With eyes on Meghan Markle—the duchess of Sussex—in wake of a recent interview that really got people talking about life in the public eye, I think it’s time to examine the ridiculously unfair scrutiny Markle faces in the press, British and otherwise. Quite honestly, as a woman of color in the British royal family, the bias is not in her favor, and years of racist patriarchy are destroying her in the media for no reason at all.
Over the weekend of October 18th, a documentary was aired featuring footage from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s recent African royal tour. The host of the british television channel, Tom Bradby from ITV, asked Markle how she’s doing in the face of such unfair scrutiny. This video footage almost instantly went viral, specifically on Twitter. Thousands immediately commented on the sadness visible in her eyes, and the toll that the public eye has taken on her.
The “public eye” and consistent press coverage comes with a royal title, and yes, is taxing for all that fall under its gaze, but specifically for Markle, headlines charged her with racism outweigh the scrutiny that white royalty face. This is not to say that Kate Middleton hasn’t been torn up a fair share in the press, but in different ways.
It is inherently different when occasionally, someone will point out Middleton’s outfit repetition and then proceed to speak on Markle’s “shockingly” bright color choice, or “risky” dress for a specific event. The overtones of so much of the press that surrounds Markle are divisive and racist. Society has found numerous loopholes to inadvertently hide behind their racism, and because of the disguises humanity has learned to cloak racism in, many don’t see it. Damage is still being done to Markle and her psyche without outright racist sentiments or racial slurs.
Headlines such as “How Meghan Markle tore Prince Harry and Duchess Catherine apart”, or “Breaking Down All the Rumors About Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton’s Royal ‘Feud” villainize Markle as a woman of color for no reason at all. And that lack of reason is so evident in the actual writing under these headlines, but as everyone knows, no one is reading the content. The shock value tearing Markle apart is more important to the writers than the story. The articles consist of nothing, no factual basis, and consistent speculation does nothing but tear down Markle.
In the viral interview with Tom Bradby, Markle even said “I really tried to adopt this British sensibility of a ‘stiff upper lip’. I really tried, but I think that what that does internally is probably really damaging,” which speaks to this cultural tradition to just grin and bear it, which no one should have to endure, especially at this level.
The last thing I have to add is that this is so obviously too much for Markle to handle. She is telling people she is vulnerable and having a hard time under such unfair scrutiny, specifically after just giving birth. She is telling people that this is enough, so why is no one listening? Any mom in a post partum state is vulnerable, having just gone through bringing life into the world, and to have all aspects of that magnified, blown up, oversimplified, and distributed is ridiculous. When will it become evident that tabloids and headlines are only damaging, and when will they stop?