Kensington Palace staff are having to seek assistance from social-media companies after Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton’s Twitter and Instagram accounts have been bombarded by online abuse.
Along with racist and sexist comments, the duchesses have also received physical threats – so much so that staff are having to spend several hours each week moderating posts.
The majority of the online abuse is coming from competing supporters, ie Team Meghan versus Team Kate. While a large amount of the abuse is directed at the royals, many of the arguments in the comments were between rival fans. This occurs primarily on Kensington Palace’s Instagram account, which generates at least 1,000 comments per post.
A source said, “It has been a challenge. Instagram has been incredibly helpful on this with advice and support.” The abuse is said to have spiked in October and November last year.
They’re not asking to be liked – they’re asking to be respected
One post about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex was followed with six knife emojis. Other comments included allegations that Meghan Markle bleached her skin to look whiter, while others called her “tacky” and “trashy”. One made reference to “the ghetto”.
It is Palace policy not to remove comments that are simply criticising the royal family, but any abusive, racist, sexist or violent comments or messages are reported and deleted.
Neither duchess has a personal social-media account; Meghan shut down her accounts and lifestyle website after announcing her engagement to Prince Harry.
Being in the public eye unfortunately means your every move is under scrutiny and that is only amplified when you become a member of the royal family. While both duchesses have had to deal with endless media coverage, Meghan Markle in particular has faced a hoard of online abuse.
It’s so disappointing that, in 2019, people are still comparing and pitting these two women against one another. And it’s unacceptable that people feed into the tabloid narrative of picking apart every move, clothing choice or rumour that circulates about the royals. Whatever your view on the duchesses and the royal family, that’s never an invitation to harass someone online. They’re not asking to be liked – they’re asking to be respected.