There is nothing the Duchess of Sussex could have done to warrant the relentless abuse she has faced.
by S. FRAZER
Featured Guest Columnist Sally Frazer shares her perspective on the horrendous maltreatment Meghan Markle has endured. You can read more of Sally’s articles on Vocal.
Families are complicated, and integrating into someone else’s can be tough. No one knows this better than Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex.
Once the manifestation of every little girl’s princess dreams, Meghan’s fairytale has since morphed into a nightmare of epic proportions. In 2020, she and husband Harry left the British Royal Family following extensive media harassment and a messy fallout with “The Firm.” While few on the outside know what’s really going on behind the scenes of this conflict, everyone and their mother has an opinion on the Sussexes, and onlookers around the world have become sharply divided on the issue of their departure.
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Regardless of your stance on the matter, there is one basic truth to this controversy that is simply indisputable: Meghan Markle does not deserve the horrendous maltreatment she’s endured.
To put it plainly, Meghan is criticized for breathing. From her nail polish color to her career, this woman can do nothing right in the eyes of her detractors. I’ve seen comments alleging that she does not love her son and is merely using Archie to manipulate her husband. Comments slamming her as “attention-seeking” for speaking out about her miscarriage. She has been criticized for what she wears, where she goes, how she sits, and even how she reads to her child. Holding her baby bump was blasted as “pride” and “vanity.” She has been described as a “monster,” a “snob,” a “bully,” and an “absolute disgrace.”
Perhaps most notoriously, Meghan received bizarre criticism in 2019 for—*checks notes*—eating avocado toast, which was, one tabloid newspaper alleged, “fuelling human rights abuses, drought and murder.” I’m serious. That was a real headline.
The public’s negative perception of Meghan has, of course, been almost entirely shaped by the news media. British tabloids have launched an endless assault on the Duchess, blaming her for what has been branded “Megxit” by her critics. Millions of outraged consumers have subscribed to these organizations’ framing of Meghan as a controlling wife who forced her husband to forsake his birthright, cast off his family, and leave his home country. They believe that Harry is trapped in a loveless marriage and that a scheming Meghan wantonly orchestrated the drama surrounding their relationship in calculated pursuit of fame and fortune. With the kind of “disproportionately terrible” coverage the Duchess has received, it’s unsurprising that so many people hate her.
Many (if not most) of these accusations are baseless. For years, I have scanned these derogatory articles, always searching for some verifiable fact, some damning information based on anything more than nameless sources and personal opinions. Nine times out of ten, these “bombshell” exposés are unsubstantiated smear campaigns with little substance or proof. It’s typically just a thinly veiled excuse to tear her down some more.
This abuse is not without consequence. In her recent tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey, Meghan revealed the extent to which these verbal assaults affected her mental health during her first pregnancy, somberly recalling, “I just didn’t want to be alive anymore.” She described suicide as a “constant thought” and confessed that she believed that her death would solve everyone else’s problems.
This woman had it all—a loving husband, a royal title, a baby on the way. And due to the relentless onslaught of heartless denigration that she suffered, she wanted to take her own life.
It’s completely unacceptable.
And sure, there are two sides to every story. I’m not saying Meg’s perfect or that she hasn’t made mistakes. But this woman has been demonized to an obscene degree. Speaking to Oprah, Harry noted that even his mother Diana, mercilessly hounded to death (literally) by the press, did not face the unique challenges of race and social media that Meghan was forced to tackle as a new member of the royal family.
We could get into the utter hypocrisy of it—has Prince Andrew, long-time friend of notorious sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, been subjected to this level of vilification? We could explore the double standards imposed upon Meghan and sister-in-law Kate Middleton. The fact that senior members of the Royal Family were concerned about how dark-skinned the Sussexes’ child would be is a conversation in and of itself.
The bottom line is this: Meghan could be guilty of every allegation that’s been levelled against her, and it still would not warrant the racism, misogyny, and unmitigated cruelty to which she has been subjected. There is nothing that this woman could have said or done that would excuse the incessant abuse and dehumanization that she has faced over the last three years. Even if she were the conniving, manipulative, self-interested villain she’s been portrayed to be, she would still not deserve this horrific mistreatment.
These days, Americans seem to have embraced the Los Angeles-based couple and afforded them a modicum of relief from the “constant barrage” of negative press and public criticism they received in England. Still, when it comes to British media, any public appearance from Meghan and Harry is lambasted as a divergence from their professed desire for privacy. Meghan continues to receive blame for their exile, and it would appear that public sentiment toward her hasn’t improved overseas. They have escaped the country, but not its scrutiny. Of the tabloids, Meghan alleges that the “damage they have done and continue to do runs deep.”
In her interview with Oprah, Meghan called for people to “have compassion,” because “you have no idea what’s going on for someone behind closed doors.” The Duchess courageously and vulnerably shared her experience with the world, opening the door for a serious conversation about bullying, mental health, and self-care. Her message of kindness and empathy should be commended.
Love her or hate her, it is an unquestionable truth that Meghan Markle doesn’t—and, I would argue, couldn’t—deserve the unconscionable treatment to which she has been subjected. This kind of malicious, targeted harassment cannot continue. We can do better. We must do better, not just for Meghan, but for Duchess Kate, Princess Charlotte, Baby Girl Sussex, and the generations of women royals still to come.
For more information about author Sally Frazer, please visit: Vocal