- Meghan Markle is being unfairly criticized for doing the same things her sister-in-law Kate Middleton is praised for.
- For instance, an InStyle article accused the Duchess of Sussex of breaking “royal shoe protocol” for wearing wedges. Several months later, InStyle published an article that praised the Duchess of Cambridge for wearing the same shoe type — hailing them “the most versatile shoes of the summer.”
- When Markle’s bodyguard asked spectators at Wimbledon not to take photos of her, this resulted in serious backlash. However, when Middleton’s bodyguard asked fans the same thing during a recent shopping trip, she was still praised for being “down to earth.”
- These are hardly the only examples, though — the majority of gossip and news sites, Insider included, have reported on recent criticisms of the duchess.
- Insider spoke with royal commentator Kristen Meinzer, who says Markle is an easy target because “she is not like the rest of the aristocracy.”
- “I don’t think Meghan would be facing any of these double standards if she were white,” she said.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The most recent example of this was when both duchesses released high-profile TV interviews on the same day last month.
While Middleton was celebrated for speaking to CNN during her royal tour of Pakistan, royal correspondents across the globe said Markle broke protocol for releasing her own royal tour interview at the same time as her sister-in-law’s visit.
The majority of gossip and news sites, Insider included, have reported on recent criticisms of the duchess.
Insider spoke to royal commentator Kristen Meinzer, who, with the help of just a few examples, broke down the double standards Markle is subjected to — and she gave her take on why it’s happening.
Markle was accused by InStyle of breaking royal protocol by wearing wedge shoes, but months later the same publication praised Middleton for wearing ‘the most versatile shoes of the summer’
“Meghan is subjected to double standards that are blatant in their intent to frame her as an ignorant, uncouth, and unfit for the aristocracy, much less the royal family,” Meinzer told Insider.
“When she wore wedge shoes during her tour of Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands, headlines claimed ‘Meghan Markle Broke Royal Shoe Protocol at Bondi Beach.'”
The article by InStyle went on to quote a royal source in Vanity Fair who claimed: “The Queen isn’t a fan of wedge shoes.” However, there was no mention of this when another writer at the same publication later covered Middleton wearing wedges.
“Note, when Kate wore almost identical wedge heels a few months later, she was greeted with headlines claiming, ‘Kate Middleton Just Proved That These Are the Most Versatile Shoes of the Summer,'” Meinzer said.
Meredith Corporation, the publishing company behind InStyle, did not respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Middleton was described as ‘glowing’ for cradling her pregnant belly, while Markle was shamed for doing the same thing
“Naysayers insist that if the #Sussexes want to be treated with respect, they need to stop breaking protocol,” Meinzer wrote on Twitter.
“Example: ‘#MeghanMarkle was always cradling her baby bump — an act unbecoming of a royal.’ If that’s the case, why was it OK when Kate did it?”
While Markle was pregnant with her first child, baby Archie, the press appeared to ignore the fact that this is something Middleton had been doing throughout all three of her pregnancies.
While the above headline by British tabloid The Sun quoted a critic who claimed Markle was attention-seeking by holding her stomach, the same publication described Middleton as “glowing” when doing the same thing while pregnant with Prince Louis just two years earlier.
It is worth noting, however, that the publication itself is not entirely to blame for the double standards. In the first piece about Markle, The Sun quoted magazine editor Jo Elvin’s comments about the duchess, while the second piece is a news story.
However, that doesn’t mean the comments themselves are not partly to blame for the larger issue.
News UK declined to comment when contacted by Insider.
According to Meinzer, these are just a few examples of seemingly false royal protocol imparted on Markle by the media.
“Over and over again, the press tears Meghan apart for crossing her legs, saying it’s a breach of protocol,” Meinzer told Insider.
“But do a quick Google image search of ‘Queen crossing legs,’ ‘Camilla crossing legs,’ ‘Di crossing legs,’ etc. and you’ll find dozens, if not hundreds of photos of royals at official events crossing their legs.”
Markle was criticized after her bodyguard asked fans not to take pictures of her at Wimbledon earlier this year, but Middleton was recently called ‘down to earth’ for not allowing pictures
During a private visit to watch her friend Serena Williams play at Wimbledon in July, Markle’s security team approached fellow spectators and asked them not to take photos of the duchess.
“Sally Jones, 64, a media consultant sitting in the same row as the royal visitor, said that a man had tapped her on the shoulder and asked her not to use her phone to photograph the duchess, even though Ms. Jones said she had been zooming in on Serena Williams,” The Times reported at the time.
Despite the fact Markle’s Wimbledon appearance was treated as a private visit and not an official royal engagement, people still criticized her for maintaining her privacy. This headline in the Express reads: “‘Strongly theatrical air’ to Meghan’s Wimbledon visit — fully enjoying role as A-lister.'”
Similar to The Sun’s report, the Express is also quoting an external source here — body language expert Judi James.
Just three months later, the same publication reported on Middleton’s private Halloween shopping trip to Sainsbury’s with her children, Prince George, and Princess Charlotte. The trio were also accompanied by a bodyguard, who told visitors not to take photos.
Despite this, the duchess’ visit had a far more positive response than Markle’s did.
“She was with Charlotte and George looking at Halloween outfits but her bodyguard was kind of watching people with phones and telling them no pictures,” an onlooker said of the visit.
“It was so lovely to see her doing normal stuff that you and I do,” she added. “It was so lovely to see her, she is always beautiful.
“… She just seemed so down to earth and beautiful as always.”
Reach Plc declined to comment when contacted by Insider.
‘I don’t think Meghan would be facing any of these double standards if she were white’
“Simply put, the press loves attacking Meghan because she is not like the rest of the aristocracy,” Meinzer said. “Unlike them, she’s an American, a self-made woman, and black.
“Unlike most of them, she has a history of working hard and being outspoken about the kinds of human rights that they’re afraid to touch for fear of sounding ‘controversial.'”
Royal correspondent Victoria Murphy says Middleton was also criticized during her early years as a royal — albeit for different reasons.
Speaking on The Guardian’s “Today in Focus” podcast, Murphy said Middleton was portrayed as “waiting around” to marry Prince William and become royal because “she didn’t have a career.”
When asked by host Anushka Asthana whether Middleton was “attacked” by the media in her early years as a royal, Murphy said: “At the beginning, you may remember this ‘waity Katie’ narrative that was attached to Kate, that she was just waiting around, and that she didn’t have a career.
“You might remember the sort of stories that were done about her mother because of her previous employment as an air hostess. The whole sort of ‘wisteria sisters’ that was attached to Kate and Pippa because of their ability to ferociously social climb.
“Sometimes we are in a moment of time where we feel that is the only thing going on,” she added.
However, Meinzer believes this new wave of criticism towards Markle is due to more than just the early stages of royal life.
“If anything, the press should be embracing Meghan,” she said. “After all, they’ve been critical in the past of the royals for being out of touch. But now that they have someone in the family who actually resembles them in terms of class and cause, they’ve chosen to turn on her.
“Why? I’m guessing it’s because their criticisms tap into the basest and ugliest bigotries in people — bigotries that certain people love to nurture and revel in and buy papers for.
“And I’m not alone. Holly Lynch and dozens of other MPs said this past week in an open letter to Meghan that the press’s treatment of her is rife with ‘outdated, colonial undertones.’ And Harry stated years ago more bluntly that their treatment is overtly racist and misogynistic,” she said.
This treatment is partly what led Markle and Harry to take legal action against the Mail on Sunday, a newspaper that published excerpts from a private letter she wrote to her father earlier this year.
As Meinzer suggests, the criticism Markle has faced since becoming a royal spans far outside the publications quoted in this story.
Whether it be a member of the public, a celebrity, or a royal expert, the duchess has been endlessly analyzed and criticized by people who simultaneously praise Middleton for doing the same things.
The first step to putting an end to this treatment of Markle is admitting the root of the issue, according to Meinzer.
“In short, I don’t think Meghan would be facing any of these double standards if she were white,” she said.