LONDON — It has been a month since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced that they would “step back” as senior members of the British royal family. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex can no longer use their “royal highness” titles and will no longer receive public funds for their royal duties. The couple — he is 35, she 38 — and their 9-month-old son, Archie, have been relaxing on the west coast of British Columbia. They were recently spotted in Miami, where they attended a private function for JPMorgan and dined with Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez. There are reports that the couple are looking for a house in Los Angeles.
The British have a lot on their minds — it was only last month that the nation formally exited the European Union, ending a tumultuous 47-year affair with the Continent — but it is clear, at least from recent conversations with Londoners, that the royal couple’s departure is still fresh in people’s consciousness. For a nation that has long grappled with its identity, and with its former status as an empire, the question of race looms large.
In 2018, when Markle, a Los Angeles-born divorced former actress whose mother is African American, married Harry, the sixth in line to the British throne, some observers heralded it as a “post-racial” moment. An African American minister, the Most Rev. Michael Curry, delivered a stirring sermon. The Kingdom Choir, a British gospel group, performed “Stand by Me,” a tune made famous by the African American singer-songwriter Ben E. King.
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