Los Angeles – Meghan Markle, the wife of Prince Harry, paid tribute Thursday to George Floyd as protests over his death in police custody sweep the nation, and expressed support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
“I realized the only wrong thing to say is to say nothing because George Floyd’s life mattered,” Markle, who is biracial, said in a videotaped message to new graduates from her alma mater in Los Angeles, Immaculate Heart High School.
Floyd’s videotaped death on May 25 in Minneapolis — a policeman knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes — has touched off the most serious civil unrest in America since the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr in 1968.
Markle, whose father is white and mother is black, stated the names of other African Americans killed by police, such as Breonna Taylor, a medical worker shot in her apartment in March in Louisville, Kentucky, and Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy shot while playing with a toy gun in 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio.
Their lives mattered, 38-year-old Markle said, “and so did so many other people whose names we know and whose names we do not know.”
Markle and the prince now live in Malibu. In the videotape she recalls rioting that broke out in Los Angeles in 1992 after four white policemen were acquitted of charges of brutality in the beating of black motorist Rodney King. The unrest spread nationwide and left 59 people dead.
“I remember the curfew and I remember rushing back home and on that drive home, seeing ash fall from the sky and smelling the smoke and seeing the smoke billow out of buildings,” said Markle.
Markle suffered from racist attacks in Britain while she and the prince were still active members of the British royal family. They announced they were pulling back from this role in January and officially resigned in April. They first moved to Canada before settling in California.
A BBC radio presenter was fired in May of last year for posting a tweet that showed an image of the couple holding hands with a chimpanzee dressed in clothes, following the birth of their son, Archie. The caption read, “Royal Baby leaves hospital.”