What Meghan Markle’s Engagement Means For Us All

Like many of us, I saw it coming a mile off. But when it happened – or rather, when we officially got news of THE engagement – it was a historical moment.

2017 is the year a black woman was openly welcomed into the inner enclave of the British Royal Family. It’s a massive milestone. I almost can’t believe it, except when I see Harry and Meghan together, I can. They are in love, and no-one can deny that. You can see the chemistry popping and fizzing off them.

So, a change has come. And I feel that the ole time jazz musicians who crooned about civil-rights change, would doff their hats in reverence.

But I believe that the REAL change is that Prince Harry has chosen a self-made, successful woman. And it is in being that, that Meghan Markle has been able to transcend what’s usually possible for someone of her race. She has managed to totally obliterate so-called class structures.

When I won a place at Warwick University in 1996, I was super-happy to be going to one of the top five universities in the country. Yet, when I told a friend where I was going to study, the first thing he said was: “You do realise that there won’t be any black people there, don’t you?”

Until that moment, I hadn’t thought of it. And for the record, there were black people at Warwick (most notably an African dictator whose rule had been overthrown).

But I never let being black put me in a box, or limit where I thought I could study, or what I thought I could achieve. And I don’t believe Meghan has done so either. Otherwise, why would she accept a date with a British prince in the first place?

Meghan is someone who’s grafted, had setbacks, and taken every opportunity given to her. She’s purposeful and passionate because she has forged her own path. THAT’S the change. An independent, self-made person has the Royal seal of approval. The society set, who’ve fastidiously conformed to social norms must be wondering what has hit them. This Royal engagement has obliterated the rules.

I recently read a feature in Marie Claire magazine, that fascinated me. In it, the anonymous author explained why as a normal chap he was dating a millionaire. He wrote: “I was, equally fruitlessly looking for a happy and contented woman in a dating scene awash with bored mature students, frustrated ‘undiscovered’ actors, and depressed public-sector apparatchiks, who would tell me they were going to get started on writing their first novel ‘any day now’”.

His millionaire girlfriend was the first person he met with purpose. He explained how he’s not a penny richer since dating her, but loves having a partner with drive and energy. Of course, not everyone can be wildly successful, or stunningly beautiful. But the birthright of each of us is to live our purpose and shine our light.

I think that little girls don’t need to aspire to be princesses or to ‘marry well’. I think they need to be fully-expressed and creatively fulfilled, so that they can shine brightly and boldly. And then the life that is meant for them will unfold. And if you’re Meghan Markle, then – ironically – that life is the life of a British Royal.