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We Support Strong Women: Why the Public Is Mad At Meghan Markle and How Strength Can Be Classy, Too

Updated: Jan 11

If you catch any headlines at all, you’ll probably have seen the last few explosive news cycles with Harry and Meghan at the center. They announced their separation from the royal family after a six-week hiatus from royal duties, and they did it without informing the Queen first. As Americans, we may say, “Good for them!” because we’re all about freedom, especially from British rule. Also, she’s a strong woman of color and we support both strong women and other minorities around here.


Yet there’s a lot of public outcry over their actions, and many blame Meghan for corrupting Harry. Why is everyone so upset, instead of cheering on this progressive feminist? Here are some reasons this is the general consensus, and ways strong women like Meghan can be firm in their convictions without being mean.


Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

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Reasons the Public Dislikes Meghan


1. She Sends Mixed Signals


Meghan sends a lot of mixed messages to the public. She’s all about maintaining her privacy and saying she doesn’t want to be photographed. At the same time, she makes unnecessary public appearances and pulls other stunts if she hasn’t been photographed recently. Her actions disagree with her words, which is confusing and frustrating for a public that only wants to adore her.


Another debacle was their private jet flight that got so much criticism. The couple claims to care for the environment, changing their Instagram followings every month to highlight new organizations that are doing their best to help with global issues like climate change (and humanitarian efforts). They’re also adamant they’ll only have at most two kids for environmental reasons, as well as urging other movers and shakers to do what they can for the environmental crisis. At the same time all this came out, they took a private jet to their vacation, generating more carbon emissions than necessary when many royals fly commercial. Then they got upset that people were pointing out the faux pas, culminating in a very impassioned speech on Harry’s part telling people to lay off the criticism--he’s only trying to protect his family.


It seems that mixed messages like these are part of the reason the public gets frustrated with the royal couple.


2. She Seems to Have Misled Harry


Another reason the public has such a hard time accepting Meghan at face value is she seems to have misled Harry. While he has always been more of a wild child than his brother, he had settled down and begun adulting before she entered the picture. Between 2014 and 2016, there was relatively little news of naked romps or drunken escapades. In 2016, he met Meghan, and from the beginning, she’s seemed to encourage him to go against regular royal rules (they began it all by announcing their engagement separate from the palace).


Many people are noticing that Harry’s once-close relationship with Will and Kate is ruined and his elderly grandma is angry and sad. It’s hard to like a person who appears to be at the heart of these changes.


3. She’s Disrespectful of Royal Tradition


Traditions aren’t the law, certainly. There will always be a place for traditions to change as time moves on, especially when they become archaic and don’t serve a purpose anymore. Yet traditions within the monarchy are very important. The royal family is steeped in them, and values their rich history. Furthermore, when traditions change, they don’t do it all at once as a big upheaval, but instead a bit at a time.


Meghan doesn’t seem to understand the value of tradition. As an outsider and a commoner, she’s been pretty disrespectful of palace traditions, including when it comes to press announcements. The palace gets to announce things; that’s just how it works. But Harry and Meghan consistently give the middle finger to this policy. With Archie’s birth they announced before the palace did via Instagram, sending royal press representatives into a flurry of activity to make up for the break in protocol and leading to a series of embarrassments. With their latest announcement of separation, they even addressed this habit in a passive aggressive note about The Rota on their new website.


Meghan’s disrespect of everything the British people hold dear is yet another reason the public has been frustrated (to say the least) with her behavior.


4. She’s Not Very Friendly


No one can help their personality. Some people just aren’t very warm. Yet we’ve seen Meghan be warm and ingratiating in public before, particularly on their South Africa tour. So when she turns nasty, the public feels taken aback and shocked at her reaction. I’m thinking particularly of her appearance at Wimbledon as “a private person, not as a member of the royal family.” She sat surrounded by empty seats (probably not what a private party would do), and sicced her bodyguard on an unsuspecting person who was trying to take a selfie with Serena Williams.


The Duchess has also been unfriendly toward her staff, reportedly treating them poorly and firing them on a whim. The public doesn’t seem to feel it’s too much ask that a royal they look up to treat people nicely.


5. She Seems to Have Misunderstood the Commitment of a Royal Spouse


After the long rift created by the Duke of Windsor’s abdication and marriage to Wallis Simpson (who is incidentally buried near Meghan and Harry’s Windsor home at Frogmore), the British subjects hoped they would be free of scandal again for awhile. And they were, until Charles and Diana’s affairs, separation, and subsequent divorce. Somehow they both continued their royal duties, and Diana continued to want to fulfill her role in serving the people, as anyone marrying into the monarchy ought. She was well-loved by the people.


When Meghan came into the picture and it was announced she would marry Prince Harry, people were anticipating the next Diana. They were thrilled for a mixed race, American, divorcée spouse for Harry. It was progressive and a step forward, and perhaps she would shake things up in a good way, completing things that Diana never got to because of her tragic accident.


Yet being a royal spouse does not include being in the spotlight because of drama you cause, and instead for charitable acts and meeting with dignitaries. The monarchy is a figurehead, in place not to comment on political matters but to be there for the people as an example and an inspiration.


This role is one Meghan hasn’t seemed to grasp, even though she knew what she was signing up for. Instead she’s gone on the record complaining and whining about how hard the job is, rather than finding the support she needs to carry on. Have you ever seen the Queen do this in all her years as the longest reigning monarch in British history? Did Queen Victoria go down in history because she drew attention to how hard her job was?


Strong Women Don’t Need to Brag About It


How could it be better for Meghan Markle? Soldiering on is a cliche for a reason, but in addition to bringing awareness to mental health, as the couple has been lauded for, they could seek their own mental health and healing. Strong women can be strong without having to say it all the time, and without having to be divas. In fact, the less you act like a diva, the stronger you are and the more people recognize your strength without you having to tell them. The Lad likes to say strong women are like lions. People respect them and give them the proper courtesy simply because of who they are. When women have to announce that they’re strong and make claims about their own character, they’re more like a rattlesnake who people are afraid will strike at any second. They’re given respect out of fear, rather than love and admiration.


Here are some ways that Meghan and Harry could handle their lives in a classier way and still have the respect and admiration they want (and probably deserve, despite the mess they’ve made).


1. Mean What She Says


Meghan needs to stop trying to have it both ways: she can either live in private or seek out public news coverage. Rather than saying she wants freedom from the press’s prying eyes and then staging unneeded public appearances, she could just choose one or the other.


She and Harry could also conduct this new separation differently. Make it a full separation instead. They can’t have it both ways, they’re either royal or not. Stepping down as “senior” royals doesn’t make sense, really. They’re also talking about living with one foot in the door on each continent, going between Canada and the UK.


When your actions match your words, people are more likely to trust you and give you the respect you’ve earned.


2. Don’t Snipe


The couple needs to make classier announcements. Instagram is not a place for official announcements, and it’s certainly not a place to demonstrate how important it is for you to throw the Queen and her staff off balance. There’s certainly a way to give official statements without doing it in a rushed, “neener-neener” style. If Meghan were to make fewer excuses and dial down the passive aggression and complaints, she’d probably be more well-liked by the public and earn the respect of the people again.


3. Settle Down


It seems that Harry is truly in love with Meghan, and their romance was a fairytale at first. Through all this uproar he has fiercely defended her, and gone along with everything she’s asked for. It seems that that kind of love is a great start for any marriage, and what they need now is to settle down. An anchored person is seen as a stronger person, and if Meghan truly wants the respect of the people, putting down roots could help. They should settle in one place, with the same staff, doing the same thing, not grubbing for attention every time the media has a Meghan-free news cycle.


People have less to gossip about if you just live your life and stop making a spectacle of yourself. There would be the normal stories about their public engagements, the regular life event stories (birthdays, anniversaries), and that would be it.


4. Finding A Confidante


If they’re really struggling as much as they say they are and aren’t just looking for attention, then they should do what strong people do and seek the help they need. Yes, being a mom is hard and isolating, and I imagine even more so when you seclude yourself away from people. So is moving to a foreign country. So is having the burden of public expectations. Obviously she needs a friend or a therapist she can trust to help her through it. This is how strong women handle it when they’re having problems.


5. Stop Reading the Press Coverage About Herself


So many celebrities say they never read the tabloids. They say it’s not worth it. There’s less to worry about if you just ignore it, and she can trust that her aides will bring her any major fires to put out. Otherwise, they would have a lot more freedom if they would stay away from the stories they don’t like, rather than throwing a fit about them.


It would be great for Meghan and Harry to find the peace they want. If #megxsit really happens after the discussions at the palace are completed, then following the possibilities listed above would help them find some peace and some freedom that they so desire. It may even bring the public back around, too, something that would quell the rumors that seem to surround the couple.


For ideas about how to dress like Kate Middleton, check out this post.


For more on strong women, read our posts about Being Wild or more about who we are.


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*Disclaimer: Some of the links you see may be affiliate links. All that means is if you click through and end up making a purchase, I’ll earn a commission.