The world can’t seem to stop talking about the latest royal wedding. On Saturday, May 19th, 2018, Prince Harry, sixth in line to the British throne, married American actress Meghan Markle. Why can’t we stop talking about it? One of the reasons is Meghan’s moxie.
Everything about Meghan differs from what one might expect for the bride of England’s most eligible (former) bachelor. She’s American. She’s biracial. She’s older. She’s been married once before. She’s an actress. She’s the product of a family with complicated dynamics.
The intense public scrutiny surrounding Britain’s royals is enough to crush even those who check all the “right” boxes. It takes moxie to step into the role when you seemingly don’t. Meghan has displayed that moxie since her engagement to Prince Harry was announced months ago, and from the looks of things will carry on her new duties as the Duchess of Sussex with that same moxie. Here’s how I see Meghan’s moxie shining through:
Moxie starts early.
Young Meghan first landed on camera at the tender age of 11, but it wasn’t as an actor, it was as an activist.
Young Meghan was troubled by the not so subtle sexism of a commercial for dish soap. She kicked off a letter writing campaign to the product’s manufacturer and several other powerful people advocating for a change to the commercial. Her campaign was successful, and it landed young Meghan an interview with noted journalist Linda Ellerbee on Nick News.
It wasn’t the world’s last glimpse of Meghan’s activism on behalf of women. She began serving as an Advocate for Political Participation and Leadership through the United Nation’s women’s office in 1994 and has been featured as a speaker for International Women’s Day for UN Women in New York City. Her activism on behalf of women will continue among other charitable endeavors, according to the Duchess of Sussex’s official website.
The crown is inherited, and so is moxie.
Much has been made of Doria Ragland’s moxie. Seated solo on the bride’s side of the cavernous chapel, the mother of the now-Duchess radiated joy as her eyes brimmed with tears. Resplendent in a soft green custom suit and matching hat, Ragland’s free spirit also shone through to the billions watching.
Ragland raised her only daughter largely on her own. She earned her license as a social worker at the age of 61 and works primarily with the elderly. She’s also worked as a yoga instructor, and she and her daughter have frequently been spotted out and about with their matching yoga mats.
Ragland has appeared a peaceful, supporting presence throughout her daughter’s career, and throughout the engagement and wedding. People with moxie don’t need to draw attention to themselves. The stand comfortable in their own right, and allow others to shine, too. Like mother, like daughter it would seem. Moxie clearly did not skip a generation in this family.
Moxie extends grace.
When the royal engagement was announced, Meghan endured much racism, both outright and thinly veiled. A politician in the U.S. was kicked off Twitter for posting a picture of Meghan with blackface crudely superimposed. The queen’s cousin, the Duchess of Kent, wore a blackamoor brooch – a jewelry piece heavy with racist symbolism – to her first meeting with Meghan.
People have certainly been disinvited from family affairs for less, but in this case, the Duchess of Kent remained on the guest list. She apologized profusely for her poor judgment and promised to retire the piece from her jewelry collection.
Nobody would have blamed Prince Harry and Meghan for shunning the Duchess of Kent, but they extended grace and welcomed her to their happy day. People with moxie have the power to stand up for what’s right in a way that’s redemptive.
Even the most hardened heart had to soften just a bit witnessing the royal wedding. As I watched, I had the strong sense that these two are deeply in love, and committed not only to each other but to making the world a better place. That’s going to take some moxie. I wish them well.