When Prince Harry and Meghan Markle tied the knot in May 2018 I was one of the few people who spoke out against the extravagant event as thousands of other flag-waving patriots lined the streets of Windsor in support of the newlyweds.
At the time I felt the occasion typified a level of inequality that should not be celebrated. I berated the £100,000 dress, the £90,000 paid for 20 silver-plated trumpets, the £50,000 splashed on a lemon elderflower cake and the number of homeless people who were turfed out of their patch to make way for the ceremony.
Above all else I could not condone an event that put inequality on a pedestal, typifying a viscous circle in which wealth breeds wealth and poverty breeds poverty.
Victimised at every given opportunity
Yet two years on and I seem to be one of the few members of the press sticking up for the happy couple as the same nationalists who lined the streets rip them to shreds as the relationship turns sour.
Earlier this year I urged caution over the press treatment of the Duchess of Sussex as the nation mourned the anniversary of the death of Princess Diana. The parallels between the two are hard to ignore. Both place a huge importance on humanitarian work and both are unapologetically people first and princesses second. Yet both have been routinely painted to be outsiders by the tabloid press and victimised at every given opportunity.
The Daily Mail accused Meghan of “fuelling drought and murder” because she enjoys avocado on toast for breakfast. She has also been dubbed as “Harry’s girl on Pornhub” and being “straight outta Compton”, expressions that would be more suited to bullies than reporters.
It’s hardly surprising, therefore, that when the couple announced their intentions to step away from royal life that the finger was pointed at one person. The Sun called the couple’s decision “Megxit”, despite being jointly made, while the Mirror accused the Princess of changing “our Harry”.
“People say I’m too critical of Meghan Markle,” tweeted commentator Piers Morgan. “But she ditched her family, ditched her Dad, ditched most of her old friends, split Harry from William (and) has now split him from the Royal Family”. It’s all speculation, of course, yet he of all people should hardly be surprised.
As Peggy Drexler wrote here, the British press “ran her out of town and now they’re mad she’s leaving”? It’s high time our so-called patriots take a long hard look in the mirror.