All eyes were on the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, and her choice of attire when she arrived for the funeral of the late Queen Elizabeth II. According to several claims, the all-black outfit with a red poppy brooch paid homage to the late Princess Diana, who wore a very similar outfit during Remembrance Day in 1991.
Despite no official clarification made by Meghan on this statement, this was made a topic of discussion by the media. It did not take very long for the tag #GoHomeMeghanMarkle to trend on Twitter. People on social media perceived this to be a desperate move to get media attention on the day of mourning.
She was also suspected to carry a microphone underneath her dress as seen through the square creases in some photos. Speculations of the couple collecting content for their Netflix docuseries is a ludicrous theory that neither Meghan nor Prince Harry has confirmed to be true.
The couple was criticised for having held hands at the funeral which was evidently an instinctive gesture of emotional support for each other. A lot of people took to social media and called the act disrespectful to the Queen’s funeral, a reminder of prevailing Victorian moral sensibilities.
At the same time, Meghan Markle was morally policed on her conduct with the awaiting crowds. She accepted flower bouquets on her own and hugged a young girl in the crowd who requested the same. Her decision to encourage conversations with the awaiting people was also heavily criticised.
Meghan was criticised immediately after the Queen’s critical condition was announced for not being present by the Queen’s side on her deathbed. On the other hand, Kate Middleton, the Princess of Wales and wife to Prince William, received praise for choosing to stay at home and assisting her kids on their first day of school.
It is a stated rule that the royals may interact with public crowds with a handshake. They may also accept gifts and flower bouquets but only via security guards after a thorough check for safety. A lot of people were angry because Meghan broke royal protocols and violated royal traditions.
In fact, during her interaction with the crowd, a few women standing there avoided eye contact and kept looking downwards and when Meghan came forward to talk to them. They refused her handshake.
Meghan’s returning to the royal palace with Prince Harry was in itself an olive branch toward British Royalty, given her history with England is bittersweet. This was in turn met with humiliation and extreme scrutiny from the public because of her choice of attire and conduct at the Queen’s funeral.
In many ways, Meghan Markle mirrors the actions and demeanour of Princess Diana. During many significant public events, she was seen to encourage physical proximity and hugs with people. She made headlines when she shook hands and touched bandaged wounds of leprosy patients during the Leprosy Mission she was actively engaged in. All these reasons earned her the loved title of “People’s Princess”.
The Duchess has been compared to the late Princess Diana countless times because of the similar ways in which they have conducted themselves both inside and outside the royal household. Even during the monarchical reign of the Queen, Meghan was linked to Diana and was predicted to face a similar fate as hers.
Public judgment faced by both Princess Diana and Meghan Markle repeatedly questions how good they have been as “royal wives”. Even after the Queen’s death, Meghan was questioned about her stance in the royal family as wife and daughter-in-law. This is only because of her challenging traditionalism and conservatism within royalty.
Princess Dianas was constantly thrown under the burdensome label of not being a responsible daughter-in-law for the royal household. Meghan has also undergone this treatment from the public eye. The media even brings attention to the fact that both women ultimately left the royal household.
While many people consider this a “failure” on their part as royal members, they have both confirmed during individual interviews that they had to separate because of the palace’s impediment in their personal lives.
It must be noticed how other royal members, especially the men, hardly face any such consequences from the public and media’s judgement when they make impactful decisions. A prime example is Meghan’s husband and Diana’s son himself, Prince Harry.
When Harry and Meghan moved out of the royal palace, not only was Harry not questioned about his royal character and personality but his intentions were also scrutinised less in comparison. The reason behind his decision was also assumed to be Meghan’s manipulation, removing any agency from Prince Harry’s act.
This also has a lot to do with being an “outsider” in the palace. Both Meghan and Princess Diana do not hail from royal bloodlines . Both of them had grown up in a childhood far away from the training of royal roles.
As royal house tradition goes, these women have always been pitted against other women within the royal family. A never-ending topic for the public on this factor is the cooking up of stories of rivalry between Meghan and Kate Middleton.
It makes us wonder how despite the passing of generations,the conversation about the lives of women within the royal family creates similar headlines to date.