The British Royal Family reportedly turned down an invite to former Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s daughter, Lilibet Diana’s, christening in the U.S. The couple stepped down from their royal duties three years ago in 2020, relocating first to Canada and then to southern California. The choice to step down was rooted in Markle’s negative treatment from the U.K. press, which was heavily rooted in anti-Black racism.
The couple’s decision to step down alone was controversial, but things took a turn first in 2021 when Markle first spoke out about the racism she experienced within the Royal family in an interview with acclaimed host Oprah Winfrey.
Markle received widespread support from the Black community at the time of the interview, but continued to face mounting criticism from the U.K. press and onlooking Brits alike. Some went as far as to accuse her of fabricating her story for public sympathy.
Nearly a year later, Harry and Meghan dropped a Netflix docuseries about their relationship and experiences at the palace. Harry & Meghan first hit the streaming giant on December 8, 2022, and the second part was released a week later. The series offered a more intimate look at how the world-famous couple met, and the mental health struggles that Markle endured due to the global scrutiny of their relationship.
Following the documentary, Harry went on to release his now notoriously detailed memoir, Spare. The memoir received mixed reviews, with some critics and readers praising it for its inside look at the late Princess Diana’s life, and others criticizing it for its inclusion of petty details of brotherly quarrels with Prince William.
It was revealed in the Netflix series and memoir that filmmaker and playwright Tyler Perry offered sanctuary in his home in California for the couple while they sorted out their post-royal life. Perry is the Godfather of the couple’s second child, Lilibet Diana. Now, some British tabloids accuse Perry of forcing the couple to christen his Goddaughter in the states so that the Royal Family would be unable to attend. Despite the unfounded accusations, the American press is praising Perry for his participation in the ceremony.
#TylerPerry is the best!! Tyler got the Gospel Choir replaces the Royal bunch!😂😂 pic.twitter.com/9fx3Mc71Jc
— #SussexSpartanMegHive🇬🇧 (@KajolMomento) March 8, 2023
The couple shared a photo of their daughter in honor of the celebration. Notably, Harry’s brother, Prince William, his wife, Princess Kate, their three children, and their father King Charles III of England were not in attendance.
Congratulations to Prince Harry & Princess Meghan on the christening of their daughter Princess Lilibet Diana🤍 pic.twitter.com/RIvPns59pl
— 𝑺𝒖𝒔𝒔𝒆𝒙 𝑪𝒐𝒎𝒎𝒖𝒏𝒊𝒕𝒚 𝑬𝒗𝒆𝒏𝒕𝒔 (@SussexEvent) March 8, 2023
The decision not to attend came after months of criticism from the American press and social media, and Harry’s damning anecdotes in his memoir. Many feel that Perry and the couples’ other close friends have become their found family in the states.
Prince Harry and Princess Meghan’s real brothers… pic.twitter.com/Y2EdljeF9a
— Efuru II ® ™ (@realfranzprusse) March 8, 2023
Lilibet’s christening came just days after news broke that Harry and Meghan were asked to vacate Frogmore Cottage, which is on the property of Windsor Castle. The couple reportedly knew about the eviction prior to Harry’s release of Spare, but the news broke to the public more recently.
Markle still remains the target of criticism, a phenomenon that many feel is tied to misogynoir, a term coined to describe violence, discrimination and general mistreatment of Black women. In his last comedy special, controversial comedian Chris Rock even poked fun at Markle, believing that she should have known about the U.K.’s racism problem. Rock went as far as calling the British Royal Family “The O.G. Racists.”
Prince William and Princess Kate are yet to address the christening through their estate’s official social media accounts. It is likely that this will simply remain a family affair.