Editorial

The media obsession with the Duchess of Sussex

Duke and Duchess of Sussex
Duchess of Sussex: What is the British media's obsession? Source: Bruce Detorres (via Flickr)
Since her marriage to Prince Harry in 2018, the Duchess of Sussex has dominated headlines. But what is the British media's obsession with the Duchess?

By Tirion Davies | Editor-in-Chief

It was announced this week that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will lose their patronages and officially cease working as senior members of the Royal Family. The news was preceded by the announcement that the pair were expecting their second child.

But amongst this news, a trend appeared; people on social media were noting they believed the British media were generally showing unfavourable bias against Meghan Markle.

These allegations are not new, however. Since it was announced that Meghan Markle was engaged to Prince Harry, there appears to have been distaste for the Duchess.

There is the possibility that this has to do with the Duchess of Sussex winning a privacy lawsuit against British tabloid The Mail on Sunday, after it was found that they had breached her privacy by publishing extracts of a letter written by the Duchess to her father, Thomas Markle.

It has been speculated that the letters were given to The Mail on Sunday by Thomas Markle, though Mr Justice Mark Warby noted that “taken as a whole, the disclosures [meaning the extracts from the letters between the Duchess and her father] were manifestly excessive and hence unlawful”.

There remains a debate, however, about the Duchess’ own involvement in the letter, and it was found that an electronic draft of the letter had been shared with Jason Knauf, a member of Buckingham Palace’s communications team.

The Duchess of Sussex’s lawsuit is not the only lawsuit against the media by the Royal Family but it is the most spoken of within the media. 

Prince Charles, the Queen, and even the Duchess of Cambridge have all taken actions against publications in the past; in most instances, they have won their cases. Yet, it’s unlikely we’ll hear much about them and their legal pursuits – but why?

Meghan Markle was scrutinised by the British media before marrying into the Royal Family. The Duchess of Cambridge, Catherine Middleton, faced a similar fate before she married Prince William, but not quite to the same extent. The Duchess of Cambridge has received little negative press since she married into royalty.

During the Duchess of Sussex’s first pregnancy, she revealed she enjoyed avocado on toast and was craving it during her pregnancy. A headline in the Daily Express claimed “Meghan Markle’s beloved avocado linked to human rights abuse and drought, millennial shame”.

However, during the Duchess of Cambridge’s third pregnancy, the Duke of Cambridge was offered an avocado by a young boy during an engagement who had noted it had helped his mother when she had morning sickness. At the time, the Daily Express stated “Kate’s morning sickness cure? Prince William gifted with an avocado for pregnant Duchess”.

 Some have put forward explanations for why there appears to exist a gulf between the reporting of the two duchesses, although it seems unlikely we’ll ever be given an answer. 

But we can speculate as to why the media have been obsessed with the Duchess of Sussex in recent years since her wedding to Prince Harry in 2018.

The Royal Family has an agreement with British tabloids called ‘The Royal Rota’, whereby a group of journalists from British media get exclusive access to Royal engagements and events. Some of these media outlets include The Daily Mail, The Daily Express, The Daily Mirror, The Evening Standard, The Telegraph, and The Sun.

It’s possible that due to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex deciding to step back from Royal duties, they were saying they no longer wanted any part in the Royal Rota. We will, of course, never know if this is in fact the case, but there is a possibility that being denied access that would usually be offered freely as part of this agreement could cause a rift between the Royal Family and the British press.

The media do seem to scrutinise Markel’s every move, to the point it seems unfair.  I’m sure if most of us were in a similar situation, we, too, would have followed Harry and Meghan’s lead and left the spotlight.

In a week with more pressing news such as the fact English Health Secretary Matt Hancock was found to have acted unlawfully over pandemic contracts, focusing on the Duchess of Sussex seems trivial.


Cyhoeddodd y Dug a Duges Sussex yr wythnos hon y bydden nhw’n gorffen gweithio fel aelodau hŷn y Teulu Brenhinol. Daeth y newyddion yn fuan wedi iddynt gyhoeddi eu bod yn disgwyl eu hail babi yn hwyrach y flwyddyn hon.

Ond, yng nghanol y newyddion yma daeth tuedd; roedd pobl ar gyfryngau cymdeithasol yn nodi eu bod yn teimlo bod y gwasg ym Mhrydain yn dangos tuedd yn erbyn y Dduges, Meghan.

Nid yw hyn yn dopig newydd, er hyn. Ers i Meghan Markle cyhoeddi ei bod yn priodi’r Tywysog, mae’r gwasg wedi dangos anhoffter tuag ati.

Mae’n bosib bod yr obsesiwn drosti’n ddiweddar o ganlyniad i’r Dduges Sussex yn ennill ei hachos cyfreithiol yn erbyn The Mail on Sunday, wedi iddynt gael ei ddarganfod o fod wedi torri rheolau preifatrwydd dros gyhoeddi rhannau o lythyrau wedi’i ysgrifennu gan y Dduges at ei thad, Thomas Markle.

Mae rhai wedi cynnig mae’n bosib yr oedd Thomas Markle ei hun wedi cynnig y llythyrau i’r Mail on Sunday, ond ar y cyfan yr oedd y papur wedi torri rheolau preifatrwydd gan gyhoeddi’r llythyrau, ac felly wedi ymddwyn yn anghyfreithlon.

Nid achos cyfreithiol y Dduges Sussex yw’r unig achos cyfreithiol gan y Teulu Brenhinol dros y blynyddoedd, ond dyma’r un sydd wedi achosi’r fwyaf sylw yn y wasg.

Yr oedd y Tywysog Charles, y Frenhines, a hyd yn oed Duges Cambridge wedi’i fod yn rhan o achosion cyfreithiol yn erbyn y wasg yn y gorffennol; ar y mwyafrif, yr oeddynt wedi ennill yr achosion. Ond, ar y cyfan, nad ydynt wedi clywed rhyw lawer amdanynt – ond pam?

Roedd Meghan Markle wedi derbyn craffu cyn iddi briodi’r Tywysog Harry. Gwnaeth y Dduges Cambridge, Catherine Middleton, derbyn craffu tebyg cyn iddi briodi’r Tywysog William, ond ar y cyfan, nad oedd hi wedi derbyn yr un lefel o sylw. Ers iddi briodi’r Tywysog William, nid yw’r Dduges Cambridge wedi derbyn llawer o sylw negyddol gan y wasg.

Yn ystod beichiogrwydd cyntaf Duges Sussex, fe wnaeth hi sôn ei bod yn mwynhau avocado ar dost ac yn gweld ei heisiau’n aml yn ystod beichiogrwydd. Wnaeth pennawd yn y Daily Express nodi “Meghan Markle’s beloved avocado linked to human rights abuse and drought, millennial shame”.

Er hyn, pan dderbyniodd Tywysog William avocado i roi i’w wraig yn ystod ei thrydydd beichiogrwydd, nododd y Daily Express “Kate’s morning sickness cure? Prince William gifted with an avocado for pregnant Duchess”.

Mae nifer wedi nodi rhesymau dros yr anffafriaeth yn erbyn y Dduges Sussex a ddim y Dduges Cambridge yn y wasg, ond mae’n debyg na fyddem byth yn derbyn ymateb llawn am y rhesymau hynny gan y wasg.

Ond, mae’n bosib y gallwn ni dyfalu pam bod y Dduges Sussex wedi derbyn ymateb negyddol yn y wasg ers iddi briodi i’r Teulu Brenhinol yn 2018.

Mae gan y Teulu Brenhinol cytundeb gyda nifer o bapurau newydd yn y wasg ym Mhrydain o’r enw ‘Royal Rota’, lle bod gan nifer o newyddiadurwyr mynediad i’r Teulu Brenhinol a’u hymrwymiadau.

Mae’n bosibl gan fod y Dug a’r Dduges Sussex wedi gadael y ei swyddi fel prif aelodau’r Teulu Brenhinol bod y wasg yn anhapus, gan fod hyn yn golygu nad ydynt bellach eisiau bod yn rhan o’r ‘Royal Rota’. Wrth gwrs, mae’n annhebygol y byddem ni’n derbyn esboniad os bod hyn yn wir neu’i beidio, ond mae’n bosibl bod gwrthod mynediad i’w bywydau wedi achosi rhwyg rhyngddynt a’r gwasg Prydeinig.

Mae’r gwasg yn aml yn craffu ar bob dim mae Meghan Markle yn ei gwneud, ac mae’n teimlo’n annheg. Mae’n siŵr, os oeddem ni yn yr un sefyllfa, y byddem ni, yn ogystal, eisiau ffordd o ddianc y chwyddwydr.

Yng nghanol wythnos gyda newyddion mwy pwysig, megis hanes Matt Hancock yn torri rheolau dros gontractau’r pandemig, mae ffocysu ar y Dduges Sussex yn teimlo’n ddibwys.

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