Kensington Palace Is Concerned About Online Bullying Against Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton
Social media backlash has increased in recent months, ranging from pitting the royal sisters-in-law against each other to “violent threats,” a source tells Hello! magazine.
“The Palace has always monitored comments, but it’s a hugely time consuming thing,” the insider said. “They can block certain words, but some of it is quite serious. Over the course of last year, with hundreds of thousands of comments, there were two or three that were violent threats. You can delete and report and block people and the police have options around particular people. It’s something you have to manage because there’s no other way to control it.”
According to Hello!, “A lot of hours are being spent reviewing old material and moderating comments under posts.”
Although the Duchess of Sussex deleted her social media accounts ahead of her marriage to Prince Harry and Kate has never had personal pages, Kensington Palace shares news about Prince William, Prince Harry and their families – but arguments can get quite heated between Meghan supporters and Kate supporters.
“It follows a Kate vs Meghan narrative and some of the worst stuff is between Kate fans and Meghan fans,” the source told Hello! “Arguments about who looks more appropriate, for example, that turn into personal attacks on other users. It’s creating a supercharged atmosphere and everyone can join in, but what are the consequences of this?”
In response, the news outlet has launched the #HelloToKindness campaign, to combat negative online behavior.
Emily Nash, royals reporter at Hello!, adds that the magazine has noticed the abuse on their own social media pages related to stories about Meghan and Kate, both 37. They’ve even had to turn off comments after comments became threatening.
“It seems to me to be particularly sexist,” Nash told CNN. “You have people comparing them in a way that doesn’t really happen with men – ‘she’s walking funny, or her heels are too high, or her legs are too skinny.'”
Shortly after Harry and Meghan’s relationship became public in 2016, the prince confirmed their romance with a rare public statement slamming the racist and sexist comments being directed at her.
“His girlfriend, Meghan Markle, has been subject to a wave of abuse and harassment,” the statement said. “Some of this has been very public – the smear on the front page of a national newspaper, the racial undertones of comment pieces; and the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and web article comments.”
The statement continued, “It is not right that a few months into a relationship with him that Ms. Markle should be subjected to such a storm. He knows commentators will say this is ‘the price she has to pay’ and that ‘this is all part of the game.’ He strongly disagrees. This is not a game – it is her life and his.”