Dear Naija girls, calm your nerves
This week was the week that we finally received the great tidings that the rakish ginger prince of the sceptred isle that is the United Kingdom was engaged to his American actor girlfriend of eighteen months Meghan Markle. Clad impeccably, the couple stood outside Kensington Palace and were all smiles announcing the news which the media had been speculating for weeks was just around the corner after what they called a ‘whirlwind romance.’
Well, in my book, a whirlwind romance is usually a four-week affair after which someone pops the question, or someone gets pregnant, or the couple elope together, riding their white steed into the sunset. Eighteen months is of course is way shorter than Harry’s brother made Waity Katie wait – a whopping nine years before he got around to going down on one knee. But alas, that’s a discussion for another day.
What I have found remarkable in the last couple of days is the Naija Twitter and Insta’s reaction to the royal engagement news, especially young Nigerian women. Amidst the debate as to what Harry marrying a biracial, Catholic divorcee signifies for the royal family, our girls have been doing party.
Let’s not blow this out of proportion, Meghan may not actually be the first bride of black ethnicity in the royal family. Some historians suspect that Queen Charlotte, the wife of King George III who bore the king 15 children, was of African descent.
Historian Mario De Valdes y Cocom argues that Queen Charlotte was directly descended from a black branch of the Portuguese royal family: Alfonso III and his concubine, Ouruana, a black Moor.
In the 13th century, “Alfonso III of Portugal conquered a little town named Faro from the Moors,” said Valdes, a researcher for Frontline PBS. “He demanded [the governor’s] daughter as a paramour. He had three children with her.”
According to Valdes, one of their sons, Martin Alfonso, married into the noble de Sousa family, who also had black ancestry. Queen Charlotte had African ancestry from both families. What’s more, Queen Charlotte, the actual first black and bi-racial member of royalty, also happens to be Prince Harry’s great-great-great-great-great-grandmother.
Queen Charlotte might not even be the first multiracial royal, either. Philippa of Hainault, a fourteenth-century Queen of England, was also rumoured to have African ancestry.
Based on this evidence, some even have gone as far as claiming Harry and Meghan may after all be relatives, several generations removed – just as laughable of course as some of our own Nigerian girls already planning aso ebi for the owambe and waiting on their invite.
Each time I see yet another Nigerian woman I deemed sensible post sweet nothings about the 2018 nuptials, I ask a number of questions, not necessarily in any order:
Why carry Meghan’s basket on top your head?
Is she your sister, aunty, long lost cousin twice separated?
Is she Naija sef?
Wetin be your own?
While I do appreciate the Issa-Rae-at-the-Emmy “I am rooting for everybody black” sentiment and it is brilliant to celebrate black excellence, snagging a prince is not an achievement. Meghan was already a successful actor in her own right as well as a passionate activist in her own right as a UN women’s advocate and a Global Ambassador for World Vision Canada. A royal marriage is just a bonus, not the end game.
Secondly, while it is okay to root for “everybody black”, stop putting it out on social media as you would with a close friend or relative. ‘Famzing’ with Banky and Adesuwa as they say their vows when you get bounced from Mr Capable’s movie premiere or your wedding invite from Adesuwa got lost in the mail is one thing, ‘famzing’ with Meghan who doesn’t know you from Eve is a whole new level beyond.
The rule of thumb is: if a person is not a blood relation or someone you’d gladly lose blood for, keep it off your social media. You can put bells on and dance in your living room, jump for joy on your sofa and punch the air, but abeg, whether it is Beyoncé’s twins or Meghan’s engagement ring or Lupita’s Oscar, refrain from posting a picture of the said person on your social media with a long caption of prayers, blessings and sweet nothings. They don’t know you like that and neither you them. As for Meghan and her royal wedding, please put the gele down and step away from the aso ebi.
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