Why is the royal family website downplaying Meghan Markle’s acting career?
Meghan Markle is now officially part of “the firm,” i.e., the British royal family, which means she gets her own monarchy website—except the inclusive move seems to heavily favor her charity work over her acting credits.
Following the royal wedding this past weekend, the American-born bride was added to the family’s official website. In the “about” section, Markle’s history starts with her campaign to change a sexist TV ad when she was just 11. It goes on to list her work with soup kitchens, women’s organizations, environmental groups, and refugee camps.
“I am proud to be a woman and a feminist,” reads an enlarged pull quote.
It’s an impressive resume, and no one can doubt the newly dubbed Duchess of Sussex’s commitment to social causes. She’s earned herself the title of activist and humanitarian, much like another beloved royal, Princess Diana.
But there’s one thing alarmingly absent from the many kudos lauded on Markle: her acting career. To find details on that, you need to scroll down to her “biography” page, which devotes a mere paragraph to the actress’s seven years on the USA Network show Suits. Markle, it should be noted, only finished filming Suits recently—her finale episode aired less a month ago. And yet she gets two whole lines before the narrative quickly returns to a more royal-centric cause, namely, the commonwealth.
“Whilst working on Suits, The Duchess moved to Toronto, Canada where the show was filmed; she feels very connected to Canada, as it became a second home to her,” reads the site.
Congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex! pic.twitter.com/dJR6YXEtNF
— Suits (@Suits_USA) May 19, 2018
Perhaps that was the royal family’s way of being generous. On Kate Middleton’s biography page, there is no mention of her fashion career aspirations or her time spent at British label Jigsaw. She also worked for her family’s party planning company, where she is credited with the success of their children’s line. Instead, her bio goes straight from education history to marrying Prince William.
It’s obvious the Palace wants to rebrand Meghan Markle as primarily an activist, which falls in line with royal family duties. And Markle’s charity work should in no way be diminished. But that shouldn’t have to come at the expense of a successful career that she spent over a decade cultivating. One can be both a wildly successful Hollywood actress and an activist.
Markle’s ability to snag a leading TV role was no small feat. She worked her way up from bit roles in movies and TV, including playing a “briefcase girl” on Deal or No Deal. As a biracial woman, she likely faced numerous bouts of sexism and discrimination, as demonstrated by her vocal support of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements. To have her career merely reduced to a mild mention threatens to undermine’s the Palace’s new image.
During Saturday’s wedding, the Palace demonstrated its ability to be a more modern, inclusive institution: A gospel choir sang “Stand By Me,” an African American bishop gave a rousing sermon, and Meghan eliminated the “obey” part from her vows. The couple even jumped into an electric car, a move in line with the royals’ commitment to environmental issues.
Change is coming, in small bits, for the royal family, and hopefully it will come for the way they view “the firm’s” employees. Perhaps that can be Markle’s next activist role.