Some British tabloids have received backlash for criticizing Meghan Markle in their birthday tributes to Kate Middleton.
The Duchess of Cambridge celebrated her 40th birthday on Sunday and in honor of the milestone event, many outlets published articles celebrating Middleton’s legacy.
One example is an opinion column by writer Tom Bower that was published in The Sun with the headline: “Kate Middleton is the jewel in Royal Family crown Princess Diana would be proud of.”
While Bower praised Middleton as an “icon,” he also wrote that Markle was known for her palace “tantrums,” and that it was “Britain’s good fortune” that Middleton is the future queen and not Markle.
“Kate makes modesty sexy and attractive,” Bower writes. “That discretion confirms that Kate is genuine while everything Meghan has done smacks of insincerity.”
The article faced scrutiny from The Sun Apologies, a Twitter account known for its criticism of the newspaper that has over 64,000 followers. In a tweet shared on Sunday, the account noted that Markle’s name is mentioned 25 times in the column.
Others have pointed out the criticism as well. For example, journalist Stephanie Guerilus wrote on Twitter on Thursday that the tabloids have used Middleton’s birthday as an opportunity to put Markle down “in favor of the ‘acceptable’ white duchess.”
Meanwhile, royal editor Roya Nikkhah published a tribute feature in The Times of London in which she spoke to royal aides, advisors, friends, and anonymous sources with connections to Middleton.
The article, titled “Kate Middleton at 40: how the Duchess of Cambridge is preparing to be Queen,” features a quote from an anonymous source close to the duchess, who claims that she rolled her eyes at the mention of “Suits,” the TV series that Markle previously starred in.
The article also addressed a claim made by Markle during her March 2021 Oprah interview that Middleton apologized after making her cry over flower girl dresses before her royal wedding to Prince Harry in 2018.
“I’ve had hundreds of hours of conversations with her [Kate] and it never came up. I only ever heard from Meghan about that — a very different story from what she said to Oprah,” an anonymous palace source told The Times.
“I’m baffled that some tabloids have taken this joyous occasion for Kate and turned it into an opportunity to bash Meghan,” US-based royal commentator Kristen Meinzer told Insider. “The fact is that Kate can be appreciated on her own merits, and should be allowed to.”
Royal commentator Kinsey Schofield told Insider that Middleton would likely “frown upon” the recent criticism of her sister-in-law.
“Both women are eager for their families to heal and although I know Catherine was disappointed by the mention of her name in the Oprah interview, she knows that their family is stronger united than divided,” Schofield, founder of the royal blog, To Di For Daily, told Insider.
“I can’t help but wonder: Do the tabloids fear that no one will read their stories unless their stories sully Meghan’s name?” Meinzer added. “If so, they’re showing a very sad lack of confidence in the Duchess of Cambridge. “
The tabloids have pitted Middleton and Markle against one another for years. While royal correspondents have previously reported a rift between Prince William and Prince Harry, the tabloids continue to portray their wives as feuding.
Even when Middleton and Markle attended public events together, such as Wimbledon, there was speculation about their relationship.
Marlene Koenig, a royal author and expert for History Extra on British and European royalty, previously told Insider that photos from this time might have been used strategically to support this narrative.
“The British press picks up something, the way they look at each other, it’s ‘Oh, they hate each other.’ But that’s a photo frame. You go to the next photo frame and they’re smiling,” Koenig told Insider.
Representatives for the Duchess of Sussex and the Duchess of Cambridge did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
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Just a normal column to wish Kate Middleton a happy 40th birthday in which Tom Bower manages to mention Meghan Markle TWENTY-FIVE times. Including:— The Sun Apologies (@SunApology) January 9, 2022
"Kate makes modesty sexy and attractive… Kate is genuine while everything Meghan has done smacks of insincerity."