On May 19, 2018, all of Britain rejoiced and cheered for the newlyweds, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. After their ceremony at the Westminster Abbey, they were greeted by hundreds of well-wishers while a great deal of A-list celebrities wished luck and happiness to the newlyweds. Thousands of tabloids and new sites eagerly covered Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s much awaited wedding. Unlike Prince Harry, Meghan came from humble backgrounds as a second-rate actress starring on a show called Suits. Many people dubbed Meghan’s story as a ‘modern day fairy-tale’ such as the Washington Post because the press painted a narrative that Meghan grew up in an unstable family with an alcoholic for a father but now, she was free from her family’s clutches and rose up to fame and fortune. However, this ‘fairy-tale romance’ did not turn out to be as magical or happy as people thought it would be.
Despite the warm welcoming Meghan received as she became the Duchess of Sussex, her reputation and likability immediately spiralled down. It turned out that Meghan just might be one of the most divisive figures within the royal family and shows clear interest in expressing her opinions in politics, especially in the United States. There also have been numerous reports of the heightened tensions within the royal family. Outside the royal family, many people reported about Meghan’s ill-mannered attitude towards her staff to the point where a staff member allegedly quit due to Meghan’s attitude.
However, none of these accusations have been more shocking when Harry and Meghan announced that they would be stepping away from their royal duties to move to North America and since then, they’ve taken residency in Los Angeles, California. On their Instagram page, they wrote that “after many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution”. They also declared to be financially independent and chose to spend their time mostly in the United States while continuing to support the queen.
Both Harry and Meghan felt the ‘toxic’ environment created by the press in the UK was too stifling which heavily influenced their decision to leave the royal family. During an interview with James Corden on “The Late, Late Show”, Harry revealed that the press was destroying his mental health. Meghan herself also revealed that she had been struggling with suicidal thoughts in her shocking interview with Oprah.
“I was really ashamed to say it at the time and ashamed to admit it…but I knew if I didn’t say it, I would do it. I just didn’t want to be alive anymore.”
Many people have applauded Meghan’s courageous act of admitting something so personal to herself and defied “a culture of secrecy that has stopped many people from seeking or offering help”, as the New York Times puts it. Opening up about your mental health is seen as a courageous act since most people often keep their suicidal thoughts to themselves and yet, Meghan went against the social norm and openly discussed her inner struggles.
Meghan felt overwhelming pressure from her royal duties to the ubiquitous press. During her interview with Oprah, she described how she felt trapped as the Duchess of Sussex and felt racism from the royal family regarding her son, Archie’s, skin colour. Meghan supposedly exposed the institutional racism that was rooted deeply in the British royal family.
Despite the sympathies both Harry and Meghan received from their tell-all interview with Oprah, many people were quick to oppose and frown upon their actions. The New York Post wrote an article titled “Meghan Markle’s interview was full of bull” while the former “Good Morning Britain” host, Piers Morgan, was fired due to a complaint Meghan herself sent to his network because of his comments on her interview with Oprah. Morgan defended his position by tweeting: “On Monday, I said I didn’t believe Meghan Markle in her Oprah interview. I’ve had time to reflect on this opinion, and I still don’t. If you did, OK. Freedom of speech is a hill I’m happy to die on.”
Conservative speaker, Ben Shapiro, openly voiced his opposition to the British royals. Like most other conservative speakers including Candace Owens, Megyn Kelly, and Michael Knowles, most seem to agree that Meghan’s ‘tell-all’ interview with Oprah was nothing more than a whine-fest and an attempt for pity and attention. Shapiro openly points out how ridiculous Meghan’s charade was during her interview with Oprah. Meghan had claimed that she had not in any way married Harry or joined the royal family to boost her career or fame which Shapiro points out, is completely absurd since Meghan herself is a second-rate actress with a third tier role on Suits. Meanwhile, Megyn Kelly, the host of The Megyn Kelly Show and former Fox News anchor, publicly criticized Harry and Meghan for playing the victim.
“Have you ever seen such privileged people wallowing in their own (perceived) victimhood like this?” Kelly tweets.
The concept of victimhood has been frequently mentioned among conservatives. Conservatives often describe people such as Meghan Markle as having a ‘victim mentality’ because it is no secret that Meghan is extremely privileged, having married into the British royal family, and yet, all she does is complain about her life as a royal. Meghan mentions how shocked she was when she learned that she had to curtsy in front of the queen when she wasn’t in public, how her son wasn’t going to receive a royal title, and how she had to search up the British national anthem online. Meghan presented herself as a naive girl from America who only wanted to fit in with the royal family but instead, only received criticism from the press, a very similar case to the late Princess Diana. In another interview, Meghan had sparked an outrage among the masses with her comments regarding herself.
“Not many asked me if I was okay,” Meghan as she admitted to have struggled with the media attention after having given birth to her son, Archie.
Why would the people feel angered or irritated by Meghan’s comments? Many commenters have felt as if Meghan played the ‘victim card’ once again and her comments are merely a plea for attention. Others have noted the hypocrisy of Meghan’s words that Meghan was complaining about her personal life after visiting one of the poorest areas in Africa.
Ever since Meghan joined the royal family back in 2018, her journey has been rocky. Time after time, Meghan’s actions often go against her words which made people lose faith and trust in her. Bullying accusations piled up from rumours among staff members during the early days of Meghan’s royal reign. Harry and Meghan both claimed that one of the major reasons that they decided to leave the royal family was for privacy reasons and yet, they’ve been doing interviews that expose the British royal family and basically dragged its name on the dirt while propping themselves up as victims. After their interview with Oprah, Harry and Meghan’s popularity fell immediately to an all time low according to polls in the United Kingdom.
Recently, there have been many rumours circulating concerning Meghan and her political ambitions. Many people have wondered whether Meghan was going to run for president in 2024 since there has been speculations regarding to why Meghan kept her US citizenship. To this date, there has been no confirmation that Meghan is going to run for president though. Back in September 2020, Meghan had commented on the US 2020 elections, calling voters to “reject hate speech” and to vote which was quite controversial because British royals are supposed to be politically neutral and to not interfere with other countries’ elections.
Every action Meghan took ever since her marriage to Prince Harry often contributed to her downfall as the Duchess of Sussex, receiving criticism and backlash from all conservatives. Meghan’s ‘fairytale romance’ seemed to have been doomed from the start with dubious family circumstances to bullying allegations. Meghan’s popularity as the Duchess of Sussex has steadily dropped lower and lower in comparison to her sister-in-law, Kate Middleton.
Unlike Meghan, Kate has maintained her status as the Duchess of Cambridge well and performed her duties without a complaint. Since 2011, Kate has quietly performed her duties as a member of the royal family with little to no scandals. Just like any figure in the public spotlight, Kate had to adjust living under the public eye while facing backlash from all sides. Even so, Kate continued to act graciously and perform her duties as a royal and eventually earned praise and love from the British public.
Frustration has consistently built up with Meghan’s dubious behaviour which led to a steep drop in popularity and relevance as well. A friend of mine in England commented that “Meghan [obviously] is an actor because her tone was so dramaticized…you’re [Meghan] still married to the prince, your life isn’t the worst… at the end of the day, it’s just rich people’s problems”. On the topic of relevance, she noted that her classmates could care less about the royal drama and that the attitude toward the British royal family was mainly just indifference, not necessarily hate.
Even so, is interest in the British royal family declining? Do people even care about royals anymore? I would say yes, the British royal family is still relevant and generally well-liked. More than 50% of the population agreed that the royal family or monarchy was good for the country according to polls from YouGov. The royal family is integral in contributing to the UK’s economy since support and admiration for the royal family brings tourism from all over the world.
I believe that all in all, Meghan Markle along with Prince Harry dragged the royal family name and attempted to expose them for attention and pity. Obviously, that may not be the case but the point is that people have come out to expose Meghan Markle’s decisions and her constant victimhood to show that Meghan is indeed an extremely privileged person no matter what angle you look at it and yet, all she does is complain about the golden opportunities handed down to her. Meghan showed herself more as a social-climber rather than a dedicated royal. She never seemed to desire a private life like she claimed since all of her actions scream for attention. Many former friends of Meghan’s came out and claimed that they used to be good friends with her until Meghan got what she wanted from them, then left them in the dust while she climbed ever higher on the social ladder. The buildup of accusations that have emerged against Meghan pose the question: is Meghan really a social climber who used people for her own individual gain, or a dedicated royal as she claims to be?
Bullying accusations, rifts from the royal family, and dubious motivations behind actions have all contributed to the downfall of the former Duchess of Sussex and it is unlikely that she will be able to turn the hatred against her and bring back the former happiness and glorification she faced when she first joined the royal family.