OPINION: When the fairy tale is over



Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, pictured on their wedding day.

The prince may have found his princess, but it wasn’t all happily ever after.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced last week that they decided to take a “step back” as senior royals. Although social media and news outlets reacted heavily to the announcement, I believe the media was one of the many reasons why the couple decided to shed their royal status in the first place.

Erik Tillman is a DePaul professor who specializes in European politics and public opinion. Tillman believes that there are many different factors that should be accounted for in the couple’s decision to resign from senior royal status.

“I think there are a variety of overlapping factors,” he said. “I think one of the issues that has driven this has been is Harry and Meghan feeling like they haven’t been treated well by the media.”

Not only did the Duke and Duchess step back as senior royals, but they also announced that they will no longer participate in the traditional royal press system that grants exclusive access to very few media outlets, as well as gain financial independence and live part time in North America.

Ever since people found out about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s engagement in 2017, the tabloids never gave the young couple a break.

Tillman also said that Markle being something of a non-traditional addition to the Royal Family may also be a reason for the media’s cruel portrayal of her, as well as the intrusiveness the media has used on her.

The media and the royal family have had a history of extreme and unhealthy coverage for decades now. Prince Harry’s mother Princess Diana – was constantly caught by the paparazzi wherever she was, and it seemed that her private life was publicized in every way imaginable . Perhaps the similar treatment to Meghan is what convinced Harry to step back from the royal family.

When Meghan and Prince Harry announced their engagement in 2018, the British media welcomed her as an exciting and beautiful addition to the wilting royal family. However, it didn’t take long for the media to turn its back on Markle and spark up the racist controversial coverage. The press began to discuss her “exotic DNA” and call her a “dictatorial” bride soon after the wedding. A Daily Mail headline also described her Los Angeles roots as “(almost) straight outta Compton” and “gang-scarred.”

There’s also been a sense of scrutiny in the media – either condemning or denouncing the young couple’s decision to leave senior royal status – not just by British tabloids, but by Canadian ones, too.

After the young couple announced they wanted to split their lives between Europe and North America, several Canadian tabloids like the Toronto Globe and Mail were very clear that the young couple wasn’t completely welcome there, or that Canada wasn’t a “halfway house” for anyone hoping to remain royal. Many criticizers have questioned what kind of special treatment and privileges the young couple will receive, and how are they so easily able to give up their royal responsibilities? 

DePaul freshman Frankie Plourde easily found answers to these speculative questions.

“Britain hasn’t been a monarchy for so long, the royal family are all figureheads and Megan and Harry’s decision to leave just shows how little responsibility they have,” she said.

Meghan Markle was a successful actress to begin with before Prince Harry came into the picture, and after announcing financial independence, I believe the former-royal couple will be just fine and successful without their family’s power. And although the media has been invested after the couple’s announcement, there is also a lot of sympathy for Meghan and Harry for how they’ve been portrayed.

When Prince William and Kate Middleton got married, the media only covered her in good light and still seem to do so in order to compare her and Meghan. In fact, a dozen or so side by side screens have gone viral this past week, showing a tabloid of Kate, right next to a tabloid of Meghan almost doing the exact same thing as  Kate-but criticized.

There could be many different reasons behind the young couple’s decision to take a step back from the Royal Family- but clearly, there has been an influx of harsh, critical , racist, and misogynistic coverage on Markle herself for simply being a “royal outsider” and a biracial American woman. Some have even gone as far as calling her the modern day “Yoko Ono” for causing tension and breaking up the royal family.

After the birth of the couple’s son, Archie Harrison, British radio host Danny Baker was fired after comparing the young couple’s child to a picture of a chimpanzee, a blatantly disrespectful and racist comment on Markle’s heritage. After parting ways with the radio station, Baker still felt like he didn’t say or do anything wrong, even after other media outlets and hosts condemned the former radio host for being outright racist and prejudiced.

After keeping up and observing how much of the media treats Meghan Markle, getting swifted away by “Prince Charming” and living happily ever after in a palace doesn’t seem like it’s a fairy tale at all. Truly, Disney failed to show us what happens further past the “royal wedding.”

Being a young American girl- who only dreamt of being swifted away by my “prince charming” and living happily ever in a palace- I was so excited for Meghan but truly-Disney failed to showed us what happens further past the “royal wedding.”