Over 17 million viewers tuned in for Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. The revelations of racism, depression, sister-in-law rivalry, and the power of the tabloids over the Royals, riveted a desperate for distraction from the ongoing pandemic. During this interactive seminar, "Megxit" and its fallout will be discussed within a larger historical context, linking it to past scandals from the Georgian era through the late 20th century and what all of these family dramas can tell us about the relationship between the media and Royalty, as well as how gender and race have shaped these scandal narratives.
This talk will focus on several Royal family scandals, from the Georgian era of the "Mad King" up to and including "Megxit" – the popular term for Harry and Meghan's renunciation of their Royal duties and departure from Britain in 2020. Following the passing of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip and Britain’s departure from the European Union, there are several factors impacting the state of the Monarchy.
Since the earliest rise of mass media, journalists and caricaturists have shaped opinions about the Royals, who in turn, struggled to present a counter-image and ensure the devotion of their subjects. Even the most virtuous of women, Queen Victoria, was embroiled in not just one but two romantic scandals, and in the 20th century, one scandal after another plagued the Royals, from Edward VII's playboy status as "Edward the Caresser" and Edward VIII's abdication to wed Wallis Simpson to Charles and Camilla's "Tampon-Gate" and Diana's tragic death in a Paris tunnel – all of these (and more) reveal the conflict between the Royals' private and lives.
Led by Professor Julie Taddeo, we will explore these public relations crises in their original timeline and in the domino effect thereafter. The racism and misogyny in the media's dealings with Markle actually have a long history, as we will see. During our time together, we will overview chief concerns about the future of the monarchy in the 21st century.
About Your Expert
Dr. Julie Taddeo is Research Professor of History at University of Maryland. Her area of expertise is Modern British social and cultural history. She has published several books on such topics as the Bloomsbury Group, Steampunk, British period drama television, and reality TV.
Not suitable for children under age 13 (sensitive content).
90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.