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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (aka Prince Harry and Meghan Markle) didn’t just shockingly “step back” as senior members of the royal family this week — they gave the UK media a big “fuck-you” for years of what they said was biased and unfair coverage.
The couple’s new website on breaking up with years of royal protocol laid out — among a lot of other things — their media strategy, stating that they will no longer participate in the traditional royal press system that grants exclusive access to a select group of UK outlets.
Britain’s royal correspondents, they said, are seen as reliable sources of information. “This misconception propels coverage that is often carried by other outlets around the world, amplifying frequent misreporting,” they wrote. Removing themselves from “royal rota” coverage has sparked an outcry among UK media and drew a protest from the National Union of Journalists.
This isn’t a new complaint from the royal couple — they just took an unprecedented step to do something about it. Harry and Meghan have said publicly that they believe they have been treated unfairly by the UK press since the moment news broke of their relationship — that they are bullied, that there are racist undertones to coverage of them, and that they have been held to a different standard than Harry’s brother and sister-in-law, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (aka Prince William and Kate Middleton).
The UK media outlets that currently make up the royal rota are the Daily Express, the Daily Mail, the Daily Mirror, the Evening Standard, the Telegraph, the Times, and the Sun.
Here is a look at the stories from these outlets that appear to show a double standard between press coverage of Meghan and Kate. BuzzFeed News has reached out to all of the outlets featured below for comment.
Daily Mail / 2018, Daily Mail / 2019
Kate: “Bumping along nicely! The Duchess was seen placing a protective hand on her tummy as she exited the event.” Daily Mail: March 22, 2018
Meghan: “Personally, I find the cradling a bit like those signs in the back of cars: Baby on Board. Virtue signaling, as though the rest of us barren harridans deserve to burn alive in our cars.” Daily Mail: Jan. 26, 2019
Express / 2017, Express / 2019
Kate and William: “Prince William was given one of the green fruit – wrapped up in a bow – by a little boy who’s mother is suffering during her pregnancy too… ‘He said he’d take it to [Kate] and see what happens – and said good luck for [the boy’s] mummy.'” Express: Sept. 14, 2017
Meghan: “The pregnant Duchess of Sussex and so-called ‘avocado on toast whisperer’ is wolfing down a fruit linked to water shortages, illegal deforestation and all round general environmental devastation.” Express: Jan. 23, 2019
Kate: “As far as bridal bouquets go there was nothing particularly regal about Kate Middleton’s modest arrangement of simple, seasonal flowers. Like the bride herself the bouquet was effortlessly elegant and understated.
“Yet behind that modest posy lay a secret story. Kate, the commoner-turned-duchess, had painstakingly selected blooms with real meaning. She is evidently well-versed in the language of flowers, a little-known romantic relic from the 19th century.
“Hence the use of lilac in her bouquet, which signifies the first emotions of love, the lily of the valley meaning a return of happiness, hyacinth standing for constancy, myrtle meaning love and the ivy, which represents fidelity. Then of course there was the suitably named Sweet William, which is shorthand for gallantry.” Express: Aug. 29, 2011
Meghan: “[Meghan Markle] was holding a wedding bouquet which flowers were replicated in Princess Charlotte and the other bridesmaids’ flower crowns. Express.co.uk can now reveal the children’ crowns were made of flowers that can be deadly, especially for children. Meghan’s bouquet was made of forget-me-nots as well as sweet peas, lily of the valley, astilbe, jasmine, and astrantia…
“Lily of the valley is a highly poisonous woodland flowering plant and ingestion could be deadly… As Meghan’s bridesmaids were so young, having this flower on their heads could be considered a dangerous decision. Other brides have also used this flowers including Kate Middleton, Princess Eugenie and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.” Express: Oct. 13, 2019
Kate and William: “The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh missed the small family affair. The decision is understood not to have been taken on health grounds, and to have been mutually agreed by the Queen and the Cambridges some time ago. The Queen, 92, has a busy week ahead, with high-profile celebrations in central London marking the centenary of the RAF on Tuesday, and a visit by US President Donald Trump in Windsor on Friday.” Daily Mail: July 9, 2018
Meghan and Harry: “The situation has surprised some senior staff at Buckingham Palace, who feel that the duke and duchess should have planned the day better. ‘There is huge support for the couple in not wanting to conform to tradition. They are young, they are striking out on a different path from other members of the Royal Family and there is enormous goodwill for them. But they shouldn’t do that without regard for tradition,’ said one. ‘Her Majesty was already scheduled to be in Scotland for her annual Holyrood Week and had a prior engagement at the weekend. There is a feeling amongst some that they should have been more accommodating about the date.’” Daily Mail: July 4, 2019
Kate: “It is a fashion conundrum not many of us will ever face, but what exactly does one wear for tea with the Queen? The Duchess of Cambridge met this challenge head on yesterday by co-ordinating her outfit with the Queen’s powder blue ensemble… The Queen, on her first official event to mark her Diamond Jubilee, was dressed in a pastel hat and two-piece coat dress with military-style rows of gold buttons designed by Angela Kelly. Looking relaxed and elegant, her outfit was perfect for what looked like a fun official engagement with the girls.” Mirror: Feb. 14, 2013
Meghan: “The Queen’s aides had told [Meghan] she would be wearing a green hat as a mark of respect to those who died in the Grenfell Tower fire. The Queen is said to have been ‘baffled’ when Meghan turned up without a hat as she didn’t realize she was supposed to wear one too. A senior aide said: ‘I don’t think the Duchess fully understood. This was not a request. Those are for others to make, not the Queen.’ The Queen’s staff are said to have noted the Duchess’s mistake or ‘lack of deference’” Mirror: Oct. 29, 2018
Kate: “We see a woman in her prime: stylish, confident and positively radiant, nailing outfit after outfit in the style stakes — and it’s a joy to witness… That old uniform of girlish dresses, tan tights and nude heels has been replaced by dazzling super-chic outfits to satisfy even the most exacting fashionista.” Daily Mail: June 16, 2019
Meghan: “Proper royalty is about tradition and duty, self-effacing service and loyalty — year after year after year, season after season… That is not to say that a monarchy cannot or must not move with the times — simply that it has to resist the temptation to be buffeted by passing cultural trends. Fashion is the exact opposite. And as fashion’s most famous bible, Vogue exemplifies the transient nature of the beast.” Daily Mail: July 29, 2019