Tennis icon Serena Williams has endorsed Meghan Markle after ex-actress Oprah Winfrey gave an explosive interview accusing the British royal family of racism and saying she was contemplating suicide.
In a lengthy interview with husband Prince Harry, Markle – also known as the Duchess of Sussex – claimed members of the royal household had raised concerns about how “dark” their son Archie’s skin would be, and revealed that at times she had suffered “didn’t want to be alive anymore.”
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The American tennis icon Williams has now spoken out in favor of her close friend.
“Meghan Markle, my selfless friend, lives her life – and sets a good example – with empathy and compassion,” Williams wrote in a message on her social media platforms.
“She teaches me every day what it means to be really noble. Her words illustrate the pain and cruelty she experienced.
“I know firsthand that the institutions for sexism and racism and the media vilify women and people with skin color in order to minimize us, to smash us and to demonize us.
“We must recognize our obligation to decipher malicious, unfounded gossip and tabloid journalism. Mental health and the consequences of systemic oppression and victimization are devastating, isolating, and all too often fatal. “
Meghan and Harry’s interview with US TV Queen Oprah represented different opinions in the UK. Some are defending the couple over their decision to go public with the alleged hardships they endured as part of the royal family.
Others – including TV provocateur Piers Morgan – have described the couple as spoiled and self-centered, accusing them of whining.
“This interview is an absolutely shameful betrayal of the Queen and the Royal Family. I expect all this hideous, destructive, selfish nonsense from Meghan Markle – but it’s shameful when Harry lets her kill his family and the monarchy like that, ”Morgan scolded on his Twitter account.
This interview is an absolutely shameful betrayal of the Queen and the Royal Family. I expect all this hideous, destructive, selfish nonsense from Meghan Markle – but it’s shameful when Harry lets her kill his family and the monarchy like that. # OprahMeghanHarrypic.twitter.com / F2QDxELSsr
– Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) March 8, 2021
Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam winner, was unsurprisingly by her friend.
The couple reportedly first met in 2010, but their friendship has developed over the past six years in particular.
Meghan was seen backing Williams from the stands at Grand Slams while tennis star and husband Alexis Ohanian attended Meghan and Harry’s royal wedding in 2018.
Williams also co-hosted Meghan’s baby shower before Archie’s birth in 2019.
In her interview with Oprah, the former Suits and Harry actress revealed that the second child they are expecting later this year will be a girl.
Williams, who has a three-year-old daughter, Alexis Olympia, referred to the news in her message of support.
“I want Meghan’s daughter, daughter and your daughter to live in a society that is driven by respect,” Williams wrote.
“Keep in your memory, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, kindness, faith, mildness, self-control. There is no law against such things.
“I’m so proud of you for being so brave. I know it’s never easy You are strong – both you and Harry. I love you. I adore you. Your friends.”
Williams’ tweet had triggered around 100,000 “likes” within a few hours and triggered further messages of support in the comments.
“As always, well said,” read one reply, while another wrote that Williams was “a role model for women.”
But, as with the wider debate in the UK and beyond, others took a decidedly opposing view.
“What systemic oppression and victimization is it exactly exposed to?” asked a Twitter user.
“God, how hard it must be today to be a royal millionaire. If she didn’t want ads, it’s not too difficult to keep quiet. But no, she’s running for attention. The only thing Meghan falls victim to is her own narcissism. ”
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