THE TRANSATLANTIC MAGAZINE
Rose, thanks for doing this interview with The American. Most of our readers are American expats who, like you, live in the UK, so they will be very interested in your story and your take on the saga of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. What is your background in the United States?
I was born in Santa Monica, CA and have spent some time living in New York prior to moving to London.
Like Meghan you're an African-American who married into the British aristocracy. How did you meet your husband, George, the grandson of a baronet?
We met at a friend's house during a shooting weekend in Scotland many years ago.
How did you decide where to live – did you both consider living in the United States?
Returning to the US was never an option for us, as we both love the UK so much, but we do go home often (pre Covid) to visit my family that still reside in California.
What was it like to step into a very different world, one of centuries of tradition and protocol?
History is the foundation that our world is built on. We can not re-write that foundation, that history. We must learn from it. England has retained so much of its past story. There are families that can trace their heritage back hundreds of years and some of these families still reside in the same homes that their ancestors lived in from over 500 years ago. Visiting these families and these homes is like rewinding the clock and stepping back in time, seeing what life would have been like in Britain in the 1500s.
As a child, I was taught that whenever I visit somewhere new, I should learn the language, understand the culture, the manners, but most importantly, to recognise and respect the differences.
As I have known my husband for many years and share mutual friends with him, I had the time to truly learn and understand his way of life before our marriage. This made it easier for me to transition into his world. He doesn't try to change me – well he does try to correct my "English," but besides that, he accepts me for me and I for him. I am not saying it has been easy. It is very frustrating when someone doesn't understand a fundamental emotion that has been instilled in you from birth by your family and your surroundings, but it is about recognising that and embracing the differences.
I think it is the same for all families, no matter the grandeur or the simplicity. We must always try to learn from each other, respect each other and grow together. My in-laws created the man who has brought me so much joy and my little darlings, how could I not love them, regardless of our differences. They will always have my utmost respect and compassion.
Did this give you a special insight into Meghan Markle's situation when she married Prince Harry?
I wouldn't say special insight, per se. Meghan married into the royal family. One of the most well-known and respected monarchies in the world. Her marriage, while for love, would be under constant scrutiny and her public life would not be that of her own. She would have to follow strict guidelines in order to represent Her Majesty the Queen. So, our situations can not be compared.
But what is the same for anyone marrying someone from a different country with different protocols is to acknowledge it will not be easy. There is something very powerful in being in the place where you grew up, it will always feel like home and when you are away from that place, you sometimes feel as though you are missing a part of yourself, your identity, and that can be lonely when one is adjusting to a new environment. But it is important to recognise that. Our lives have many chapters. Sometimes we have to let go of our old life to make room for our new one.
What did you hope for Meghan and Harry?
I remember hearing Harry say in an interview once that he was ready to dedicate his life to support the Queen and his brother and become a full-time working royal and how happy he was to find a woman that could stand by his side while he did this. I find it unfortunate that he was unable to fulfill this wish.
I, along with the majority of the world, was thrilled to see Meghan by Harry's side. The energy and excitement and the love that was shown towards them on their tours was a glimpse of all the amazing work they could have done in those roles supporting Her Majesty the Queen and eventually Harry's father and his brother. The two of them could have done so much and inspired so many. It is a shame that they felt they had to leave the UK and walk away from being working royals.
What did you think they could achieve in the UK in terms of race relations?
I remember when an article came out saying that Harry's girlfriend is "Straight Outta Compton" and went on to take a picture of her mother's house and then go on to write about the gang related statistics of Compton… I felt heartbreakingly sad for her mother and for Meghan. How awful for all involved. But when Harry stood up and wrote the letter to the press, he set a precedent. Racism is unacceptable. Abuse is unacceptable. And the Royal family will not tolerate it. The world saw this letter and still remembers the contents of the letter to this day. That letter made people understand and potentially think differently. Imagine what they could have done with the entire Royal family behind them. Imagine the minds they could have changed.
What was your reaction to their interview with Oprah Winfrey?
My mother always told me, "you don't have to always let everyone know what you are thinking." That interview reminded me of that. Family issues should stay within family and be resolved directly with the relevant family members. Our family is our blood and unless there are unlawful activities happening, one should never throw their family under the bus, much less, to the entire world. You harm one, you harm all. I really don't understand what they hoped to gain from that interview.
What do you think the long term results of that interview will be?
Her Majesty the Queen has reigned for almost seven decades. I think people will remember how she dedicated her life to service and her people. The world will remember Meghan and Harry for their Oprah Interview. It will sadly become part of their story.
Meghan has alluded to racism in the Royal Family. Have you experienced anything like that?
Not with the Royal family, but yes, racism and discrimination exists in our world. It is there in broad daylight for everyone to see. But there is a big difference between racism and ignorance.
The danger is that people who casually use the word "racist" risk diminishing the real meaning of the word and the irreparable damage it can cause.
In my mind, a racist is one that actively prevents someone from securing employment, housing, equal education, or a chance at a better life – to name a few – because they don't like the tone of someone's skin. Racism that leads to death, abuse, humiliation, rejection or terror is what defines this for me. Anyone who prevents a person from enjoying their basic human rights because of their skin colour, is a racist and I have had people, from all parts of the world, use racism to harm me in this way.
It is important to remember that we have the freedom to feel and say what we think, but not at the detriment of others. As long as our thoughts and opinions do not cause harm or disadvantage to other people, then we should be able to enjoy our simple liberties in life and say and feel what we think without the risk of being called a "racist."
A lot has been said about ‘someone' in the Royal Family asking about the skin tone of Meghan and Harry's baby. What did you feel about that?
African Americans ask this question all the time for different reasons than someone who is European American. The question is rooted in our past and how people are treated in society based on the colour of their skin, but I am hopeful that the next 2-3 generations will have moved on from this conversation and the question will no longer be relevant. But I don't think it was meant in a derogatory way. I would imagine it was asked to have a better understanding of what this child's life may be like considering we live in a world that for some odd reason, the inhabitants of it care about the tonality of skin colour.
Do you think that Meghan and Harry have done the right thing, moving to California and out of the ‘working' Royal Family?
Only Harry and Meghan know what is right for them, but if something is triggering you to have suicidal thoughts, it is best to seek professional help and take a step back to work on your mental health. Family is everything and we must be in a good mental state to be there for the ones we love and nothing should stand in the way of that.
Do you have any advice for African Americans marrying into a white British family?
I don't think it has to do with colour. I think it first has to do with being American. Americans are very different from a cultural standpoint. We see the world differently than those in the UK and I think it is important to recognise those differences. It will save many marriages and jobs.
In the US, we are open, we like to talk, share everything we are thinking and dream big. In the UK people are more reserved, humble and conservative in their approach to their dreams. Acknowledging these simple differences can make all the difference. But we are one race. The human race and the reality of the situation is that the tonality of our skin tone has nothing to do with our differences. My advice would be to recognise that and not create a divide between you and the person you love based on a man-made theory that anyone with common sense knows is a failed theory.
Finally, what's the best thing about being Rose Hulse?
That I don't give up on people. I forgive and I forget. I love getting to know people and giving them a chance to get to know me, no matter their past.
Rose is a successful entrepreneur in her own right. She launched super aggregator ScreenHits TV that lets consumers integrate their existing streaming apps - such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, STARZPLAY, Disney Plus, into one easy to use platform.