Though Meghan Markle has been much more in the headlines over the last year after she and her husband Prince Harry blasted the British media for its racist treatment of her during their interview with Oprah Winfrey, she was far from the only target of the tabloids.
Her sister-in-law Kate Middleton also faced cutting and cruel commentary from the press both before and after she married Prince William. Markle may have referred to Middleton’s treatment as “rudeness,” a royal biographer writes, but the Duchess of Cambridge was regularly treated to “jibes” and “tormented about class and social climbing.”
Kate Middleton’s Cruel Treatment By British Press
Tina Brown addresses the way some in the British media treated Kate Middleton in her newly released biography The Palace Papers. The book, which was published on April 26, profiles the wives of modern royals and chronicles their treatment in the press.
“No one knew better than Harry what the British press was capable of,” Brown writes. “He had seen it all—from the primordial trauma of his mother’s last hours to the brutal invasions of his previous girlfriends’ privacy, and the monstering of every woman in the royal family except the Queen.”
He’d also been a witness to the way his sister-in-law was treated as soon as the press caught wind of her relationship with Prince William. Brown notes in The Palace Papers, “Kate had been tormented about class and social climbing and her mother’s Party Pieces business—’Mail Order Bride,’ one columnist sneered. The jibes didn’t end after the wedding either. She was routinely depicted as a placid nonentity.”
Kate, Pippa Middleton Called “Wisteria Sisters”
At one point, Middleton had been described as “as painfully thin as anyone could wish, without quirks, without oddities, without the risk of the emergence of character.” Brown also cited an anonymous source who told the Daily Mail in 2007, “Kate and [her younger sister] Pippa have already been dubbed The Wisteria Sisters—they’re highly decorative, terribly fragrant, and have a ferocious ability to climb.”
Brown continued, “It was perhaps inevitable that the same malevolent scribes who had heaped scorn on the class and looks of the other royal women would go after Meghan on race, practically throwing their backs out as they stooped to new lows.”
Meghan Markle Comments
Markle infamously referred to this treatment of Middleton as “rude,” but insisted in the interview with Oprah Winfrey that there was a distinction between rude and racist treatment. Markle said, “Kate was called Waity Katie, waiting to marry William. While I imagine that was really hard, and I do, I can’t picture what that felt like, this is not the same.” She added, “And if a member of his family will comfortably say we’ve all had to deal with things that are rude. Rude and racist are not the same.”
Regardless, it was unconscionable for either woman to be treated in such a fashion. We’ve seen countless stories from tabloids around the world that have baselessly maligned both duchesses with lies and completely fabricated narratives. The lows some media outlets will stoop to just to make a quick buck. Still, there are some things that the British media makes sure to never touch, on pains of being sued by the royal family’s no doubt elite roster of lawyers.