Although it may be hard to believe, it is less than three years since Meghan Markle exploded on the world stage and her relationship with Prince Harry went viral for the first time (it was November 2016). But in that short time, Meghan, now the Duchess of Sussex, has become the foster child of what racist, hateful women and emotional harassment look like on a global scale.
Meghan’s early days with Prince Harry came with your usual media treatment: reporters dug through her life, looked under every rock, interviewed everyone and everyone she had ever met, and followed her every move. But things took a dark turn when her past marriage, her biracial background, and even the living conditions of her mother Doria Ragland became part of the coverage. A cheerful DagMail article detailed the gang activity at Ragland’s house, while Meghan’s average American upbringing was compared to Harry’s chic lifestyle.
Since then, the constant and insane tabloid coverage of all the things Meghan has made has kept the fire going. Anonymous royal “insiders” painted her as a bride’s zilla for the royal wedding; rumors that she was a demanding boss earned her the nickname of the “difficult duchess”; suddenly she was responsible for the gap between Harry and Prince William; and most importantly, she supposedly waged a comprehensive war with the potential future queen of England – Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. In short, if the monarchy were to collapse tomorrow, it would be a mean Meghan standing on the axis of centuries of British rule. An American, a former actress, a divorced person who will write history if she puts the first biracial royal on the throne … troll on everything they could.
Unfortunately, things have not been delayed since Meghan and Harry revealed her pregnancy at the end of 2018. In fact, they have only gotten worse. Meghan is defamed for almost every decision she has made as an expectant mother, from her shoes to the way they rock her pregnant belly. And that doesn’t even mention the conspiracy theory that she pretends to be pregnant.
The list of attacks is as absurd as it is absurdly long, and it has become so grotesque that a lot of megafigures of celebrities from Meghan and Harry have defended themselves in the media. George Clooney and Oprah Winfrey spoke about the character of the duchess and the harmful and unfair treatment she received from the press and the public.
But Meghan is not the first royal woman to fall victim to this type of treatment. Kate Middleton, Sarah Ferguson and the two daughters of Ferguson, Princess Eugenie and Beatrice, have all experienced a fire test in public. Not to mention how nasty Princess Diana has hunted most of her public life and what Meghan’s stepmother, Camilla, Duchess of Wales has experienced before her happy ending with Prince Charles.
In addition to nearly two decades of negative tabloid presses of the same sexist fashion as Meghan’s, Kate Middleton has also endured the added stress of having her naked body splashed over the tabloids. Even after dragging French tabloid Closer to court for publishing topless photos of her on a 2012 holiday to France, Kate’s bare bottom was then photographed after a gust of wind blew up her dress during a royal tour of Australia in 2014. The photos were immediately published in the German newspaper Bild. One would think that Kate Middleton has earned enough respect to get better treatment now, but no: the Duchess is currently involved in a scandal claiming that Prince William cheated on her while she was pregnant with Prince Louis.
Fergie’s short-lived marriage to Prince Andrew, Queen Elizabeth II’s third child, was full of rumors of infidelity, attacks on her spending, and worst of all, insulting body shake when the media called her “Duchess of Pork.” After her divorce in 1992, it became even worse after paparazzi published photos of a topless Fergie with American banker John Brian.
Fergie and the daughters of Andrew, Beatrice and the newly married Eugenie, have weathered similar storms. Apart from the constant nasty shame of their bodies, the sisters were also turned into a meme after the marriage of great cousin Prince William to Kate Middleton in 2011. The experience led the princesses to anti-protest activism, a case with which they work closely. This day.
With so much experience of bullying – and acknowledging that the attacks on Meghan have a much more sinister and racist undertone – why don’t the Windsor women come to Meghan’s defense? Why do they remain mothers?
The short answer is that the same priceless royal protocol that keeps them from defending themselves also binds their hands to Meghan. Inflicted in centuries of rules, the monarchy is nothing without its customs and code of conduct. But if you look closely, there are significant signs that the whole family (but especially the younger generation of members of the royal family) has gathered around their newest family member – sometimes tacitly breaking the royal tradition and at other times catching the equivalent of a fire . under the rulebook.
Aside from the rare but powerful verdict of Kensington Palace that condemns hateful statements about Meghan, the royal family has also announced new guidelines on social media behavior that threaten trolls with legal action if they continue to flood the social channels of the palace with negative comments . Then Kensington Palace did the unthinkable and denied rumors about a feud between Kate and Meghan, something they refused to do when Diana and Fergie were accused of the same.
In a family that has everything to do with optics, Prince Charles of Ragland’s cordial and warm treatment on Harry and Meghan’s wedding day, as well as the fact that he beamed with joy as he walked his future daughter-in-law halfway down the aisle. And with every appearance on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, fellow royal family, especially the women, can be seen as extremely warm and engaging with the duchess.
And, of course, who could forget the most important moment of all: Meghan and the gigantic party of the queen during their first solo function together. Images of the two members of the royal court, who talked and laughed, went viral, dispelling all doubts about how the surviving British monarch thinks about her granddaughter.
With the upcoming arrival of Baby Sussex, there are no doubt rumors and accusations that are becoming even more personal and painful. And as long as a rigid system controls every word from Kensington Palace and Frogmore Cottage, Meghan and the rest of the royal family will have to turn a blind eye to most of what is being said about them. But not all intimidation will be swept under the carpet; Meghan and Harry lead the rest of the family, making it crystal clear what they will tolerate and what they don’t stand for. And the rest of the royal family is right behind them.