Meghan Markle recounts first painful memory of racism with her mom

Meghan Markle opens up about her earliest memories of racism in new Netflix series

Meghan Markle remembers a racist encounter aimed at her mom in new Netflix doc
(Image credit: Steve Parsons - Pool / Getty Images)

Meghan Markle has shared some of her earliest memories with racism in the new Netflix docuseries, Harry and Meghan. In the clip, Meghan describes leaving a concert with her mom, Doria Ragland, when a woman in another car “screamed the N-word.” Meghan describes it as one of the first times she’d heard the word, explaining that it’s “very different to be a minority but not be treated as a minority right off the bat” – something which changed after the British media focused on her mixed-race heritage.

In Netflix’s Harry and Meghan, which released the first volume of episodes today (December 8), Meghan gets candid when talking about her earliest memories of racism.

Meghan is shown driving past the Hollywood Bowl in a moment from the second episode, and she begins explaining it’s where she had her high school graduation and the last place she went to a concert with her mom.

Looking visibly upset in the Netflix clip, a tense Meghan recalls a nasty encounter when the pair tried to leave the venue after the show.

“We were in the parking lot leaving and my mom honked, this woman was taking a long time to figure out how to get out. And the woman turned around and screamed the N-word at my mom.”

Doria Ragland with Prince Charles at Harry and Meghan's wedding

(Image credit: Brian Lawless- WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Meghan continues, “I just remembered my mom like, the grip her hand had on the steering wheel. And you could see her fist was so tight, like her knuckles got all white and she was just silent the rest of the drive home. We never talked about it.”

“I had never in my life heard someone say the N-word,” Meghan shared.

“Very different to be a minority but not be treated as a minority right off the bat. I’d say now people are very aware of my race because they made it such an issue when I went to the UK. But before that, most people didn’t treat me like a Black woman.”

On not broaching the subject with her daughter when she was younger, Meghan’s mom says, “as a parent, in hindsight, absolutely I would like to go back and have that kind of real conversation about how the world sees you.”

The context suggests that Meghan could’ve been better prepared for the intense media coverage her mixed-race heritage received in the UK. Footage shows an onslaught of headlines about Meghan – including one from Daily Mail that read "Harry’s new girl is (almost) straight outta Compton."

Meghan was not from Compton, a city in Los Angeles that became known for gang violence and the birthplace of rap groups including N.W.A. and Compton’s Most Wanted.

As the couple suggest the headlines snowballed, they touch on the advice given to them by members of the Royal Family.

Harry explains that the advice from the Palace was, “Everyone just say no comment” – a nod to the well-known mantra of the royals, which dictates “never complain, never explain.”

Harry also suggests that unnamed family members have experienced similar levels of abuse, so it was almost like “a rite of passage.” He says in the episode, “Some of the members of the family were like ‘my wife had to go through that, so why should your girlfriend be treated any differently?’”

But, as he explained, the “race element” is what made it different. Something he needed to confront for the sake of his children.

Harry says that he's “really proud” his son and daughter are mixed race, and he would want to be able to “have an answer for them” in the future when they ask him what he did about the racism their mom experienced.

Jack Slater
Freelance writer

Jack Slater is not the Last Action Hero, but that's what comes up first when you Google him. Preferring a much more sedentary life, Jack gets his thrills by covering news, entertainment, celebrity, film and culture for woman&home, and other digital publications.

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