- Meghan Markle and Camilla, the Queen Consort, have been back in the headlines.
- Royal expert Kristen Meinzer told Insider they get very different treatment from the British press.
- She said Camilla is treated with “great respect,” while Meghan has been made the “villain of the moment.”
The royal family has dominated the news for weeks as the world said goodbye to Queen Elizabeth II.
There have been surprise reunions, somber photos, title changes, and controversial uniforms. New attention is also being paid to Camilla, the Queen Consort, and Meghan Markle, who was back in the royal spotlight as she and Prince Harry attended events for the Queen’s funeral.
But the two women are receiving very different headlines. And royal expert Kristen Meinzer told Insider that this is due to the British press treating Camilla with “great respect,” while turning Meghan into the “villain of the moment.”
“Part of what keeps the royal family relevant is the dramas around the family. I always say they’re the longest-running reality show that we’ve ever had on earth,” Meinzer said. “And the press always likes to choose their favorites, they like to choose their villains. And they’ve definitely made Meghan the villain of the moment.”
“I think the tabloids are very kind to Camilla,” she added. “The difference between how she gets treated versus Meghan is night and day.”
Camilla is no stranger to the wrath of the British tabloids. She frequently made the front page throughout the ’90s after her affair with King Charles was revealed. And things only got worse following Princess Diana’s death in 1997.
“It’s actually almost inconceivable how much abuse Camilla took,” Tina Brown, the author of “The Palace Papers,” told The Washington Post in April. “She was called hag, old bag, witch. These were the kind of words that were used about Camilla for years.”
But as the decades went by and the royal family carefully brought Camilla back into the spotlight (she and Charles were married in 2005), the headlines changed dramatically.
“Camilla gets respect for just doing work on behalf of the crown,” Meinzer told Insider. “Well, she doesn’t get all the celebration that Kate does, but she does get treated as somebody who is doing her job and doing it well.”
The differences between the headlines Camilla and Meghan have received in the British tabloids just during the last two weeks are stark. The Daily Mail praised Camilla as “down to earth” and the “royals’ greatest secret weapon,” while The Sun wrote that she was helping save the monarchy.
Meanwhile, headlines about Meghan claimed she left the Queen “hurt and exhausted” after stepping down as a senior royal, had been uninvited to a state reception at Buckingham Palace, and highlighted an Australian senator who called her a “horrible human.”
But this isn’t a recent development. The differences are also clear when comparing the headlines about Camilla’s appearance on British Vogue’s July 2022 cover to those Meghan received when she guest-edited the magazine’s September 2019 issue. Camilla’s cover was hailed as a “mark of the public’s growing respect,” while Meghan was questioned for giving “Vogue millions in publicity — so why is NOTHING going to a good cause.”
Royal commentator Marlene Koenig told Insider that Camilla succeeded in reforming her image because she “has always supported Charles, she hasn’t made it about her.”
“She puts her nose to the ground, she takes on patronages and charities, and little by little she becomes respected,” Koenig added. “Her role is to support the king, and I think she’ll do a darn fine job doing that.”
While Camilla rarely gives interviews, Meghan has been candid about the racism and mental-health issues that she faced while working as a senior royal, which Meinzer said went against the monarchy’s motto to “never complain, never explain.”
“I don’t think they understood that when it comes to issues like racism, you do complain and you do explain,” she added. “Racism is something where you’re standing on the right or wrong side of history. You don’t keep your mouth shut on those things.”
It remains to be seen if Meghan’s relationship with the British tabloids will ever change. But Camilla’s triumph as Queen Consort is proof that it can happen.