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People Are Contrasting Media Coverage Of Kate Middleton And Meghan Markle

Recent questions surrounding Kate Middleton’s whereabouts have led royal-watchers to reflect on the way Meghan Markle has been treated as a public figure and in the media.

The Duchess of Sussex has, for years, been outspoken about being on the receiving end of relentless and racist attacks from social media users and the U.K. press. Many people on X, formerly Twitter, have in recent weeks compared that onslaught to the way the Princess of Wales has been covered the past few months, amid skepticism surrounding her withdrawal from public view.

Kate hasn’t been photographed in an official public appearance since December. Kensington Palace announced in January that she underwent a planned abdominal surgery and was unlikely to return to her public duties until after Easter.

Since then, speculation about Kate’s whereabouts and well-being have run rampant on social media.

Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle photographed together at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, July 13, 2019.
Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle photographed together at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, July 13, 2019. via Associated Press

Suspicions that there might be other reasons behind her noticeable absence were only fueled further on Sunday, when The Associated Press and other news agencies withdrew an official Mother’s Day photo of Kate and her children issued by Kensington Palace. The AP concluded that the photo appeared to have been manipulated in a way that did not meet the news agency’s standards.

The official X account for the Princess of Wales has since shared an apology — which was signed by Kate — about the edited picture, and the palace has tried to shut down conjecture about her whereabouts.

But the entire debacle surrounding the princess has sparked conversations about how people online and the British media have approached the growing public concernabout Kate.

After some publications in the U.K. press uncritically reprinted Kate’s Mother’s Day photo — before the AP retracted it — the Daily Mail ran a piece, apparently unrelated, that accused photographer Misan Harriman of editing a 2021 black-and-white photo shot for Meghan’s pregnancy announcement.

Harriman has since taken to Instagram to dispute Daily Mail’s claim, calling the accusation “crazy.” He also shared the original photo of Prince Harry and Meghan to prove it had not been doctored.

Columnist Zeynep Tufekci drew more explicit parallels between the two royals in a New York Times opinion piece published Wednesday. As Tufeki noted, writer Celia Walden — who’s married to British conservative TV personality Piers Morgan — once argued in a 2019 Telegraph article that Meghan, as a royal, didn’t have the right to want privacy for her son.

On Monday, Walden published a piece in the same publication advocating for Kate’s privacy.

″The shameful speculation about the Princess of Wales’s health has to stop,” the headline read.

Other Twitter users called out Victoria Newton, the editor in chief of the U.K. tabloid The Sun, who in an interview with Times Radio on Thursday urged the public to “lay off” Kate, calling the speculation about her wellbeing “bullying.”

The Sun came under scrutiny in 2022 for publishing a column — under Newton’s leadership — by TV host Jeremy Clarkson, who suggested that Meghan should be paraded naked through Britain while people “throw lumps of excrement at her.”

The tabloid later issued an apology after backlash over the column.

Some people on X also mocked a Daily Beast article that included a quote from an unnamed source who appeared to partly blame Meghan and Harry for the stress the princess has allegedly been under. The Sussexes stepped back from their royal duties in 2020.

“She and William have been under intense stress ever since Harry and Meghan left the family,” the source said, in part.

See what people on X are saying about the coverage surrounding Kate below: