These #Megxit Headlines Put Meghan Markle Front and Center
Since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle released their bombshell announcement on Jan. 8 that they would be “stepping back” from their royal duties and moving away from the UK, the internet has exploded with everything from serious commentary about the pressures of royal life to #Megxit jokes.
In a joint statement, little Archie’s parents wrote in part, “We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen. It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment.”
Among the many headlines that have circulated over the past few days, a few have especially made fans of the royal family take notice. From major news outlets to local Chicago newspapers, a few publications have chosen to put Markle front and center rather than casting her simply as Prince Harry’s wife.
AJ+ referred to Prince Harry simply as Markle’s ‘husband’ in a viral tweet
AJ+ News shared an unconventional #Megxit headline on Jan. 8 that quickly went viral.
The tweet about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s big announcement read, “Meghan Markle and her husband say they’re stepping back as senior members of the Royal Family and will ‘work to become financially independent. They’ll split their time 50/50 between the UK and North America.”
The outlet’s choice to make Markle the focus of the tweet got plenty of attention. As of Jan. 10, the tweet had garnered nearly 109,000 likes and over 17,000 retweets.
Thousands of comments poured in, praising the outlet for putting a twist on the conventional media focus on powerful male public figures, while women are often cast as simply “their wives.”
Yet another joked, “Don’t think I’m familiar with her husband but good for Meghan for putting her family first.”
Outlets made similar unconventional choices when George Clooney married Amal Alamuddin
Other outlets have put this twist on headline construction to similar rave responses.
When George Clooney (who, incidentally, is friends with Markle and Prince Harry) married human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin, for example, many fans noticed Alamuddin’s name was left out of many headlines entirely. When she wasn’t left out, she was often relegated to simply “wife” or “bride,” with no mention of her own accomplishments or identity.
A few outlets sought to change that trend, according to BuzzFeed. BuzzFeed’s headline, “Accomplished lawyer Amal Alamuddin marries that actor from ‘ER,’” quickly went viral.
Business Woman Magazine made a similar point with their article, titled, “Internationally acclaimed barrister Amal Alamuddin marries an actor.”
And heading up the trend was Slate, where Clooney’s and Alamuddin’s engagement was announced with the headline, “London human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin is engaged,” with no mention of Clooney at all.
Two Chicago-area papers focused on Markle’s connection to Northwestern
Many Chicagoans and Northwestern grads are especially proud of Markle’s connection to the city and to Northwestern itself, where she graduated with her bachelor’s degree in international relations and theater in 2003.
A few headlines from Chicago-based outlets followed a similar pattern, highlighting Markle instead of Prince Harry.
The Chicago Tribune tweeted their #Megxit story with the headline, “Northwestern graduate moving closer to home after spending time abroad.” The wildly popular tweet amassed nearly 70,000 likes and over 12,000 retweets as of Jan. 10.
Markle’s supporters loved that she was being centered in the story, especially because of Markle’s difficulty with the media over the past year. “Whoever wrote this headline deserves a raise,” wrote one Twitter user. Another joked, “Princess Diana approves!” with two pictures of Prince Harry’s mother in a Northwestern sweatshirt.
This isn’t the first time that the Chicago Tribune has focused on Markle’s role in the royal family. A 2017 editorial in the publication was (somewhat satirically) titled, “NU alumni notes: 2003 grad accepts government post in London.”
The Daily Northwestern, a local paper serving Northwestern as well as the surrounding Evanston area, also highlighted Markle’s connection to Chicago. “Northwestern alumna Meghan Markle, husband to ‘step back’ as senior members of British royal family,” read the outlet’s headline.