keeping up with the royals

Meghan Markle Is Still Dealing With High-Society BS

Meghan Markle.
Meghan Markle. Photo: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images

The one-year anniversary of Meghan Markle’s wedding to Prince Harry falls on May 19. To celebrate, the British magazine Tatler published a gossipy retrospective of her first royal year — and while it doesn’t reveal new information (Meghan works too much, we get it), it does shed light on the bizarre expectations the high-society set hold for her, as well as the media’s penchant for pushing forward negative rumors about the duchess.

Since Meghan’s relationship with Prince Harry was first revealed more than two years ago, she has dealt with constant attacks in the press — on her character, on her heritage (including racist coverage of her family), on her former career as an actress, on her past relationships, on her too-good work ethic (?), and so on. The attacks seem to ebb and flow — they momentarily died down around the time of her successful royal wedding, only to reach a fever pitch again months later — and ridiculous nicknames like “Duchess Difficult” are a mainstay in the tabloids.

The Tatler’s analysis of Meghan’s royal life, “One year of Meghanomania,” published online this week, amplifies some of these attacks, and gives a voice to those in British high society who refuse to accept Meghan. Kensington Palace staffers, for example, are said to have taken to calling her “Me-gain,” per the piece. “Well-informed and well-connected” outsiders (so, society people, we assume) harp on her for supposedly getting “bad advice,” and royalist courtiers apparently view her as “trouble.” The piece also points out that a “national newspaper editor” hosted a dinner party in which he openly spoke of his “guesstimate” as to how long the marriage would last.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on their wedding day.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on their wedding day. Photo: Ben Stanstall/WPA Pool/Getty Images

The report touches on a number of rumors that have been pushed forward by the tabloids, including the “drip, drip, drip of stories about aides leaving Meghan’s employ and servants being upset by her manner” and a claim that Prince Harry is not as close with his society friends anymore. But it also points out some positive rumors that have been largely ignored: that Prince Charles is very enthusiastic about his new daughter-in-law, and how Meghan helped Prince Harry and his father build a stronger relationship.

It’s been two and a half years of nonstop attacks in the press on everything about Meghan that sets her apart from those born into the stodgy British high-society set. And this Tatler piece goes to show that rather than accepting the fact that Meghan is helping to usher the monarchy into the modern era, some people in and around the palace will simply never be okay with her. To an outsider, it may be perplexing as to why they wouldn’t be thrilled for the addition of someone helping to keep the royal family relevant, but this is how things work in the palace.

The Tatler points out that royal courtiers — the people holding positions in the palace — tend to be “more royalist than the king himself,” meaning they’re arguably less willing to embrace change or progress. This all harkens to a point that gossip maven Lainey Lui has made repeatedly in her ongoing analysis of coverage of Meghan: It seems to be the courtiers and those around them, rather than the royal family itself, who cannot accept Meghan and thus continue to criticize her in a tabloid press that’s only too eager to try to take her down.

As Lui wrote on LaineyGossip on Tuesday, “That’s the politics of being royal: often the trouble isn’t with the actual royals themselves but with the courtiers, the staff … who are the gatekeepers of what is and isn’t ‘royal’.”

Meghan Markle Is Still Dealing With High-Society BS