When the recent news that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle would be moving out of Kensington Palace to live at Frogmore Cottage broke, speculation around the move also broke with it. Was this really such a shocking announcement for someone who (with every royal baby birth) has moved further and further down the line of succession? Was this really out of nature for a couple who have been known to break royal protocol? Was this unreasonable given that Harry and Meghan are about to start their own family? Or was there trouble brewing between the brothers?
Unsurprisingly, the first point of call for the media was to point fingers at Prince Harry’s new wife Meghan as the reason behind the move. Anonymous sources from within Kensington Palace claimed that there ‘had been some tension’ between Meghan and her sister-in-law, Kate Middleton, claiming that there was a clashing between the ladies at a dress fitting prior to the royal wedding, in which Meghan reduced Kate to tears. Another source also claimed that Kate was said to have complained about Meghan being needlessly nasty to a royal member of staff, which had left both Meghan and Harry less than pleased.
Whether these allegations are true or not, they were the golden nuggets of information that the press have been waiting for for months. Despite the Daily Mail reporting back in July that the Duchesses were ‘best friends’ as they enjoyed a day at Wimbledon together, as the narrative surrounding Meghan began to change it seemed only fitting that they throw in a classic girl on girl cat-fight. It’s almost as if these two beautiful, intelligent and stylish women couldn’t possibly be friends – they must be in competition with each other?! With magazines and newspapers running features that ask us ‘who wore it best?’ the desire to create a competition between the two Duchesses has always been there. The Sun have even recently reported on this rumoured conflict between the two with the headline: “Why it’s no surprise sexual Meghan Markle and introvert Kate Middleton are having a royal rift”.
Whilst I am under no illusion that these two spend evenings in Kensington braiding each other’s hair and watching chick-flicks, I do take issue in the way in which the media can only accept women being the best of friends or mortal enemies. There is apparently no room for the in-between. Ask yourself- how many times have you read a news story that depicts a potential feud between two men? Or a feature that asks you whether Prince Charles or Prince Andrew ‘wore it better’?
It seems that seeing two women go head to head has been one of society’s oldest and most voyeuristic past-times, which has become even more popular in the modern world, with reports of spats between The Spice Girls (the very ones who coined the phrase ‘girl power’), shade being thrown between Nicki Minaj and Cardi B and the entire Real Housewives franchise running on the occurrence of female feuds.
But these aren’t two popstars throwing shoes at an awards show. These are women from two very different backgrounds who have both found themselves center-stage in one of the most famous families in the world. Most people struggle to get through Christmas with their in-laws, yet the slightest hint of tension between sister-in-laws who live and work together seems out of the ordinary?
Understandably, stories like these sell. I for one, have probably generated most of the clicks on each website’s version of events regarding Kate and Meghan. But the underlying issue remains that reporting on alleged feuds between women breeds a culture of resentment and competition rather than what women today everywhere actually need from eachother; empowerment and support. As readers, we can do better than falling for the same, tired-out trap of assuming that women are nothing but evil, jealous individuals who all want to be Queen Bee and are willing to tear each other down in the process. We can do so much better.
Lucy Sempey is a final year BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found at: Twitter – @LucySempey ; LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucy-sempey-482ab9130/