In 2021, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry finally broke their silence in an interview with Oprah Winfrey about the former’s experience as a participating member of the British Royal family. The couple also shared they had moved to America to protect their son’s and their mental health. The Duchess of Sussex cited racism, difficult relationships with other royal family members, and the loneliness she felt moving to a new country that was so bad it left her suicidal. After years of putting up with being portrayed as “Duchess Difficult” and having multiple estranged family members attempt to ruin her reputation, she finally took a stand to set things straight and tell her truth. Unfortunately, it was a truth many didn’t want to hear.
Even before it had been released, the interview was stirring drama and speculation over what would be revealed. News publications had a field day with every trailer and clip shared, and when the full version finally aired, mainstream journalists and royal commentators critiqued every point. Many had little sympathy for the former Hollywood actress. In fact, despite troubling revelations that some royals had concerns about how dark Archie’s skin would be prior to his birth, and that Meghan was denied professional help even though she “didn’t want to be alive any more”, there were many articles that instead focused and critiqued the interview being released while Prince Philip was in hospital. Meanwhile, other commentators such as Piers Morgan refused to believe that Meghan was ever suicidal in the first place. Shortly after the interview was released, the Daily Mail reported polls showed Meghan and Harry’s popularity to be at its lowest point ever.
But this mentality couldn’t be further from the truth on TikTok. The Gen Z and Millennial dominated platform is filled with content and videos defending Meghan. Many dug up racist and sexist comments and scandals that The Firm had previously been accused of to back up Meghan’s claims as reasonable and to discredit Prince William’s statement that his family were “very much not racist”. Tasha from TishToking created multiple videos highlighting different examples that prove the royals are in fact very much racist – from Prince Charles and Camilla giggling during a traditional Inuit throat singing performance to Prince Philip’s “slitty eyes” comment to an exchange student in China – as has Charlie Weston. Meanwhile, other platform users including self-proclaimed “rookie royal commentator” Zachary Myers, questioned why the Royal family were so quick to launch an investigation into claims that Meghan bullied staff, but wouldn’t launch an inquiry into Prince Andrew’s connections with paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
These videos and content creators all have hundreds of thousands of views, likes and followers, proving Meghan and Harry do in fact have many supporters within these demographics. 57% of Gen Z consume their news through social media rather than from news sites directly, so it’s no surprise many stand with Meghan and Harry given the aforementioned videos circulating their favourite platforms. As a result, they’re also not as influenced by the “royal experts” who dominate some of the bigger publications and whose bias was previously exposed in a YouTube prank. But regardless, these are the generations of intolerance. They simply don’t have any interest in defending a family that’s proven time and time again to be problematic, just for the sake of national pride. Meghan Markle might be unpopular on the front pages, but TikTok is levelling out the playing field.
By Lucinda Diamond, food and travel editor of CORQ.