When Harry met Meghan (got married, had a baby, and “Megxited”): Intergroup anxiety, ingroup norms, and racialized categorization as predictors of receptivity to interracial romances

Jenny Paterson*, Gordon Hodson, Rhiannon N. Turner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite being frequently met with disapproval, interracial romantic relationships have the potential to transform intergroup relations through marriage and children. However, relatively little is known about the receptivity to these important intergroup relationships. Capitalizing on three historical events involving a world-famous interracial couple, Prince Harry and Meghan, we expand the intergroup relations literature by longitudinally and cross-sectionally examining White Briton's perceptions and receptivity to interracial romances. Study 1 (N = 585) showed that intergroup anxiety around the couple's wedding was longitudinally associated with less receptivity to interracial dating and less favorable intergroup attitudes a month later, even when controlling for strong autoregressive paths. Study 2 (N = 402), conducted around the birth of the couple's son (Archie), found that intergroup anxiety (negatively) and favorable ingroup norms (positively) were longitudinally associated with receptivity to intergroup romances and favorable intergroup attitudes a month later in statistically conservative tests. Study 3 (N = 507), conducted at the time of the so-called “Megxit,” cross-sectionally found that media exposure to Meghan was positively associated with favorable ingroup norms which was, again, related to positive intergroup outcomes. However, these associations were suppressed by the perception that Meghan had tainted the Royal Family which was, in turn, negatively associated with the intergroup outcomes. Moderation analyses across the studies revealed these associations were often stronger for those who categorized the biracial Royals as more Black (vs. White). Together, the novel research highlights the often-complex perceptions and longitudinal predictors of interracial romances and does so in historic social contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Applied Social Psychology
Early online date30 Oct 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Oct 2023

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