Why the Queen Is Sympathetic to Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's Battle With the Tabloids (Exclusive)
By Jennifer Drysdale
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Queen Elizabeth II is likely "sympathetic" to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's struggles amid their battle with British tabloids.
The royal couple candidly opened up about their ups and downs in Harry & Meghan: An African Journey, which aired on ITV on Sunday night. As royal commentator Victoria Arbiter told ET on Monday, while the queen wouldn't have expressed her private struggles in such a way, Her Majesty certainly feels for Meghan and Harry and what they are going through.
"The queen has always said, 'Never wear private grief on a public sleeve.' She is very much duty first because she's looking at the institution of monarchy, not the individual players," Arbiter says. "While I do think she will be sympathetic to what Harry and Megan are going through, I think she would like to offer support from behind the scenes, without airing too much for public appetite."
Harry and Meghan announced their decision to take legal action against Associated Newspapers -- owners of the Daily Mail, MailOnline, Metro and more -- on Oct. 1, with Harry slamming their treatment of his wife and explaining that he didn't want history to repeat itself after the death of his mother, Princess Diana. In Sunday's documentary, both opened up about the "bullying" Meghan has faced from the media.
"I think the queen will agree that the tabloid coverage has been undeniably cruel. There's been harassment, there's been sexist, racist, xenophobic-type coverage, so I think the queen is very aware of that but she's also coming at this from 67 years of juggling the media," Arbiter says. "The media and the royals, they need each other, so again, it's very, very difficult. How do you combat this negative constant criticism while also maintaining a good relationship?"
"Many years ago, while Diana was struggling with something similar, the queen pulled all the newspaper editors into Buckingham Palace. She asked them to lay off." Arbiter recalls. "She said, 'Please just give it a break.' They said, 'Yeah, yeah, yeah.' A week later, they are taking pictures of Diana on the beach wearing a bikini, so the queen's hands, to a degree, are tied -- but they are trying to offer support behind palace walls."
In addition to Meghan's struggles with the media, Harry also opened up about his reported rift with his brother, Prince William -- which tabloids previously claimed was a result of Meghan and Kate Middleton not getting along. According to Arbiter, amid Harry and William's supposed beef, Meghan and Kate have been "supportive" of one another.
"There really hasn't been any tension between Meghan and Kate," she shares. "I also think motherhood is an amazing leveler. The minute Meghan had baby Archie, Kate could identify with her. She could identify with Kate. They had things in common."
"They are the only people in the world that understand what it's like to be in their position as young mothers, so no, I think the wives have actually been pretty supportive of each other," Arbiter adds.