Did Meghan Markle Shade Kate Middleton With Her Vogue Cover?

The world can’t stop talking about Meghan Markle’s cover for the September issue of British Vogue

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, LGBTQ advocate and actress Laverne Cox, and boxer Ramla Ali are among 15 trailblazing female figures who will be on the cover. Titled “Forces for Change,” the issue will also include a conversation between the Duchess of Sussex and former first lady Michelle Obama.

But Markle won’t be on the cover herself. She reportedly felt that it would be “boastful” to include herself. And that decision is facing backlash, with many accusing Markle of shading her sister-in-law, Kate Middleton, through the remark.

Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton
Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton | Photo by Chris Jackson – WPA Pool/Getty Images

Why are people saying Markle shaded Middleton with her Vogue cover?

Some people are convinced that Markle’s decision not to feature herself because it felt “boastful” is a jab toward Middleton, who appeared on the cover of Vogue back in 2016. 

But it’s worth pointing out that the covers served two totally different purposes. 

According to Newsweek, Middleton appeared on the cover “to promote pictures of herself at the National Portrait Gallery.” Markle, on the other hand, used her Vogue cover to highlight women she “admires.” It features 15 women who are “raising the bar for equality, kindness, justice, and open-mindedness.” It also has a 16th slot, which is a mirror, so that readers can feel encouraged “to use their own platforms to effect change.”

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We are proud to announce that Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Sussex is the Guest Editor for the September issue of @BritishVogue. For the past seven months, The Duchess has curated the content with British Vogue's Editor-in-Chief Edward Enninful to create an issue that highlights the power of the collective. They have named the issue: “Forces for Change” For the cover, The Duchess chose a diverse selection of women from all walks of life, each driving impact and raising the bar for equality, kindness, justice and open mindedness. The sixteenth space on the cover, a mirror, was included so that when you hold the issue in your hands, you see yourself as part of this collective. The women on the cover include: @AdwoaAboah @AdutAkech @SomaliBoxer @JacindaArdern @TheSineadBurke @Gemma_Chan @LaverneCox @JaneFonda @SalmaHayek @FrankieGoesToHayward @JameelaJamilOfficial @Chimamanda_Adichie @YaraShahidi @GretaThunberg @CTurlington We are excited to announce that within the issue you’ll find: an exclusive interview between The Duchess and former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama, a candid conversation between The Duke of Sussex and Dr Jane Goodall, inspirational articles written by Brené Brown, Jameela Jamil and many others. Equally, you’ll find grassroots organisations and incredible trailblazers working tirelessly behind the scenes to change the world for the better. • “Guest Editing the September issue of British Vogue has been rewarding, educational and inspiring. To deep dive into this process, working quietly behind the scenes for so many months, I am happy to now be able to share what we have created. A huge thanks to all of the friends who supported me in this endeavour, lending their time and energy to help within these pages and on the cover. Thank you for saying “Yes!” – and to Edward, thank you for this wonderful opportunity.” – The Duchess of Sussex #ForcesForChange

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Markle and Middleton have faced feud rumors for months now. Lately, they’ve made several appearances together, which quieted the rumors. However, sources have said that the outings are nothing more than a PR stunt, created to stifle reports of tension between the two royals.

Markle’s cover has faced backlash for other reasons, too

For one, people are upset that Markle didn’t feature Queen Elizabeth

“Why didn’t she put more British people on the cover. And isn’t the Queen an inspirational figure?” one person wrote.

Another person echoed that comment. They wrote, “Why isn’t HM The Queen included on the cover of September’s Vogue, @RoyalFamily? Her Majesty is the perfect role model: like many of us she had no choice but to do the job she was given.”

So, clearly, they aren’t holding back. And, sadly, that’s not the only backlash Markle has faced over her Vogue cover.

Some are accusing Markle of plagiarism

Some people accused the duchess of copying the best-selling book The Game Changers by Samantha Brett and Steph Adams, for which she penned an essay in 2016. For what it’s worth, they do have similar formats. Both covers honor a trove of women and use a black-and-white-photo grid. See?

Brett offered some thoughts on the matter to The Daily Mail, saying she couldn’t believe the cover. “It’s obviously very flattering; she obviously likes our concept. I love Meghan and am a huge fan, but if what people are alerting us to is true, then it’s extremely disappointing,” she said.

While they may look a bit similar, black-and-white photo grids are pretty popular. And besides, the important thing here is that they both highlighted some very significant women.

Isn’t that more important than any feud, snub, or anything else?