Meghan Markle was 'set up for an incredible amount of abuse' as mixed-race woman in Royal Family

The Duchess of Sussex faced the 'devastating effects' of British colonization when she married Prince Harry, says Denée Benton

Meghan Markle 'set up for an incredible amount of abuse' as mixed race woman in Royal Family
(Image credit: Getty)

Meghan Markle faced "an incredible amount of abuse' as the first contemporary woman of color to join the Royal Family, actress Denée Benton has argued. 

Meghan Markle was 'set up' to endure the 'devastating effects of colonisation' when she married into the Royal Family, says American actor Denée Benton. 

The Gilded Age star had strong words for the British monarchy in a new interview with Tatler, suggesting that the Duchess of Sussex was destined to face 'suffering' as the only woman of color in the 1000-year-old institution. 

"Being the first and only [person of colour], you’re really set up for an incredible amount of abuse," she told the UK publication. "The system isn’t set up to support you. And I think that [because of] the lineage of the really profoundly devastating effects of colonization as it relates to the monarchy, you can’t necessarily just pop a black person in." 

Meghan Markle, who rose to fame playing Rachel Zane on the legal drama, Suits, became the Royal Family's only Black member when she wed Prince Harry in May 2018. The marriage required her to quit her Hollywood career and commit to a life of service in the UK alongside her husband and his famous relatives - a sacrifice she was initially happy to make. 

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attends day two of the Invictus Games 2020 at Zuiderpark on April 17, 2022 in The Hague, Netherlands.

(Image credit: Patrick van Katwijk/Getty Images)

However, despite fully embracing this new chapter, the duchess quickly found herself being ruthlessly targeted by the British press on a daily basis. The abusive treatment got so bad that she would later confide in Prince Harry that she was struggling with suicidal thoughts. 

In January 2020, after enduring over a year of vicious media attacks and insufficient support from Buckingham Palace, the 40-year-old fled to North America with her husband and their one-year-old son, Archie. 

The A-list couple also officially withdrew as full-time working royals, seeking to serve the Crown remotely from their new home in California instead. This request was denied, however, resulting in the Queen stripping Harry and Meghan of their patronages and redistributing them amongst the remaining members of the Royal Family. 

The Sussexes have since gone public about their ordeal as newlyweds in Britain, dropping a series of shocking revelations in their bombshell Oprah interview in March 2021. As well as claiming that the Royal Family had cut off their security, they made allegations of racism against Buckingham Palace and accused its aides of failing to help Meghan seek mental health treatment. 

Denée explains that "it requires a lot of reckoning" to avoid such abuses taking place, adding that, "Unless you’re ready to do that work, then the person who’s put in that position ends up suffering more than the changes they are able to make."

The 30-year-old also appeared to support Meghan's decision to leave the Royal Family, claiming she had just two options to cope with its problematic culture. 

"They [the people who stay] just get eaten alive or make the choice to protect themselves and [in the latter case], I’m like, power to you, sis!"

Emma Dooney
Lifestyle News Writer

Hailing from the lovely city of Dublin, Emma mainly covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health and wellness feature. Always up for a good conversation, she has a passion for interviewing everyone from A-list celebrities to the local GP - or just about anyone who will chat to her, really.

Emma holds an MA in International Journalism from City, University of London, and a BA in English Literature from Trinity College Dublin.