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Criticism of Meghan rooted in racism, say royal experts

NEGATIVE PRESS: Meghan Markle has been unduly criticised

THE MEDIA criticism of Meghan Markle is “much more of an attack” and driven by the belief that many don’t believe a black woman has a place in the royal family, according to royal experts.

Marlene Koenig, a royal historian and the author of Queen Victoria’s Descendants, has told Vanity Fair that the negative press coverage of Meghan Markle is “much more of an attack” in comparison to other members of the monarchy.

The new duchess is by far from the only royal to find herself the subject of disparaging headlines – Kate Middleton was teased about supposedly hanging around waiting for Prince William to proposed by the tabloid press, which at a time referred to her as “waity Katie”, while Princess Diana was hounded by the paparazzi and Sarah Ferguson was critiqued over her weight among other things.

But according to royal experts like Koenig, the treatment Meghan has faced is of an altogether different nature.

“It’s a pile-on,” Koenig told Vanity Fair.

Where the criticism of Meghan Markle differs from the women that came before her is that it is rooted in racism.

“You see it in the reporting about Meghan, but people don’t want to speak honestly about the real issue: they don’t believe a black woman has a place in the royal family,” Maiysha Kai, managing editor of The Glow Up, told Vanity Fair.

“There is this sense that she’s never going to be enough,” she added.

It’s something that has been publicly noted and addressed by the royals themselves.

In 2016, when news of Meghan and Harry’s relationship broke, an official statement released on behalf of Prince Harry stated that coverage had crossed the line.

ROYAL COUPLE: Meghan Markle and Prince Harry leaving St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle after their wedding

“The past week has seen a line crossed. His girlfriend, Meghan Markle, has been subject to a wave of abuse and harassment. Some of this has been very public - the smear on the front page of a national newspaper; the racial undertones of comment pieces; and the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and web article comments,” it read.

The statement came after headlines such as the Daily Mail’s Harry's girl is (almost) straight outta Compton: Gang-scarred home of her mother revealed - so will he be dropping by for tea?

Just last month, Kensington Palace intervened in a bid to reduce the amount of online abuse aimed at Meghan by introducing new social media guidelines. While the instructions on how to interact with royal accounts and participate in discussions about the royals covers both Meghan and Kate, the guidelines were launched months after Meghan wed Harry, and there have been reports that abuse aimed at her was the driving force for their introduction.

While it’s clear to so many, not least the royal family, that Meghan’s race has significantly characterised the way she has been targeted in the media, some members of the press deny it has played a part.

EXPECTING: Meghan Markle has been accused of touching her baby bump too much

Camilla Tominey, royal correspondent at The Telegraph, is “adamant” that race has not been a factor in reports of the Duchess of Sussex but pointed to anti-Americanism instead, CBC reported.

"I don't think it's been overtly negative. I don't think it's been disproportionate," Tominey said.

Many disagree with Tominey, especially black women who recognise how articles have sought to align Meghan with historically negative stereotypes such as “the angry black woman” trope and are well-versed in identifying double standards.

Britt Stephens, celebrity and entertainment content director at PopSugar, wrote in December: “It feels like every day there's a new story about Meghan not quite fitting in — and with each emerging rumour, it becomes easier for black women everywhere to read between the lines.”

She added: “Black women are doubly punished for exhibiting the traits that come from having such a relentless work ethic. Having ambition and drive makes us ‘overbearing’; being assertive makes us ‘angry’; showing authority makes us ‘hostile’; and suggesting change makes us ‘rude’, ‘demanding’, or even worse, ‘ungrateful’.

As Meghan's due date approaches, negative articles and comments on her conduct and behaviour have not relented. She's been accused of touching her bump too much and recent reports suggest the Queen's "grandmotherly love" for her is no more than a "PR exercise".

It seems the British press, which is finding it impossible to love Meghan, is also having a hard time believing anyone can.

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