“Were you silent or were you silenced?”: Interrogating contemporary representations of black women in the British monarchy and royal court
This study investigates the representation of Black British women of the royal institution historically and in the present and the effects of these representations on the ways Black women are perceived. It also explores the ways Black women royals have responded to these representations. The study analyzes the mediated messages crafted by the British press as they focus on three royal women: Queen Charlotte (1761-1818), Marchioness Emma Thynn (2013- 2019), and Duchess Meghan Markle (2018-present). Using an intersectional media analysis, historical artifacts, modern retellings of history, and various articles published in the UK in both mainstream and tabloid press during the years listed, this dissertation scrutinizes coded messaging and language that frames and categorizes these women as tropes and schemas. The research includes reviews of the history of stereotypes and schemas used as an erasure strategy against Black women, as well as the impact that media has on perceptions of Black women. The findings of this analysis indicate that the misogynoir tactics of whitewashing and overshadowing the experiences of these women shed light on the ways that the British monarchy has transformed their racist ideologies to meet modern expectations. Due to these tactics, Thynn and Markle have adapted strategies of Black feminist activism and resistance to reclaim their stories and reshape how Black women are represented.