For many who follow HRH the Duchess of Sussex, it has been clear as day that there is a coordinated smear campaign being run by the British Media supported by palace insiders. The attacks began soon after she and her husband Prince Harry completed the Oceania Tour in the autumn of 2018. Following the successful tour, there is increased concern among members of the Royal Family, their staff and the media of the growing popularity of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex that is eclipsing that of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. So much was the concern that the palace was working on a plan to send Harry and Meghan to Africa as revealed by Tim Shipman. It was further revealed in the article that senior figures in the media were siding with the palace and peddling the most negative coverage of the Duchess.
The attacks can also be seen in the difference in coverage between the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge where the former will attract the most negative headline on the same story written about the latter.
The motivation behind the attack is to undermine the work and personalities of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex presenting them as hypocritical elites who are shunning their Royal duties and do not care for the everyday person in the hope that they will become less popular than the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The other reason is the media wants to create a perception/PR problem for the Royal Family and force the palace to intervene by firing the current communication team for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in favour of consulting or even better hiring someone familiar to the media to give them unfettered access to the most high profile couple within the Royal Family.
The game plan is access which equals money for the reporters and their media houses. It is a trick as old as time that worked extremely well in the days of Charles and Diana. That is why you will find that the loudest and most vile vitriol directed at the Duke and Duchess of Sussex comes from this lot (older white people) who have worked for the tabloids.
This is how way it plays out. The media will break a story from which they will select a fact, strip it of context and then create a negative narrative around it. Then the usual columnists Piers Morgan, Jan Moir and the like pick on the media report and use it as a weapon to attack the personalities of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, often times resorting to name calling and hurling all kinds of abuse at them. The TV and radio stations will then come in to debate the issue often picking debaters who are incapable of applying nuance to the discussion. In all this generate the vilest headlines in both the mainstream and social media that are intended to trigger and stir up hate among their audience.
None of this was more apparent than this week when it was announced that the Duchess of Sussex guest edited the September 2019 issue of British Vogue, and the media coverage that unfolded over the next five days.
Day 1 Monday 29 July 2019: ROYALS DO NOT EDIT MAGAZINES, CELEBRITIES EDIT MAGAZINES
It all started with entertainment presenter and all round celebrity blowhard Dan Wootton who went on Lorraine ITV to declare that “ROYALS DO NOT EDIT MAGAZINES, CELEBRITIES EDIT MAGAZINES”.
To understand the problem with this statement you need to note that the tabloid media have been trying to build a narrative around the Duchess of Sussex; which is that she wants Royal Perks but Celebrity Status. Britain is a classist society in which Royalty trumps Celebrity and the implication here is that the Duchess of Sussex is reaching above her designated station or she is bringing down their Royal Family. Never mind that the Royal Family is constantly courting celebrities to support their causes and inviting them into the palaces. When it comes to the Duchess of Sussex the issue of celebrity takes on a negative connotation. There was also an attempt suggesting that the issues the Duchess focused on in Vogue were political something that is a complete no no for the Royals. But this did not gain as much traction as the ignorance that was displayed by Dan Wootton and others.
Ignorance was the least of Dan’s problems as he struggled to defend his position throughout the day while he trended on Twitter where several people highlighted the hypocrisy within Royal coverage, pointing out that Prince Charles guest edited Country Life, the Duchess of Cambridge the Huffington Post and Prince Harry did the same with the Today show for BBC. With the myth that “Royals Do Not Edit Magazine” busted, the British Media needed to pivot into new territory so it was time for the media to call in the columnists to weigh in.
A story about the Duchess of Sussex is not complete without the loud-mouthed, Duchess of Sussex detractor and stalker Piers Morgan weighing in. Let us digress for just a second to read this description of Piers Morgan on urban dictionary.
But back to Piers Morgan and his continued abuse of the Duchess of Sussex, it came as no surprise that as the day ended (and while on holiday) he should weigh in by declaring in his column; “Me-Me-Meghan Markle’s shamelessly hypocritical super-woke Vogue stunt proves she cares more about promoting herself than the Royal Family or Britain”.
Day 2 Tuesday 30 July 2019: MEGHAN IS A NARCISSIT WHO ONLY CARES ABOUT HERSELF
Piers Morgan had laid it bare; the Duchess of Sussex does not care for you, the Royal Family or Britain. The stage was set for the next onslaught.
The surprise for most of the Duchess’s critics in the media was that she opted not to appear on the cover and instead chose to have the spotlight shine on fifteen different women who are activists on a wide range of social issues. There was also a mirror on the cover for readers to see themselves as vehicles for change.
For the past year the British media have been trying to create another narrative that Duchess of Sussex is a social climbing narcissist who only cares about herself and “ghosts” those who no longer fit her agenda. So how is someone who is self-serving decline an opportunity to appear on the cover of the most important issue of Vogue? Most people would kill for this opportunity and in fact we have seen other female members of the Royal Family appear on the cover of this very same magazine.
In come the bitter Betty club senior members whose favourite pass time is to slag the Duchess of Sussex.
It was very clear that as Morgan, Vine and Moir wrote their opinion pieces they had not read any part of the magazine and this was another opportunity to launch into another attack. Among the crimes cited the Duchess of Sussex was reneging on her Royal duties, she refused to meet with Trump and does she think she is too good for the cover (she thinks she is better than you!).
These issues had nothing to do with the contents of Vogue and what we have instead is very poorly informed critique that in the absence of subject matter, resort to name calling and character assassination; attacking the Duchess as an individual rather critiquing the work she had done.
It became apparent to many people that this was clearly a hit job as many more people especially on social media questioned the objectivity behind the criticism. Sarah Vine who wrote an article defending her cocaine sniffing husband Michael Gove trended on Twitter that evening and the next morning with many comments going like “I am not a Royalist but these attacks on Meghan are unjustified” with additional calls for the media to leave the Duchess alone. The blow back on the media coverage over the past 36 hours was best summarised by media counterpart Ian Dunt who struggled to make sense of it all.
But hidden somewhere in all these opinion columns was a comment made by Sarah Vine wondering why the Duchess of Sussex had not chosen the Queen as one of the inspirational women in HER (Duchess) life.
Talk about criticising for the sake of it because this is such a misplaced view. Choosing her would have been disingenuous at best because the Queen holds the biggest platform and does not need the Duchess of Sussex or anyone else to nominate her. Besides if she had done so the Duchess would have been accused of dragging the Queen into this “celebrity” world of hers. It was damned is she does and damned if she doesn’t something we have become accustomed to hearing over and over again across the media spectrum.
One would wonder who is Sarah Vine to determine for the Duchess of Sussex who should or shouldn’t be her inspiration. But the subtle message here is “How dare Meghan not acknowledge the Queen”. The Queen a white woman who sits at the throne of an institution that is epitome of whiteness! How dare she not acknowledge the whiteness that exists around her? Your whiteness is under threat and this should be a crisis.
Day 3 Wednesday 31 July 2019: HOW DARE MEGHAN NOT INCLUDE THE QUEEN, THE DUCHESS OF CAMBRIDGE?
We woke up to this opinion piece in the SUN written by Rod Liddle.
Meghan Markle has sparked criticism by choosing left-wing ‘inspirational women’ for Vogue’s cover
The media here attempts to undermine the women chosen by the Duchess of Sussex by calling them left-wing with some others on Twitter going on to add that they are all Trump-hating. Never mind that none of them spoke about their politics but focused on issues of female empowerment, disability, body image, mental health, immigration, reproductive rights, joblessness, education; issues that are firstly not political but basic and fundamental human rights secondly these are not left-wing or right wing but issues that everyone must be concerned about. The use of the words “left wing” is very deliberate and has the sole purpose of sowing further hate and discord in a country that is already grappling with the division from the Brexit saga. Like I mentioned, many of us know that the British media is biased but each day we see this right-wing bias more clearly.
There was so much happening so fast and many of us at this point were struggling to keep up with the coverage of what is clearly a positive effort by the Duchess of Sussex that should have been celebrated.
Having failed in their mission to discredit the mostly positive non-partisan stories that were coming to light, the media pivots for the third time, rehashing past criticism for the refurbishment of Frogmore cottage, the birth and christening of her son and the false story about what happened at Wimbledon. They claim that as a tax funded public figure the Duchess is unrealistically demanding for privacy.
What we see here is a tried and tested method that the tabloids use to get the Royals to do their bidding. They claim that since the Royals use taxpayer’s money (which technically is not true) any demands for privacy are unrealistic and that the taxpayer deserves to know anything and everything they want to know and that the Duchess’s action (including snubbing the Queen and her mediocre sister-in-law for the cover of Vogue) is creating a PR problem for the Royal family. The white people in this country will not like this.
This came to a head on during This Morning ITV show between hosts Eamonn Holmes, his wife Ruth Langsford, guests Elaine Lui (Lainey) a Canadian entertainment journalist and Professor Kate Williams. The segment opened with Eamonn asking Lainey what PR advice she would give to the Duchess of Sussex. In her response, Lainey was very clear that rather than advise the Duchess she would ask the British Media to self reflect and question why issues regarding Frogmore cottage renovations, Archie’s birth and christening were blamed squarely on Meghan yet she has a husband. His name is Prince Harry and these decisions are being made as a couple. Instead of responding to this call of self-reflection Eamon chose to call the Duchess of Sussex “Uppity”. Here we are again with a white man on national TV telling his viewers that this mixed race woman thinks she is better than you and me.
As if her husband had not done enough already, Ruth went on to question the Duke and Duchesses commitment to the public saying the taxpayer needs to know the name of their dog and other private matters. Again Lainey very correctly stated that the Duke and Duchess had fulfilled their obligations with the birth and christening of Archie when she paused these questions to Eamonn and Ruth;
Did we not get the announcement?
Did we not get the portraits?
Did we not see the pictures?
The fact is we did. The other fact is Eamonn and Ruth refused to concede on this and instead turned to Professor Williams stating that the British public had welcomed Meghan Markle but she was not reciprocating this welcome. It was great to finally see someone on TV acknowledge that the British media had not received Meghan with open arms and she has suffered racist abuse since her relationship with Prince Harry was announced and continues to face racism. When a well meaning viewer took to Twitter and wrote:
“Working from home so getting to see the inherent racism of the British media as personified by @EamonnHolmes & @RuthieeL who are currently unashamedly bashing Meghan Markle live on @thismorning.”
Eamonn’s response was to use unsavoury language calling the person a bigot and threatening to sue. Amidst all the back and forth on this issue, Eamonn drops this gem of information.
As I mentioned a couple of paragraphs above, the media are attempting to create a problem; a PR problem that is affecting the Queen and the Royal Family and that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex “could easily turn this around by consulting people like him in the media”. Eamonn Holmes then became the latest media personality to be “dragged” on Twitter for resorting to racist tropes in his lazy attempt to defend the unjustifiable attacks on the Duchess of Sussex. At about the same time the Duke of Sussex’s comments on “unconscious bias” were starting to hit the various news channels.
And like they say “A hit dog will holler”. It always does.
Day 4 Thursday 01 August 2019: WHO US THE MEDIA, WE ARE NOT RACIST. STOP CALLING US RACIST
Never mind that Prince Harry made a general comment about racism and unconscious bias in a conversation with Jane Goodall that featured in the Vogue issue, which was fast being downloaded around the world. It is worth noting what Prince Harry actually said:
“Many people don’t understand unconscious bias. “Despite the fact that if you go up to someone and say, ‘What you’ve just said, or the way that you’ve behaved, is racist’ — they’ll turn around and say, ‘I’m not a racist.’
“I’m not saying that you’re a racist. I’m just saying that your unconscious bias is proving that, because of the way that you’ve been brought up, the environment you’ve been brought up in, suggests that you have this point of view — unconscious point of view — where naturally you will look at someone in a different way. And that is the point at which people start to have to understand.”
As we have seen, in a further attempt to paint the Duchess of Sussex as the villain in this story, they have stripped the Duke of his agency and cast him as the ‘unthinking fool who is being negatively influenced by his wife”. His comments were widely covered with a respect that would never have been accorded to his wife (had she made a similar comment) but more importantly being married to a mixed race woman and now having a son with mixed heritage, meant that the Duke had earned the authority to speak on these issues. Of course the media attempted to discount this by resorting to mistakes that the Duke had made as a younger man. For many though, these comments came from a man who had learned a lesson in racism and unconscious bias through his own lived experience.
For a little while it seemed like we had turned the corner and we could finally enjoy a discussion on the Vogue issue that was to hit the shelves the next day. Positive comments were coming in all over social media with many saying that even though they had downloaded the digital copy they could not wait to get the physical copy as well. But we were wrong because we were yet to hear from self-proclaimed revisionist who connects dots that don’t exist and has a doctorate in the Art of undermining anything about the Duchess of Sussex. This is none other than Camilla Tominey.
Earlier in the week Camilla had claimed on Australian TV that only two white women had been featured on the cover of Vogue. When it was pointed out that this was not the case and in fact five women were featured, she does what she does best; finding an angle to discredit the efforts of the Duchess of Sussex and attempt to steer it from the issue at hand which was that the media had failed to provide justification for the on-going attacks on the Duchess.
This is the same woman who earlier in the week complained that the Duchess of Sussex using Vogue was elitist and if she really wanted to advocate change she should have gone down to the local Red Cross and in her words “picked someone”.
You see almost a year ago, the Duchess of Sussex had done exactly that and worked with the ladies of the Hubb Community Kitchen to publish a cookbook and raise funds so the kitchen could stay open all week. It exceeded expectations and raised money to refurbish the kitchen, skill-up the women and empower them to create their own spin off projects. When the cookbook was announced, this very same Camilla Tominey wrote an article linking the Mosque where the kitchen was housed and by association, the Duchess and the women to terrorism; an article that resonated with a well-known white supremacist who made sure he publicly acknowledged her.
In light of the Duke of Sussex’s comments on racism, Camilla goes into full attack mode. She called the effort by the Duchess misguided “woke”, virtue signalling. She also went after the magazine calling it elitist, which most people could not afford, and all out declaring that this would BACKFIRE. She uses her timeline to highlight anything negative about the Sussexes calling them liberal hypocrites words that are intended to rile up her audience of white supremacists.
Users on Twitter were quick to point out that any fair journalist at this stage if they cannot acknowledge the positives in the Vogue issue, should be less concerned about it and instead should be looking into important issues like Jeffrey Epstein and his association with Prince Andrew. In her defence she pulled out an article on this issue that dates back five years in a claim that the media was not being deliberately silent on this issue.
By now it was very clear that Camilla and her colleagues in the media were not prepared to take any responsibility for their attacks on the Duchess of Sussex not to mention their blatant dishonest critique of what was clearly a well produced and presented project. So biased was her critique that nowhere in her timeline does she acknowledge the collaboration between the Duchess of Sussex and High Street brands to produce a capsule collection for the Smart Works Charity of which the Duchess is patron that would benefit the “grassroots” person as she had earlier complained about.
She did however find time to retweet these announcements from Kensington Palace and partners.
In a week or so, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will take part in the inaugural regatta cup to raise awareness and funds for their different patronages. Now I don’t know about you but I don’t think there is anything more elitist than sailing on expensive boats, with celebrities; well maybe polo but both are used by the Royal Family and others to raise funds for notable causes. Which begs the question why is the Duchess of Sussex’s collaboration with Vogue problematic but this is not? We all can see the hypocrisy and we were about to find out why!
Day 5 Friday August 02 2019: HARRY AND MEGHAN ARE TRYING TO SHUT THE MEDIA DOWN!
When in fact it’s people within the family and the palace who are behind the attacks!
Colour us shocked but “we knew”.
Before I get into that, it is day five. The vogue issue is flying off the shelves and the British media are all over the TV and radio station to discuss what was no longer in doubt. The Duchess of Sussex is facing unprecedented attack in the media and by the media.
In their discussions they rather insincerely question the motivation behind the attacks. The one thing they do know though is that it is not racially motivated but that the Duchess of Sussex and her husband are going against the grain and are being misguided or not taking advice from the powers that be. In short it is their fault.
Throughout the day we saw and heard from various sections of the media as they took quotes out of context, misreported facts and fell back on unverifiable reports to justify the coverage of the Duchess of Sussex. All the while saying that critics of the media are easily playing the race card and that not all criticism is motivated by race.
The fact still remains is; when you criticise the Duchess of Sussex for doing the SAME EXACT things that all other members of the Royal Family have done or are doing you have to provide a reason for this criticism. When everything done by the Duchess of Sussex is reported and scrutinised to the smallest detail while other members of the Royal Family are protected by denials from the palace or coverage of these stories in the media is banned, you have to explain why. There is a lot of explaining that the media has to and refuses to do in this particular regard. Saying it is not racist but not explaining why it is not racist is unacceptable. Neither is gaslighting.
Fair-minded people will recognise that in the absence of a logical explanation, these attacks are racially motivated. There may be elements of sexism, anti-Americanism but at the heart of it all is racism.
There is another reason that came to us courtesy of Dan Wootton. We started with him; we may as well finish with him. On this radio show, he claimed that the Duke of Sussex in making those comments about unconscious bias and racism was trying to shut down the media and instead of calling out the media he should be addressing the fact that many of these negative stories are coming from members within the Royal Family and their aides.
For many of us this confirmed everything that we have suspected for the past year. There is a smear campaign against the Duchess of Sussex in the media that is orchestrated from within the palace walls. They are using her race, her awareness and her activism to undermine her, her husband and her efforts – to appeal to an already agitated section of the British population with the aim of diminishing their popularity. Why would they do this one may ask? It is done in the hope that by weakening the popularity of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, the popularity of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will grow.
As heirs to the Monarchy the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge could work to increase their own popularity but according to them, their aides, Royal reporters, experts and the media at large, the two are on a “restricted” path. So rather than put in the work now, they prefer to wait until their parent die.
Now tell me again who wants all the Royal perks but none of the works?