Why Does the Media Attack Meghan Markle? The Real Reason That Will Change When Baby Sussex Is Born

Meghan Markle has been the subject of many headlines since coming into Prince Harry’s life — and a fair share of articles written about her have been less than flattering. Why has Markle faced so much scrutiny and is there an end in sight?

Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex attends a panel discussion, convened by The Queen's Commonwealth Trust, to mark International Women's Day at King's College London.
Meghan Markle | Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

Why articles about the Duchess of Sussex have been ‘an attack’

Though Markle isn’t the first royal family member to come under the media microscope, one royal expert believes there’s something different in the media’s approach to covering Markle. While others have been criticized publicly, royal historian Marlene Koenig, author of Queen Victoria’s Descendants, told Vanity Fair that the tone for Markle “is much more of an attack,” noting, “It’s a pile-on.”

Vanity Fair’s Michelle Ruiz took a deep dive into why Markle’s coverage is different, noting that “the level of vitriol lobbed at the biracial duchess during her pregnancy is rooted in the same systemic racism and sexism that has dogged her since she first began dating Harry in 2016.”

Ruiz points further to “unsubtle nods to the ‘angry black woman’ stereotype,” sharing that there’s been “a certain discomfort with a woman of color finding a fairy-tale romance.”

Maiysha Kai, managing editor of the Root’s fashion and beauty site, the Glow Up, called out the “real issue” involved in Markle’s coverage, noting: “You see it in the reporting about Meghan, but people don’t want to speak honestly about the real issue: they don’t believe a black woman has a place in the royal family. There is this sense that she’s never going to be enough.”

Some of Markle’s pregnancy coverage has been negative

While this is a joyous time for Prince Harry and Markle, as they’re expecting their first baby together, according to Ruiz, media coverage “has been dominated by negative narratives that drown out the excitement.” That included the odd focus on Markle cradling her baby bump at the BAFTAs, with Ruiz pointing out the Express headline “Meghan CAN’T STOP showing off: Duchess uses these SNEAKY tricks to flaunt her baby bump.”

There was also a ridiculous amount of attention over Markle’s New York City baby shower with friends, as the cost of the lavish party was reported on in detail.

Kai noted that the shower might have been “over the top” in comparison to other royals as they just don’t do baby showers the way that Americans do, noting that the backlash also “comes back to this sense that black women aren’t supposed to function on this level.”

Will the media be nicer when Baby Sussex is born?

While Markle has endured a fair share of rude stories about her in the media, there might be a change coming when Baby Sussex is born. Coryne Hall, author of an upcoming book on Queen Victoria, believes that the excitement surrounding the couple’s first child might just dominate the headlines more than criticism of Markle.

Hall explained: “They build someone up and put them on a pedestal, and when they can’t find anything more to say, they start knocking them down. Once the baby is born, the coverage of Meghan will go the other way again. She won’t do any wrong.”

That would be a refreshing change of pace. The happy occasion of Baby Sussex’s arrival could very well warm the media’s hearts as they can now shift the narrative to the couple’s journey into a new chapter of their lives.

Hall shares: “We’ll have this lovely baby” and a reminder that “[Meghan] makes Harry happy.”