From the Editor: The striking similarities in the royal family’s treatment of their Princesses

Megan Markle and Princess Diana both fought to be seen and respected by the royal family. (Wikkicommons/Sikander/Neveselbert)

Megan Markle and Princess Diana both fought to be seen and respected by the royal family. (Wikkicommons/Sikander/Neveselbert)

Coined as “The People’s Princess” by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Princess Diana brought a touch of humanity to the ever so lifeless monarchy. She shook them to the core with her empathy, compassion, attention, and philanthropy. 

But what she brought to women around the world was something far less common for a Princess — hope, by publicly standing against one of the oldest institutions in the world for failing to protect her. It would not suffice to say the media was cruel to her in marketing her vulnerability.

Diana’s relationship with the press has been a subject of heated debate ever since her death in 1997. There have been wild conspiracies surrounding the royal family’s role in the car crash that resulted in her death in an attempt to flee paparazzis. While the royal family might not have played a role in the accident, they are certainly contributing factors in the way she was treated by the press and thus worth considering. The people loved Diana, which is why the royal family didn’t. 

In many ways Meghan Markle, who married Diana’s son Harry, The Duke of Sussex, strikingly resembles the difficulties Diana endured. The decisions they both made to leave the monarchy not only made sense but also disclosed a pattern of scrutiny the women endured as a part of the family.

Once her association with the royal family hit the news, Markle not only became the target of racist trolls throughout the country but was plagued with racist remarks inside the family. Her son’s skin colour was allegedly a topic of discussion, and the press went as far as referring to her DNA as “exotic.” In fact, the couple’s decision to step away from their royal duties was infamously coined as “Megxit,” implying Markle had a great influence over the decision. 

In a tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey, Markle talked about the inescapable media attention and her mental health struggles, admitting to asking for treatment but being denied. Markle became everything that Diana was. Her effortless rapport with the people, her ability to speak up when needed, and her openness about her own struggles was what made her a part of the public. 

Diana had similarly openly talked about her struggles with bulimia, depression, and her failed marriage. Both women were chastised the minute they expressed their opinions within the structured mess that is the monarchy. But the family failed to see that they were relevant only as long as Markle or Diana were around.

The couple dubbed as the “royal outcasts” have since come out with their own Netflix documentary titled Harry & Meghan, a podcast on Spotify, Archetypes, followed by the prince’s memoir, Spare, all of which were relentlessly scrutinized. What most of us have failed to see, however, is the reason they put their lives out into the open — having nothing to lose. All these ventures were a desperate attempt to control their narrative and to write their own stories different from what the media paints them as. 

The misogynistic hate train against Markle and Diana really makes one think of a woman’s treatment, not only in the royal family but around the world. They challenged the colonial, patriarchal system they were a part of and got silenced into nothingness, but they inspired women all over the world to speak up against the systems that challenge them.