Kate Middleton's and Meghan's Reported 'Rift' Seems Like a 'Deja Vu' for Royal Watchers
According to tabloids, there are problems inside Buckingham Palace due to Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle, as they are apparently feuding. However, it would be silly to believe in every single headline that appears out there with words such as “Meghan left Kate in tears over her strict demands” and "Prince William and Prince Harry 'haven't spoken' for 250 days". Let’s break down the details of what is really going on.
THE ALLEGED FEUD
The reports state that this conflict between two ladies started three months ago, and now tabloids have decided to stop comparing Meghan and Kate and have started a new mission of disgracing their readers for doing that exact same thing on their personal social media accounts. But, the rumors about arguments between members of the royal family are the way these pages earn money.
The Duchess of Cambridge and the Duchess of Sussex are not the first royal sisters - and won’t be the last – supposedly in a feud. Back in the 80s, this happened to Diana, Princess of Wales and Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, better known as Fergie by the same tabloids that wrote about them.
ROYALS ARE NEVER FAR AWAY FROM SENSATIONALIST JOURNALISM
While the wives of Princes William and Harry met two years ago, Diana and Fergie knew each other way before they entered the royal family, so it’s not surprising that tabloids took to writing about their relationship from the first moment they started dating Windsor men. But that is not all. The girls were actually fourth cousins, and their mothers went to school together.
However, they did not become friends until Sarah started her courtship with Prince Andrew, Prince Charles’ younger brother, and the couple got married in 1986. In fact, Diana was an important part of Sarah’s union with Prince Andrew because of her position as Princess of Wales. Their friendship seemed to be beautiful and getting closer now that Diana had an ally in the family.
Before Sarah’s wedding, Diana counseled her on how to act during her first public event with the rest of the family. Fergie even borrowed a dress from the Princess, and they went together, appearing as close confidants. In her 1997 biography titled ‘My Story’, the former Duchess of York wrote about how anxious she was at that time as her biggest worry was the cameras.
"I looked over at my friend in befuddlement. 'Just keep smiling', Diana whispered. And I did, as I would for long years to come. I always felt safe in mimicking Diana."
They were both in their 20s at the time and celebrated together during Sarah’s bachelorette soiree. They dressed as policewomen, and along with several friends, they acted their own age in front of Buckingham Palace. Real policemen turned up to questioned them for their antics. After returning home from the festivities, they locked Prince Andrew out, so he could not get in after returning from his own party.
In 1987, the public shamed them for poking their friend Lulu Blacker’s bottom with their umbrellas at the Royal Ascot. In 1991, they were spotted with quad bikes at the golf course of Balmoral Castle while donning formal gowns and laughing. Unfortunately, their friendship seemed to turn sour after the media kept comparing them, and even both ladies admitted it.
In 1992, during an interview with Andrew Morton, Diana told him that: "Fergie wooed everybody in [the Royal family] and did it so well. She left me looking like dirt." Meanwhile, Sarah Ferguson talked about her complicated relationship with the Princess of Wales several times in the past, and last year, she told Harper’s Bazaar, “Because we were like siblings... we rowed. And the saddest thing, at the end, we hadn't spoken for a year [before Diana died], though I never knew the reason."
COMPARISONS TORE THEM APART
Although their friendship lasted for several years, the tabloids and their articles wrote about Diana being a boring person while Fergie was also cataloged as an outgoing darling. A 1987 article printed by Vanity Fair said that Fergie’s “fizz” left Diana “flat”. Journalist Georgina Howell said that after Fergie married Prince Andrew:
“The rambunctious redheaded Duchess of York [charmed] the Queen, captivated Prince Philip, and romped away with the hearts of the British public.” The article also added that "highlighted the mounting pressure on the Princess of Wales" and amounted to the "beginnings of a Royal catfight". While Sarah started as a shy girl, she quickly outshined Lady Di.
Further comments state that Fergie took to royal life much better than Princess Diana from the way she could ski to her conversation during dinner events. The article also stated: "Unfairly, [Fergie] is far better suited to a Royal role than [Diana]. Though outwardly rowdy and unguarded, Sarah is, in Royal parlance, 'sound'. Though outwardly generally well behaved and coolly self-contained, Diana is 'uncontrolled' … underneath Diana's perfect grooming, dangerous pressure seems to be building up."
A FEUD CREATED BY THE MEDIA
This might sound family to most followers of the royal family, and it’s because the tabloids have done something similar to Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton. The Sun likes to talk about the Duchesses often, describing Meghan as “sexy” while Kate is “demure”. Sadly, it’s not just the UK tabloids that jump on this van wagon.
Thousands of articles around the world compare both ladies, and the truth is that Meghan and Kate don’t have the same reasons for fighting as Diana and Sarah. Australian Women’s Weekly editor Juliet Rieden said, “My experience with the Duchess of Sussex and the Duchess of Cambridge is that they get along fine, and they're both eminent women in their own right who are doing a great job and are engrossed in their own world.”
"[They are] not friends yet, they're certainly not moving in the same world together. Yes, they have a lot of celebrity, but they are in a position of potential influence without the ability to actually do anything. They can raise awareness for things, but they can't change laws or make any political statements. Because they don't have power, because they're not effecting change, we can't write enough about their work.”
Rieden also said that a tabloid will interpret an eye roll as something bigger than it is, and that’s because fights always mean more sales. “So, 'Meghan and Kate get along' is not a story that sells magazines as well as, 'Meghan and Kate are at each other's throats'." Everything the wives of Princes William and Harry do gets scrutinized by the public 24/7.
IF PEOPLE KNOW, THEN WHY DO THESE STORIES SELL SO MUCH?
University of Michigan evolutionary psychologist Daniel Kruger said that the reason is due to our origins. A long time ago, people lived in small communities of around 200 people, and this is the set number of people someone can keep informed about, but in modern times, the number has grown exponentially.
"We hear about these people that we might never encounter in our lives, but we still see them as part of our social world because our psychology is not designed to think about millions of people. So, it's very easy [for the media] to convince us that [Royals] are relevant to our social world because most of the time, the people that you had information about were important in the past.”
Furthermore, people pay attention to others in high positions such as Royals because they were once in power, and their actions had real consequences for the rest of the population. "When high-status people are in conflict, this could have presented a danger when we were thinking about our own social community in the past."
Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that this trend will ever end because even after years of Princess Diana’s death, magazines are still writing about her and discussing her relationship with Fergie while sharing “inside” details that date back 40 years. The only way to stop reading superficial content about Royal families is to stop clicking.
Do you think there is really a feud between Meghan and Kate? Is it really all caused by the media? While the evolutionary aspect of this interest in feuds is not surprising, it could be damaging for some. If you liked this article, share it with your friends that love the royal family. See you next time!