Yet another example of the harsh double standard Duchess Meghan faces

Intense scrutiny, criticism and social media trolls are common place when comes to being in the public eye, but the treatment of Meghan is surely much harsher than most.
meghan markleGetty Images

Another day, another criticism of the Duchess of Sussex.

From the second Meghan Markle was linked to Prince Harry, she has, unsurprisingly, been the subject of intense media scrutiny, and while it’s not uncommon for people in the public eye to have to deal with public criticism and the trolls of social media, it would seem that no matter what Meghan does, she just can’t seem to shake the critics.

In just the latest of a long list of examples, last Friday Prince William celebrated his 37th birthday and to mark the occasion Kensington Palace shared an image of the Duke of Cambridge in Kenya accompanied by the caption: “Thank you everyone for your lovely wishes on The Duke of Cambridge’s birthday.”

Birthday wishes from followers flooded the comment section, including one from Harry and Meghan’s official Instagram account, Sussex Royal, who left a simple comment: “Happy Birthday to The Duke of Cambridge!”

Cue the barrage of criticism that their simple birthday message was too “formal”.

“It’s your own brother, why the need to be so formal?” one follower commented in reply to the Sussexes’ message.

While another wrote: “@sussexroyal well well well, what a cold happy birthday.”

And while the Sussexes’ comment is indeed emoji-less and more ‘formal’ than say, their birthday post dedicated to their “Grandpa” the Duke of Edinburgh or their birthday wishes to Prince Louis and Princess Charlotte in which they signed the comments off with “xo” and “lots of love”, the fact they’re now copping flack for being too formal seems ludicrous.

Why? Firstly, the official royal family’s Twitter account posted an almost identical birthday message, to no public uproar.

Secondly, they were criticised for doing the exact opposite on Prince Louis’ birthday, where they were called out for ‘not knowing their place’ by being too casual and not calling Louis and Charlotte by their royal titles (since the birth of William and Kate’s children, Harry has been bumped down the line of succession).

Writes one royal fan on Instagram: “The exact wording and spelling that was used on @theroyalfamily’s birthday message. First you groaned about the informal messages and now you’re groaning about the formal one? Make it make sense.”

Harry and Meghan make their way to Buckingham Palace for Trooping the Colour with Kate and Camilla. (Image: Getty)

More evidence of the blatant double standard Meghan faces in comparison to her royal counterparts comes in the form of two seemingly identical moments that were accompanied by two very different reactions that occurred at two royal events this month.

Last Monday a number of the royals were out to attend the prestigious Order of the Garter ceremony at Windsor Castle. In attendance included Kate, The Duchess of Cambridge and Camilla, The Duchess of Cornwall, Sophie, Countess of Wessex along with the Queens of Spain and the Netherlands.

In a clip captured from the day, Kate was seen animatedly chatting away to Queen Maxima of the Netherlands on her right, as the two wait to watch their husbands walk in the parade. Camilla, who was standing on Queen Maxima’s left, is then seen gently nudging Queen Maxima as if tell them to stop talking and watch the parade that had just started.

WATCH: Duchess Camilla nudging Queen Maxima at Order of the Garter. Story continues below…

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The fact that people spotted the tiny incident in the first place shows the dedication of royal fans, but the reason it becomes significant here is solely for the fact that it highlights the strange double standard Meghan faces as this is essentially the exact same interaction that occurred between Meghan and Prince Harry at Trooping the Colour earlier this month, but has been met with the completely contrasting reactions.

Following the Queen’s birthday parades on the June 8th, footage of Harry telling Meghan to stop talking and turn around on the Buckingham Palace balcony made headlines, with critics slamming Meghan’s ‘disrespectful’ behaviour and claiming it was evidence that the former Suits actress wasn’t royal material.

Yet no one has seemed to have kicked up a fuss about Kate and Queen Maxima’s ‘royal gaffe’, as Meghan’s incident was described. Put Meghan in Kate’s shoes at the Order of the Garter and it’s not far-fetched to assume she would be chastised by the public for that just as harshly as she was at Trooping the Colour, because sadly it’s well… Meghan.

WATCH: Prince Harry reportedly tells Meghan to “turn around” at Trooping the Colour. Story continues below…

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Whether it’s racism, classism or tall poppy syndrome it’s clear that criticism of Meghan has been vicious and relentless, so much so that a number of Meghan’s friends have felt compelled to speak out in her defence, including big names such as George Clooney, Oprah Winfrey and Priyanka Chopra.

Even Prince Andrew’s former wife Sarah Ferguson has spoken out about the reports and rumours surrounding Meghan’s alleged feud with the Duchess of Cambridge, penning an open letter in Hello! condemning the press’ habit to compare and pit women against each other.

Earlier this year Hello! also began a #hellotokindness campaign after they saw a staggering 50 per cent increase in abusive comments left on their social media channels on posts about Kate and Meghan.

Royal editor Emily Nash says, “When it comes to social media trolls, I think there is a degree of envy, a degree of classism and snobbery, and also racism, when it comes to Meghan in particular.

“People will have an opinion on anyone in the public eye and members of the royal family have always been held to account, when necessary, by the press. But the intense scrutiny on Kate and Meghan often relates to their looks and mannerisms, rather than just how they conduct themselves in their roles. And social media means everyone has a voice.”

Adding: “Any perceived slip-up by them is instantly made public and debated across the globe, and some websites are using this commentary as the basis of stories.”

Meghan made a surprise appearance at the UK Fashion Awards in 2018. (Image: Getty)

Buckingham Palace have also taken their own measures against the social media trolls, releasing new social media guidelines in an effort to protect the royal family from online abuse.

While practically all members of the royal family have faced public scrutiny at some point, the backlash from the public and the tabloids over every little thing that the Duchess of Sussex does (‘how dare she keep cradling her baby bump‘, ‘how dare she serve avo on toast to her friend when the avocado industry is obviously hurting for the environment‘) just doesn’t seem to let up.

Call it part of being a member of the royal family, call it part of being in the public eye, but no matter how much you try to not let people’s criticisms get the best of you and no matter how many people come out in your defence – Meghan’s fans are always quick to hit back at the trolls – it’s sure to still take its toll.

Thankfully the birth of Harry and Meghan’s son Archie in May has meant Meghan’s been able to step out of the public eye while on maternity leave, and the new bundle of joy has been a positive subject for people to focus on.

While we may never know just what Meghan thinks and feels about the vitriol that’s been spun about her, we can only hope that it’s the last thing on her mind and that she’s instead enjoying this precious time with her newborn.

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