Meghan hails Black Lives Matter protests as she pledges to speak out

Guardian staff
·3 min read
<span>Photograph: Mark Large/AP</span>
Photograph: Mark Large/AP

The Duchess of Sussex has said she found inspiration in peaceful anti-racism protests that have taken place across the US in recent months – and now that she has returned home to California, she is looking forward to speaking out “in a way that I haven’t been able to of late”.

Meghan, who is biracial, said she had found coming back to the US during a national reckoning on race prompted by the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May “just devastating”. But she added that she found a “silver lining” in the protest movement, which gave her faith that the “tide is turning”.

“From my standpoint, it’s not new to see this undercurrent of racism and certainly unconscious bias, but I think to see the changes that are being made right now is really – it’s something I look forward to being a part of,” she said in an interview with the 19th, a new non-profit newsroom focused on reporting gender, politics and policy.

Related: Harry and Meghan's retreat is 'missed opportunity' for UK race relations

“And being part of using my voice in a way that I haven’t been able to of late. So, yeah, it’s good to be home.”

Meghan and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, moved to the US this year after announcing in January that they would step back from senior roles in the royal family, following a period marked by conflict with the British press over claims of intrusion and bullying.

Meghan is suing Associated Newspapers, the publisher of the Mail on Sunday and Mail Online, over an article that reproduced parts of a “private and confidential” handwritten letter she sent to her estranged father, Thomas Markle, in August 2018.

The Mail’s lawyers argued that five of her friends revealed the letter’s existence when they anonymously briefed People magazine – meaning it was already in the public domain and Thomas Markle had a right to respond and defend his reputation. The duchess has always insisted she did not authorise her friends to speak to the magazine.

It is not the first time Meghan and Prince Harry have spoken out on the protests and the Black Lives Matter movement. In July they said the Commonwealth, which grew out of the British empire and is headed by Prince Harry’s grandmother the Queen, must acknowledge its colonialist past, even if it is “uncomfortable”.

Related: Harry and Meghan say Commonwealth ‘must acknowledge the past’

Meghan’s latest comments were made while she interviewed Emily Ramshaw, the co-founder and CEO of the 19th, about issues of gender in media, praising the outlet’s mission.

Next week marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment, which gave women in the US the right to vote, though millions of women of color – and particularly Black women – would continue to be denied that right for decades.

Acknowledging the name of the non-profit newsroom, Meghan noted that the word “suffragette” had been pejorative when first used.

“When you look at that, and look through that lens of the power of one person’s influence in the media to be able to shape an entire movement or way of thinking … If women had their voice heard as equally, how different that would have been.”