"Duchess Different" Press Coverage of Meghan Markle Was Racist & Sexist

Harper's Bazaar Staff

From Harper's BAZAAR

  • Meghan Markle is aware that the tabloid commentary on her in the United Kingdom has been "sexist and prejudiced."

  • In a new excerpt from Finding Freedom, published in The Sunday Times, the authors explained, "The double standard was exacerbated when it came to successful women of color, often labeled demanding or aggressive."

  • A "close friend" told the writers, that the "Duchess Different" label was unwarranted.

The Times and The Sunday Times is publishing a series of excerpts from the new royal biography, Finding Freedom, co-authored by BAZAAR's Royal Editor at Large, Omid Scobie, and royal correspondent, Carolyn Durand. The new book explores the events that led to Meghan Markle and Prince Harry stepping down from their roles as senior royals. And in the latest extract, Meghan's treatment in the British press has been addressed.

"It was open season on Meghan, with many looking for anything and everything to criticize," the authors explained. "'Duchess Different,' a close friend of Meghan’s said. 'That’s what people have a problem with. She’s the easiest person in the world to work with. Certain people just don’t like the fact she stands out.'"

And according to the publication, Duchess Meghan was well-aware she was being singled out for all the wrong reasons. One source told the authors, "This is a script that wrote itself as soon as you knew that an American actress was coming into the royal family." And that's not all. "Meghan felt as though some of the commentary and tabloid stories were more than a culture clash; they were sexist and prejudiced," Scobie and Durand revealed. "If a man got up before dawn to work, he was applauded for his work ethic. If a woman did it, she was deemed difficult or 'a bitch.' The double standard was exacerbated when it came to successful women of color, often labeled demanding or aggressive."

As Scobie and Durand noted, the reaction to Meghan joining the royal family by the British press was its own brand of racism. The authors explained, "Racism takes a different form in the U.K. from in America, but there is no mistaking its existence and how ingrained it is. A major theme of racism in the U.K. centers on the question of who is authentically 'British.'"

"It can come through in subtle acts of bias," Finding Freedom continued, "micro-aggressions such as the palace staffer who told the biracial co-author of these words, 'I never expected you to speak the way you do,' or the newspaper headline 'Memo to Meghan: we Brits prefer true royalty to fashion royalty.' While the columnist was criticizing Meghan for her [magazine] editorials, there was another way to read it, which is that to be British meant to be born and bred in the U.K.—and be white."

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