COLUMNIST Ruth Wishart shares her thoughts on the media coverage of the royal family, in particular Meghan Markle.


SHE held it together. Just about. But when asked how she was, on an ITV documentary, Meghan Markle had to pause to gather some pretty obvious emotions. Thanks for asking, she finally said. Not many people have.

More telling even was what she said about the tabloid coverage since she met and married her Prince. She’d been naïve about it, she allowed. But she did expect it would at least be fair.

Cue those self same tabloids to pile in, asking why a rich, privileged woman had any cause for complaint. Not least since she was doing so whilst touring some of the most deprived communities in Africa.

As a lifelong republican I found her honesty touching and disturbing. And was angry that her more knee-jerk critics seemed strangers to context.

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First off, this is not a woman schooled in the strange ways of the monarchy since toddlerhood. She’s been a successful actor free to express her views about all and sundry. Living in a society where celebrities are used to calling it as they see it. Not infrequently her views were expressed in attacking world poverty and prejudice.

Rich she certainly is. But unlike some of her wealthy peers, she’s spent a lot of time in Africa, just like her husband, involved with community building and educational initiatives. And the tour which sparked the documentary was undertaken to highlight some of these projects.

This was not your customary regal drive-by, en route to supper at the local palace. Or two figures on a distant dais. Instead, two adults, in casual clothes, mingling, eating, dancing and laughing with the residents of challenging townships.

As I say, I’m a republican. Someone who believes we won’t get rid of a class ridden society so long as we carry on with majesties, highnesses, dukes and earls and all the trappings of entrenched privilege.

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But that doesn’t make me blind to the fact that suffering and injustice are not the prerogative of any one section of society.

Meghan jumped into an unforgiving circus because she wanted to marry someone she loved. That she was a fully formed adult woman with fully formed opinions of her own is hardly a crime.

There followed too much tutting from other royal “sources”, complaining that Meghan (and indeed Harry) had contravened the rules by actually fessing up to how they felt, rather than preserving a lofty pretence that everything in the post marital garden was just lovely, thank you.