Cast your minds back to the 10th of February 2019.
Prince William, president of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, and his wife, Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, attended the BAFTA Film Awards in London and mingled with celebrities and stars.
All eyes were on Kate and what she would wear.
So, when she turned up in a white Alexander McQueen one-shoulder gown and sparkly pumps, the media and royal fans loved it. She was described by fashion and royal commentators as ‘ethereal’, ‘stunning’ and ‘a modern princess’. The headlines were persistent with these compliments, and the media attention and opinions were all good and fine, despite how dreary it is that we get so overexcited over a woman’s physical appearance.
What isn’t okay is that the very same people, royal fans and media outlets, adoring and swooning over Kate’s ‘princess’ look, criticized and condemned her sister-in-law, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex only weeks prior for…
Wearing a one-shoulder dress to a celebrity event.
And how was Meghan described in the press for the black Givenchy one-shoulder gown she donned to the British Fashion Awards?
Vulgar, trashy and disrespectful.
She was accused by royal commentators of breaking royal protocol and told that she needed to stop dressing like a ‘Hollywood star‘ and instead like a royal, because royals apparently never wear one-shoulder dresses.
Except that Princess Diana, the Queen, the Countess of Wessex, and Princess Margaret have all worn them before.
So, these people are really going to call a mixed-race royal ‘trashy’ and ‘vulgar’ while deeming white royals ‘beautiful’ and ‘ethereal’ for wearing the exact same thing, and still be adamant that their criticism is not racially motivated?
But the hypocrisy doesn’t end there.
Meghan is constantly compared to her sister-in-law, Kate, and always seems to be in the wrong – even when she does things that Kate, their late mother-in-law Diana, and other royal women have already done and been praised and complimented for.
For example, while on tour in Australia, Meghan wore a maxi dress with a thigh-high slit and was slammed for being disrespectful and body-shamed for her “thin legs” by the same people who applaud Kate when she wears dresses with thigh-high slits and is complimented on her toned legs.
For this, she is shredded apart daily, as ‘royals do not wear black‘ unless for a funeral or during mourning. But some of her late mother-in-law’s most iconic outfits are black, and other royals, such as the Countess of Wessex and the Duchess of Cambridge, have worn black and were always complimented and praised for their ensembles.
So why the hypocrisy?
Simple: the media and royal fans are frightened of Meghan and everything she stands for.
Meghan is different from other royal women because she is everything that they aren’t: mixed-race, liberal, divorcée actresses. Meghan’s arrival has messed with the royal fandom’s perception of the status quo, leading them to believe they’ve now lost control. The only way these people can claim dominance over the situation is by discriminating against those they are intimidated by, belittling and criticizing them for everything they do, particularly their appearance and behavior.
Royal rules and protocol offer certain guidelines, but new, publicly-developed rules seem to appear every day when the Duchess of Sussex is out and about. Even wearing an outfit remotely similar to that of one of her in-law’s attracts criticism for not being ‘unique,’ while everyone turns a blind eye towards other royals wearing and doing the very same things.
While the media won’t stop analyzing what women in the royal family are wearing, it is very clear that the racial discrimination towards Meghan Markle won’t go away any time soon.
Ultimately, it strikes me as odd that while the world’s oldest and most traditional royal institution can move forward from their discriminatory past, mainstream media and so-called royal fans cannot.