The Duke and Duchess of Sussex continue to prove they’re ushering in a whole new era for the royal family.
On July 6, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle celebrated the christening of their son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor with a private ceremony at Windsor Castle. Although the couple opted not to share the names of their son’s godparents with the public, they did release two photos taken by photographer Chris Allerton to commemorate the occasion.
While the intimate, candid moment between Markle, Harry and their son has stolen the hearts of royal watchers, it’s the official royal family portrait that’s making history for being the first royal christening portrait to feature a person (or people!) of colour.
In a posed photo taken in the Green Drawing room, the Duke and Duchess are joined by Markle’s mother, Doria Ragland, who stands next to the Prince of Wales and one of Princess Diana’s sisters, Lady Jane Fellowes. Other extended family featured in the portrait include Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Princess Diana’s eldest sister, Lady Sarah McCorquodale.
Royal watchers took notice of the significance of Ragland’s presence (and of course, her daughter’s), taking to social media to praise the Sussex family for embracing both backgrounds.
“Doria Ragland is stunning,” one person wrote. “Every time a royal photo comes out and she's in it, she's just perfect. Meghan and Doria know how groundbreaking their blackness is and they are changing history unapologetically and gracefully.”
“Joy is me every time I see Doria Ragland in an official royal photo,” another shared. “I mean. JOY!”
The monumental photo celebrates the diversity of the royal family and is a continuation of the celebration of Markle’s (and now Archie’s) mixed heritage. The Sussex royal wedding in 2018 was a seminal moment in history to have Markle, a woman with an African-American mother whose ancestors were owned as slaves, marry and hold a title in the most powerful royal family in the world that traditionally, was white.
The wedding and subsequent portraits were the first step in breaking the not-so invisible race barrier of the royal family. With Archie’s christening photo and Doria’s presence as a proud grandmother, the young royal will be the first to be raised with parents who will undoubtedly integrate and honour Markle and Ragland’s African-American history.