A Meghan v Kate ‘feud’? We’re too grown up for malicious fairytales
Suzanne Moore, Guardian columnist/The Guardain, UK
It’s a story as archaic as the royal family itself. But please, spare us the lazy catfight tropes
The United Kingdom is hopelessly divided, unsure as to its future and so acutely at risk of constitutional crisis that it could soon become ungovernable. So it falls to the popular press not to soothe division but to distract us. The dead-cat strategy is useful just now. (According to a disciple of this practice – Boris Johnson – you simply throw a dead cat on the dining room table so people start talking about the dead cat instead of the issue that’s causing everyone grief.)
But what’s even better than a dead cat? Two living ones, I suppose, and thus the tabloid headlines this week have been about an imaginary “rift” between Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton. I say imaginary because I don’t know the truth and nor, clearly, do the people writing this ludicrous stuff. They don’t know so much that even in their own speculation they have to put the words “rift”, “tension” and “feud” in quotation marks.
Nonetheless, the self-congratulatory welcoming of a divorced woman of mixed heritage into the royals didn’t last long, did it? Pregnant and over-demanding, the Duchess of Sussex must be a bit shocked to go to bed as a symbol of tolerance and wake up as Wallis Simpson, another bad American who upset our royals.
Who could be upset by Meghan, though? Mostly she seems to perform well, as far as I can tell, crossing her ankles and wearing horrible tights and big hats. She is breeding in captivity, as all royal women must. The crowds love her, so what exactly has she done wrong? Even the scant “evidence” or “leaks”, which are nothing more than bitching from anonymous courtiers, hardly make her sound like the Wicked Witch of the West.
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Among her alleged crimes, it seems that she wanted an emerald tiara. I don’t know what’s wrong with that. And she made the Duchess of Cambridge cry when Princess Charlotte was being fitted for a bridesmaid’s dress for Meghan’s wedding. In other words, she behaved like every flustered bride. She insists on writing her own speeches, and likes to think about them. What a monster! Harry is reported to have said, “What Meghan wants, Meghan gets.”Perhaps he did; perhaps she does. Perhaps having estranged family members in the US sell stories about you while at the same you are learning royal protocol, and perhaps being pregnant in the public eye is a very difficult thing. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to be a princess. At the time of the wedding I called it a retrograde step, the reinvigoration of the firm for the benefit of … what? England patted itself on the back for its ability to accept a stunning, opinionated woman who was not white, at the very same time as we were told that non-white immigrants made everyone feel uneasy.
Well, it didn’t take long for the “rumours” to begin, did it? Soon this woman was getting above herself. It’s the same old story. Remember when Kate, whose USP was her ultra-blandness, was also sneered at for being merely middle class. Who can forget the totes hilair “doors to manual” joke about her “pushy” mother? Because, remember, people who have had actual jobs are apparently not good enough for our royals .
Inevitably then, the tabloids, for whom womanhood is simply an endless state of measurement, competition and resentment, pit Meghan against Kate. These two young woman are very “different” – Christ, there’s a scoop – and therefore, as is the way, they must hate each other. The catfight narrative is pathetic, but it’s a tried-and-tested formula. Strangely, a year ago, a body language expert – those people who apparently make a living analysing hair-flicking – told us that Meghan was in fact mirroring Kate’s body language and relating to her as a big sister. All was hunky-dory.