The Meghan Markle Debate

Sarah Harris

In January 2020, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced that they would be stepping down from their role as senior members of the royal family. The announcement came after months of scrutiny from the media, criticising almost every aspect of her life.

It was no surprise that Meghan Markle simply had enough and by stepping down from her role, she could only assume the judgment would stop, or at least hopefully reduce.

But that wasn’t the case. Since it was first announced that she and Prince Harry were dating, Markle has faced daily critique. From being slammed for putting her hands in her pockets to being told that her love of avocados was linked to human rights abuse, the Duchess of Sussex has been unjustly shamed by the media.

In mid-February, when the Sussexes announced that they were expecting their second child, critics all over the world were quick to share their views.

People simply didn’t seem to understand why the couple were choosing to share their personal views after so adamantly stepping down from their prestigious roles in hopes of a more ‘private’ life.

By no means am I a royalist. In fact, the majority of my knowledge on the royal family comes from Netflix’s ‘The Crown’ and various Twitter threads.

But since Meghan Markle joined the royal family, I’ve witnessed media platforms, and specifically certain British tabloids, hound Markle for simply existing. And that isn’t okay.

By choosing to share her news by her own accord, Meghan is reclaiming the rights to her privacy and freedom

Meghan Markle is simply a woman who fell in love. Just like her late mother-in-law, Princess Diana, I’m sure she had no idea what she had signed herself up to when she agreed to marry a member of the royal family. And despite her existing celebrity status, I’m sure she had no
idea of how much cruelty was out there.

By choosing to share her news by her own accord, Meghan is reclaiming the rights to her privacy and freedom. Privacy doesn’t mean that she doesn’t want anyone to know anything about her life. I’m sure she’s very much aware of the fact that she’ll never really be able to that.

So whether it be releasing her own pregnancy news, doing interviews with Oprah or writing articles about her struggles for the New York Times, Markle is in full control of her life.

I understand why people find it ironic when celebrities complain about the struggle of fame, but we have to remember that they are human too. It may be hard to see past the tiaras and privilege that comes with a royal title, but that doesn’t mean Meghan Markle deserves the treatment she has and still is receiving.

When Kate Middleton joined the royal family, she quickly became Britain’s sweetheart. It’s concerning that Markle wasn’t privy to the same treatment, when all she seems to have done so far is good.

Markle proved to thousands of young girls, that fairy tales do come true, and for those from an ethnic minority background, she’s been not just a role model but also an advocate for rights and equality.

Even Prince Harry stated that it was only through the experience of “living” in his wife’s shoes, that he was able to understand the true extent of unconscious racism in this country.

Seeing side by side, the treatment of Kate Middleton and other Caucasian and upper-class members of the royal family, compared to the treatment of a young, African-American woman not only makes it abhorrently clear that we still have a long way to go in tackling racism, but also shows just what a strong influence the media can have on public perception.

The death’s of so many influential figures, such as Caroline Flack, have shown us first-hand what a significant impact our words can have on an individual

Meghan Markle isn’t admirable to me because she gets to live out the life of a princess, but because despite all the adversity she’s faced, she’s still managed to remain graceful and positive.

The deaths of so many influential figures, such as Caroline Flack, have shown us first-hand what a significant impact our words can have on an individual. Doesn’t Markle deserve to be treated with the same ‘be kind’ attitude that everyone has been advocating for over the last year?

I really hope that the Duchess of Sussex and her family are one day able to live a life that isn’t subject to constant criticism. But at the same time, I’m doubtful that certain publications and tabloids will change their methods of reporting any time soon.

So, I guess, it’s on us as a community to ensure that we treat everyone, no matter their status, with the same humanity that we would expect to receive.

Sarah Harris

Featured image courtesy of  Farrukh via Flickr. Image license found hereNo changes were made to this image. 

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