Meghan Markle in the Media
Writer: Veronica Yung
Editor: Pat Sevikul
Graphic Designer: Pat Sevikul
TW: mentions of suicidal thoughts and racism
Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, married into the British Royal Family on May 19th, 2018. Being the first, and only, mixed-race member of the Royal Family, she has been subjected to racist abuse in the media for the past few years. This led to her and Prince Harry’s choice to step down as senior members of the Royal Family in January 2020, before announcing that they would not return on 19 February 2021.
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry were interviewed by Oprah, which was released in the USA on March 7th and on the 8th in the UK. This interview brought the treatment Markle received while in the Royal Family, both from family members and from the media to light.
Before Markle’s wedding, rumours circulated in the media that she had made Kate Middleton cry. It was revealed that it was Kate who made her cry, but ‘there was no confrontation.’ and that Kate had apologised. In response to being asked why nobody had spoken up, she replied by saying that it was a ‘good question.’ She also pointed out that the institution was ‘willing to lie to protect other members of the family, but they weren’t willing to tell the truth to protect [her and Harry].’
Markle also raised concerns about her son, Archie, not being given a security detail if he were to not get a title. There was a possibility that Archie ‘will not be given a title,’ as there were discussions about changing the ‘[George V] convention for Archie.’ The convention states that only the eldest son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales would be titled a prince, although grand-children of the monarch would be styled as prince or princess. Changing the convention would mean that Archie would not be entitled to the title once Prince Charles becomes king, unlike Kate and William’s children, Charlotte and Louis.
There were also ‘concerns and conversations about how dark [Archie’s] skin might be’ and ‘what that would mean or look like.’ These conversations allegedly were between the members of the Royal Family and Harry. Although they gave no answer as to who was raising those concerns, it is confirmed to be neither the Queen or the Duke of Edinburgh, although Markle stated that naming this person would be ‘damaging.’
The most serious issue brought up was how Meghan ‘didn’t want to be alive anymore’ as a result of her mental health getting worse. She told the institution that she ‘needed to go somewhere to get help,’ but she was refused as ‘it wouldn’t be good for the institution.’ She had also gone to the Human Resources department, but was not able to receive help from them either.
An important point made was that ‘rude and racist are not the same.’ Every person marrying into the royal family will receive unfair scrutiny and harsh judgement from the British press. For example, Kate was called ‘waily’, but the insults targeted at Meghan were completely different.
Responses in the media were different. Zac Goldsmith accused Harry of ‘blowing up his family,’ while Piers Morgan ‘didn’t believe a word of’ Meghan’s mental health problems and that she started an ‘onslaught’ against the Royal Family. His comments are currently being investigated by Ofcom, and he has left Good Morning Britain. Labour leader Keir starmer said that racism and the lack of mental health support should be taken ‘very seriously,’ while Boris Johnson refused to comment, only saying that he ‘always had the highest admiration for the Queen and the unifying role she plays.’
There are many double standards in regards to Meghan Markle and other Royal Family members.
Buckingham Palace started an investigation after allegations of Markle bullying staff, but did not open an investigation over Andrew and Epstein’s relationship and his sexual abuse allegations
In the Daily Mail, Kate was praised for holding her baby bump, as she was described as doing it ‘tenderly’, while the same publication asked ‘why can’t Meghan keep her hands off her bump?’ and criticised her by questioning whether the action was ‘pride, vanity, acting - or a new age bonding technique.’
In The Express, a headline detailed that Prince William was ‘gifted with an avocado for pregnant Duchess’ as a ‘morning sickness cure.’ With Meghan Markle, The Express chose to critique her eating avocados by saying they are ‘linked to human rights abuse and drought.’ The article itself is about how avocados are unsustainable and possibly unethical, but using Meghan in the headline has clear racist undertones, especially when compared to The Express’ article on Kate.
There have also been many racist comments made. One comment, made by Jo Marney (the ex-girlfriend of Ukip leader, Henry Bolton) stated that her ‘seed’ will ‘taint’ the royal family. Another article stated that her ‘seed’ will ‘taint’ the royal family. Another article stated that Markle had ‘rich and exotic DNA,’ and that her mother is a ‘dreadlocked African American lady from the wrong side of the tracks.’ Another was an image tweeted by Danny Baker shortly after Archie’s birth, showing a couple holding hands with a dressed chimpanzee, and was captioned ‘Royal Baby leaves hospital,’ which Baker claimed to be a ‘gag pic.’
Some media outlets are allowed ‘exclusive inside access’ to ‘official engagements of members of the Royal Family.’ These outlets make up the Royal Rota and include:
The Daily Express
The Daily Mail
The Daily Mirror
The Evening Standard
All of these media outlets are known to be right leaning to right wing outlets, which explains why the strongest abuse against Meghan Markle was from these outlets. The decision to only allow exclusive access to right wing outlets is also a questionable decision made by the institution, and further explains the racism within it.
Andrew and Epstein
Andrew and Meghan