It’s no secret that Meghan Markle has been hounded by the media, especially since her marriage to Prince Harry. So much to the extent that on the 8th of January 2020, the couple announced that they would be taking a step back from being senior members of the royal family, which includes the loss of their titles as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Despite the shameful treatment of Meghan by the press, people seemed to be shocked that they decided to make this move.
The way the media has treated Meghan has been nothing short of abominable, and leaving behind their roles in the royal family is the smartest move Meghan and Harry have made. What makes the media’s treatment of Meghan even more shocking is that they do not treat Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, anywhere near as atrociously, which begs the question- is this a race issue? Undoubtedly yes.
You only have to compare headlines about the two women to see the shocking differences in media opinion of them. The Daily Mail wrote about both Kate and Meghan holding their baby bumps. For Kate this is seen as a ‘tender’ moment, yet for Meghan she is labelled as ‘vain’ or ‘acting’. The media even goes as far as to say Meghan would put Princess Charlotte’s life at risk. Both Kate and Meghan had lilies at their weddings, which the Guardian notes for Kate’s wedding ‘follows royal code’. Yet when Meghan used lilies the Express wrote that lilies are ‘toxic’ and put their ‘bridesmaids’, including Princess Charlotte, lives at risk.
If you search ‘Meghan Markle’ into Twitter, many of the top tweets that come up are negative. People calling her a ‘bully’, ‘trashy’, ‘messy’, and yet no one actually has any explanation for why they believe it. Her hair doesn’t always fall perfectly, but does anyone’s? That doesn’t warrant the name calling on Twitter or branding her ‘trashy’. One such tweet says she is ‘a bully’ ‘manipulative’ and ‘a social climber’, yet there is not a drop of evidence for it. Meghan was famous before she met Prince Harry and had to give up her acting career, so you can hardly call it a career move. Having now left the royal family she doesn’t even get a financial gain. And at no point has Meghan ever done anything to warrant being called a ‘bully’ or ‘manipulative’.
Prince Harry was 12 years old when he lost his mother. The press, just as they do with Meghan, vilified Princess Diana right up until her death. And by right up until her death, I mean that literally. Princess Diana died when the car she was in crashed in Paris as it was chased by the paparazzi. Photographers even took pictures of her in her last moments. The 9th Earl Spencer, Charles Spencer, who was Diana’s younger brother noted she was ‘the most hunted person of the modern age’. It is no wonder then, having lived through the press’ treatment of his mother and her sudden death that he should want to remove his wife and child from the same hunting ground before he loses his wife and his child loses his mother.
Before marrying Prince Harry, Meghan was a successful actor and was on Suits from 2011 to 2017. She is outspoken when it comes to feminism. For International Women’s Day in 2019, she spoke on a panel at King’s College London. She speaks out about equality, lack of education in less fortunate countries, especially for women, and the negativity of the press. She strives to empower, do good and be good.
In Elle, 2016, Meghan said:
With fame comes opportunity, but it also includes responsibility – to advocate and share, to focus less on glass slippers and more on pushing through glass ceilings. And, if I’m lucky enough, to inspire.
Meghan doesn’t abuse her fame. She didn’t join the royal family for a career push or the fame that it brings. She married a man she loves. She uses the platform she both had before and that has been pushed further into the spotlight to speak about the important things and make a change. She isn’t narcissistic or manipulative. She fell in love with a man very much at the forefront of the media and she has been vilified relentlessly as a result. Now she wants to inspire others and live her life without receiving abuse.
When doing the research for this article I wanted to find other articles that were positive about Meghan, yet I struggled. The articles certainly are there, but they appear mainly on blogs that you have to really look hard for. Even when the media isn’t commenting negatively on her, it’s only to say that there are more negative than positive headlines about her. I’m writing this article just over a week after the tragic suicide of Caroline Flack and the influx of #BeKind tweets, yet the disgusting tweets and headlines about Meghan Markle are still appearing every day.
Not only do we need to strive to do better, we need to be better. We need call out the media for their vilification and racism, and we need to actually ‘Be Kind‘, rather than just hash-tagging it.