The Press VS Meghan Markle

By Madeleine Matthews | Sep 19, 2021

  Having initially been lauded by some as a “turning point” for the royal family, Meghan Markle’s marriage to Prince Harry has helped shine light on the flagrant racism and sexism rife in British society.

  Meghan has a strong social conscience which has been manifesting in her humanitarian work and her political activism since long before she met Harry: at 11, she successfully had a national soap ad axed from TV for being sexist; she has worked with the UN as an advocate for gender equality; she has worked with other charities such as One Young World and World Vision Canada, specifically focusing on helping the youth… The list goes on. She has also been open about her miscarriage, as were Zara Tindall and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, although Meghan was met with a far more damning response than either of them--with people even going so far as to label her an attention-seeking hypocrite. At the heart of her actions is her conviction that she “need[s] to be saying something of value” and she has been doing this ever since people started listening, creating her now-defunct website, The Tig, in order to weave in “thoughtful pieces about self-empowerment” and “dynamic women such as the Pakistani poet and writer Fatima Bhutto” alongside content about “fashion tips” and “selfies”.

  However, there has been a lack of (positive) focus on these aspects of her character. instead, people have chosen to highlight all the reasons she could possibly be inadequate for the role. She is divorced, having been married to a film producer from 2011 to 2013, which has triggered comparisons to Wallis Simpson; however, it is no longer 1936 and therefore the Church of England is not nearly so hellbent on keeping American divorcées away from our palaces. Speaking of the US, Meghan is of course an American – specifically, a Californian. Aside from the opulence, California is about as diametrically opposed to the British royals as humanly possible. The combination of informality and self-actualisation practised by those across the pond is the antithesis of the stiff upper lips and afternoon tea with which we are familiar here. All in all, this should have made Meghan a poor fit for her role, but the relaxed self-confidence curated in Californians has proved itself to be a conveniently transferable skill. Furthermore, Meghan is an actor, leading some people to believe her proximity to the royal family taints them – and yet royals and celebrities have always mingled! How could we forget Diana’s friendship with Elton John, Will and Kate’s with the Beckhams, or Andrew’s family-friendly one with Jeffrey Epstein? Seeing as all these characteristics of Meghan’s are rather normal, it is clear where the British public’s actual issue with her lies: her race.

  Meghan is biracial. This fact has attracted unwarranted attention from the tabloids, with headlines such as the infamous “(almost) straight outta Compton”, the barrage has been incessant and ruthless, even spurring Harry into releasing a statement denouncing their cruelty (and, of course, subsequently moving to the other side of the Atlantic). If one did not already believe it, it only takes a Google to realise that Meghan has been treated appallingly. YouTube comments on videos of her call her “crazy manipulative” and “toooooo fake” while Kate Middleton is “a beautiful, gorgeous woman and soul” and “a humble and gracious woman”.

  That which is most concerning about Meghan’s treatment is the lack of support provided to her by the royal family. While they could have seized the opportunity to usher in a new, more progressive era (which would have made sense even from the most calculated and unfeeling PR standpoint because of the ever-increasing awareness around social justice issues), they instead stood back and allowed her to be derided to the point of suicide ideation. Although this decision of theirs was not shocking, it is still disappointing that they would not attempt to reform, thus serving as a reminder of their perpetually heightening potential for obsolescence.