionally inserting her own designs in this legendary imperial event. And for traditionalists and those distinctly relegated as outsiders, she truly did not disappoint.

A wry sensation struck me, watching anticipation beam behind stiff faces of European nobility, the air palpable with the same groundbreaking anticipation I felt – their stoicism though, swollen with unsure energy, baring both dread and excitement regarding an intrusion’s possibilities – the moment quite juicy unto itself.

Doria Ragland, the bride’s mother, sat directly next to Queen Elizabeth II’s privy unit. Dreadlocks flowed in beaming glory – Afro stateliness towering in the room, a stunning sight I’ve never seen here – accentuated by a poised Ragland’s prominent, seemingly solo spot in her own section. Illness caused Markle’s father Tom to eventually bow out.

Doria-Ragland-Meghan-Markle-in-vintage-Rolls-arrive-wedding-051918-by-Oli-Scarff-300x203, Markle’s royal arrival blows lid off Britain’s glaring heritage secret, Culture Currents
Meghan and her mother, Doria Ragland, arrive at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, in a vintage Rolls-Royce. Doria, like her daughter, carries herself with dignity, presenting a sharp contrast with Meghan’s father, who, though an award-winning Hollywood lighting director who paid for Meghan’s education with his six-figure earnings plus a lottery win, has declared bankruptcy and complained he’s made no money from his daughter’s marriage. He also says he turns down paid interviews. – Photo: Oli Scarff

Emerging (from a Rolls-Royce Phantom VI – only 16 exist), Markle made her first unique statement, walking halfway alone as an independent woman to meet future father-in-law Prince Charles, who escorted her to the groom. The ceremony yielded standouts: a local gospel choir directed by Black Britain Karen Gibson gave a through-the-roof rendition of Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me,” and a mesmerizing solo was played by 19-year-old male cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason.

But the absolute gem: Markle introduced to both America and the world the Rev. Michael Curry. The first African-American ever to preside over the U.S. Episcopal Church, he affirmed being soundly grounded in Civil Rights legacy.

Rev. Curry’s 14-minute sermon did an astounding thing, flooding the space with Afro spiritual richness, inherited from an unbroken line of Black freedom fighters. Dr. King’s dissertation on “love” being the base of his presentation, Rev. Curry stated, “We must discover the redemptive power of love.”

Rev. Curry proceeded to lecture the detached governing elite on the broader powers of essential love and the critical need to move their subjective love beyond privileged inner circles to the disenfranchised they actually govern.

Then Curry offered a jaw-dropper – driving this home by actually quoting American slaves, saying even from brutal captivity Africans maintained humanity, reminding: “There’s a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole … to heal the sensate soul.”

Evoking love’s might pounded the walls, its ability to “end poverty … create new humanity … a sanctuary earth. … Imagine governments and businesses when love is the way,” there’s room for “all God’s children,” he preached, and, importantly for all – learn to “love yourself!”

But the absolute gem: Markle introduced to both America and the world the Rev. Michael Curry.

Curry’s stunning capper quoted Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, “a French Roman Catholic (England’s age-old territorial and religious enemies), 20th century Jesuit scholar, scientist and mystic” – in an Anglican Chapel. Chardin’s connection message, on humankind’s profound life-changing discovery of “fire”: “If humanity ever captures the energy of love, it will be the second time in history that we have discovered fire!”

I was astounded! Looks in the room were priceless!

Posh garb framed numerous totally rapt faces, clear captivation deeming the joint message to be remarkable. Yet some class rigid expressions still dared not to be moved. But Harry upstaged all, with pure delight sought Meghan’s eyes and simply mouthed, “Wow!”

Many think Markle’s the first Black British royal, but thanks to her arrival – compelling Anglophiles to revisit a well buried imperial secret – and diligent research by historian Mario De Valdez y Cocom, a former resident of Belize, the cat’s solidly out of the bag. And it’s huge!

Queen-Charlotte-1744-1818-with-her-two-eldest-sons-portrait-detail-by-abolitionist-artist-Allan-Ramsay-234x300, Markle’s royal arrival blows lid off Britain’s glaring heritage secret, Culture Currents
A British royal with strong Black roots who preceded Meghan is Queen Charlotte, 1744-1818, shown here in a detail from a portrait by Scottish abolitionist Allan Ramsay of her with her two eldest sons. Wife of the King George the American colonies fought a revolution to win their independence from, Queen Charlotte favored Ramsay for her portraits for his willingness to show her African features. The colonists fought not so much against British taxes as against the strong anti-slavery movement in Britain that would soon outlaw slavery there. Was Queen Charlotte’s African heritage an influence? Will Princess Meghan’s influence bring positive change to the British Commonwealth’s large Black population?

German Princess Sophia Charlotte, daughter of Prince Charles Louis Frederick of Mecklenburg and Princess Elisabeth Albertine of Saxe-Hildburghausen, was born in 1744. Back in the 13th century, Portuguese King Alfonso III had conquered the Moorish (Afro) town of Faro, winning the governor’s daughter Ouruana as a concubine.

They had three children. Their son, Martin Alfonso, married into the royal de Sousas – already flush with Afro nuptial bonds – thus merging with another Afro saturated Portuguese line.

Charlotte comes directly down this royal Black Portuguese line.

In 1761, England’s King George III – the very monarch governing when New World aristocrats seceded and created America’s United States – married Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. Queen Charlotte bore 15 children for the king.

And this: Queen Victoria (1819-1901) was the only child of George and Charlotte’s fourth son Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn. Interestingly, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Harry’s grandparents, are both direct descendants of Victoria.

It means the obvious: A vein of Afro blood courses directly down to Harry. It makes Elizabeth II’s bestowal of Duke and Duchess of Sussex understandable – and fascinating!

The very first – and only – Duke of Sussex before Harry was Charlotte’s sixth son, Prince Augustus Frederick (1773-1843). Queen Victoria’s “rebel” favorite uncle broke much protocol – the Prerogative Court annulled his two unapproved marriages, so there never was a duchess). Still, Augustus – advocating for social underdogs, the disenfranchised and parliamentary reform – as a staunch “abolitionist” – must have soared as a pioneer model for 20th century humanitarian Princess Diana, who groomed Prince Harry.

It’s no surprise that  Charlotte’s favorite portrait artist was Sir Allan Ramsay, a rigorous abolitionist. Ramsay was married to Chief Justice Lord Mansfield’s niece and was uncle-in-law to Mansfield’s ward, Dido Elizabeth Belle Lindsay, the slave child reared as a royal – whom Gugu Mbatha-Raw portrayed marvelously in the 2013 movie “Belle.”

But blazing irony never ceases: This is the same Queen Charlotte that numerous U.S. locales are reverently named after, including Charlottesville, Virginia – site of the 2017 white supremacist rally, where a Nazi terrorist, James Alex Fields, killed peaceful, anti-racist protester Heather Heyer.

The new – and very first – Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle Windsor, truly has ushered in a revolutionizing, eye-opening era, riding the new tide of acceptable adjustment in royal British standards. She is also first in declaring herself a feminist and to actually affirm her Afro heritage – in modern times.

Bishop Michael Curry now hits the ground running: A rare Black clergyman actually blisters white U.S. fundamentalists bolstering racist, dehumanizing politic – in their altering of Christ’s true intent.  Also deploring Afro ministerial silence, docility and “complicity,” Curry instantly became world renowned.

Adilifu-Fundi-marching, Markle’s royal arrival blows lid off Britain’s glaring heritage secret, Culture Currents
Adilifu Fundi marching

Yes, tears escaped me before Meghan’s entourage even headed out, riding toward history-making at St. George’s Chapel – where Queen Charlotte is actually buried. I was graced by a diligent, unflappable Diaspora – her spirit crashing through shadowy disguise to unseat heavyweight denial – inspiring my intuitive eyes to not overlook this epic, Afro legacy prize.

Renaissance man describes the professional singer, actor, dancer, educator, historian, spiritual advocate and published author Adilifu Fundi, a 25-year resident San Franciscan and native of San Diego. Trained in cross-cultural and general social repair, Fundi spent the past 42 years utilizing lectures, workshops and performance in the social trenches, aiding the Black and general American mainstream gay and lesbian, gay people of color and Black LGBTQ segments with creating viable community. He can be reached at This story first appeared on his blog, Adilifu Fundi, Renaissance Man.