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Being Royal While Black

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, pose with their newborn son at Windsor Castle. The Duchess of Sussex gave birth on May 6.
Dominic Lipinski - WPA Pool/Getty Images
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, pose with their newborn son at Windsor Castle. The Duchess of Sussex gave birth on May 6.

The Duke And Duchess of Sussex had a son.. His name is Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.

And for a royal couple, the birth was fairly private.

But (thank goodness) Prince Harry came out to address the press outside of Windsor Castle.

His take? Mostly that the whole experience was “amazing.” “How any woman does what they do is beyond comprehension, and we’re both absolutely thrilled,” he said..

Naturally, he said he was “over the moon.”

The baby is seventh in line to the British throne. But nearly a year after a royal wedding that captivated the globe, his birth marks the first multiracial baby in the British monarchy’s recent history, according to The New York Times.

But it’s more than just the “royal couple procreates” kind of story.

Carla Hall of The Los Angeles Times wondered how the baby might grow up. Just one note: this column was written before his name was released.

But will the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, whose very marriage was a break from royal traditions, break with the tradition of British royal family life and raise their boy their way? He’ll learn plenty about his royal background, being seventh in line to the throne. What will he know about his American family? He’ll know he’s royal when photographers incessantly snap his picture at events. But I’m guessing that one of his first questions to his parents will be: Am I black? The answer: Yes, you are. And if he didn’t guess it from looking at his light-skinned mother, then he need only look at his maternal grandmother, Doria Ragland, who lives in Los Angeles.

Baby Sussex, as he’s called for the moment, will have an extraordinarily privileged life. We can only hope that he will live, eventually, in a post-racial world. Still, he needs to know about what it means to be a black person in the world today. Of course, it means dozens of things. His life will largely be his to make. There is no one “black experience” — except, perhaps, a cop stopping you because you look like a suspect. I highly doubt that’s going to happen to the young Sussex.

What does it mean to have a multiracial royal? And how does one raise a multiracial baby in 2019?

We bring you the latest on the royal baby and why so many are drawn to the story of Meghan and Harry.

Produced by Stacia Brown.


Sarah E. Gaither, Assistant professor, department of psychology and neuroscience, Duke University; assistant professor, the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity

Lizzie Skurnick, Editor-in-chief, Lizzie Skurnick Books, a publishing imprint that brings classic young adult literature back into print. She is the author of “Shelf Discovery: The Teen Classics We Never Stopped Reading.”

Carla Hall, Columnist and editorial board member for The Los Angeles Times; @latcarlahall

For more, visit https://the1a.org.

© 2019 WAMU 88.5 – American University Radio.

Copyright 2020 WAMU 88.5. To see more, visit WAMU 88.5.