Article by Sarah
Edited by Joaquin
Visual by Solenne
The recent Oprah interview with Prince Harry and Megan Markle has left the topic of the British Royal Family on almost everyone’s minds. By now, anyone captivated or even slightly interested in the tumultuous saga of how Prince Harry and Meghan Markle went from a fairy-tale wedding to the abdication of their titles will be familiar with the many bombshells that were dropped over the course of the interview, broadcast on March 7.
In the interview, Meghan Markle revealed many of the aspects that had led her to become so emotionally desolate that she “didn’t want to be alive anymore”. Most were aimed directly at Buckingham Palace, and while it was a one-sided version of events, one can assume that both the palace and the media treatment of Markle could only be called to fault.
When Meghan arrived in the palace, the public commended her, and anticipated her being a refreshing change of pace to the homogenous palace as a successful, biracial woman. It seemed that with her presence, she would usher in a new era reflective of the current standards of modernity and diversity.
However, soon after her wedding, Markle became the victim of slandering, vicious media attacks by tabloids such as the Daily Mail. In comparison to headlines commending her sister-in-law, Kate Middleton, she was lambasted for the same action; one headline called Kate’s eating of an avocado a “morning sickness cure”, while the other linked Meghan’s avocado to human rights abuse and drought. Markle stated in the interview that they were driven away from their royal roles by a British press she decried not only as threatening, lying and intrusive but overtly racist.
They recalled how the paparazzi began to invade the privacy of both Meghan and her family, employing abusive tactics in order to find out more about them. “Some of it has been hidden from the public,” explained the prince, who detailed the legal battles to keep defamatory stories out of papers, paparazzi harassment of Markle’s family, bribes offered by tabloids to every close friend of Markle in her life.
The media situation with the Royals draws parallels with what had happened with Princess Diana decades before, who died in a car crash fleeing from paparazzi. Diana had appeared with almost exhausing regularity on the front pages of the newspaper, hounded and harassed. Similarly, she had been pitted against her sister-in-law Sarah Ferguson in the tabloids, leading to the collapse of their friendship and Diana’s revelation of feelings of alienation and isolation from the royal family. Diana’s own mental health concerns were subsequently ignored by the royal family and the institution which supports it.
The media scrutiny of the royal family is, and has always been, intrusive and a parasite on the family’s potential public influence. The media has gone beyond their reach to denigrate and, essentially, glut on the couple’s star power. It is a small hope that British media will learn from their mistakes with Diana and the couple, but it may just be that history will repeat itself once more.