Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton were both vilified for setting a 'trap'. Their stories ended very differently.

Content warning: There are spoilers in this article for Harry & Meghan.

There is a scene in Netflix's recently released documentary series Harry & Meghan which shows an old clip of Meghan being interviewed for Hello! Canada. The clip is from 2015, a year before she meets the Prince, falls in love, gets engaged, gets married, does a royal tour, apparently causes havoc for the institution, steps away from royal duties, moves back to the United States, buys a mansion, does that Oprah interview, has two children, does a podcast that doesn't do too well (much to the glee of her naysayers), generates too many headlines to count... and deigns to tell her own story in a documentary series. How very dare she. Tut, tut, tut.

But before all that, back to 2015. The interviewer asks Meghan what song picks her up ('How It Feels To Be Free' by Nina Simone), who the fiercest female character on television is (Olivia Pope from Scandal), and whether she would pick Prince William or Prince Harry.

"I don't know," Meghan responds with a shrug of her shoulders.

"Harry," the interviewer suggests, laughing. [On another note, this interviewer would likely tell the story of how she predicted one of the biggest romance stories of all times to pretty much everyone she knows.]

"Harry? Sure," Meghan says.

Cut to the present Harry and Meghan watching the clip and their reaction. They find it amusing.

"Honey, I'm sorry. I of course choose you," Meghan tells Harry with a smile.


"It just again shows how little you knew," Harry says. "And look at how far we've come."

It's just one little innocent scene from their show. But like with everything Harry and Meghan do, this molehill has now become a mountain.

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Video via Netflix.

People have pounced on that 2015 interview clip the way they pounced on Meghan when she revealed she did not know much about Prince Harry or the royal family in her engagement interview with BBC in 2017. 

"Because I'm from the States, you don't grow up with the same understanding of the royal family," Meghan said. "And so while I now understand very clearly there's a global interest there, I didn't know much about him."

No sooner had the words left Meghan's mouth before a UK newspaper ran a cover story "picture exclusive" with a teen Meghan in front of Buckingham Palace. 

AHA! The naysayers claimed, pointing their fingers and adjusting their Sherlock Holmes hats. Here was irrefutable proof that Meghan was obsessed with the royal family and was obviously lying about everything. Because when she said she "didn't know much" about the family, that obviously meant that she did not know "anything". They are of course precisely the same thing.


OBSESSED. Image: Daily Mail.

Providing the abundance of quotes in the cover story was a former best friend of Meghan's, Ninaki Priddy, who had a falling out with Meghan over how Meghan left her first husband, Trevor. Ninaki and Meghan are no longer friends and do not speak. But, of course, that doesn't mean Ninaki would have anything bad to say about Meghan. Who she no longer speaks to. Because they had a falling out. And are no longer friends. Yep, we should definitely take everything Ninaki says as gospel truth, because she definitely wouldn't have some sort of bone to pick with her former best friend.


"All I can say now is that I think Meghan was calculated – very calculated – in the way she handled people and relationships. She is very strategic in the way she cultivates circles of friends. Once she decides you’re not part of her life, she can be very cold," Ninaki told The Daily Mail.

"I think it's a very fanciful dream to believe that you just walk into a Prince Charming. I know the royal family was something she found fascinating. She had one of Princess Diana's books [Diana: Her True Story] on her bookshelf, and even when she was with Trevor she told me she wanted to go and stay in London for at least a month. I can't remember exactly when this was, but she was married to Trevor and starring in Suits. She mentioned about wanting to go to London a couple of times.

"I wasn’t shocked or even surprised to hear about Prince Harry. I know she used to love The Princess Diaries – films about a commoner who becomes part of a royal family. She was very taken with that idea."

Ninaki then told Express, "It's like she has been planning this all her life. She gets exactly what she wants and Harry has fallen for her play... She wants to be Princess Diana 2.0."

In the 2018 book by Katie Nicholl, Harry: Life, Loss, and Love, the writer claimed Meghan would often watch videotapes of Princess Diana and Prince Charles' wedding, and that the Duchess received books about the royal family from friends because everyone knew how obsessed she was.


Also, there was this one time in 2013 that Meghan said she was single and loved English men. That's so weird, right? None of us ever say things like that.

The thing is, this has all happened before. Kate Middleton, wife of Prince William, had to walk this exact path – a rite of passage, if you will – to get where she is right now. The difference between her and Meghan is that Kate "passed the test" of the UK tabloids. The same "test" that Princess Diana and Fergie, Duchess of York, went through. Kate stuck with it and came out the other side practically untouchable. As Winston Churchill said, "If you're going through hell, keep going."

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In 2005, a Daily Mail headline posed the querulous question, "Did Kate's pushy mother send her hunting a prince?" because it had long been speculated that the 2001 meeting of Kate and William was more than just "chance" and actually had something to do with Kate's mother, Carole.

According to rumour – because yes, just like a lot of the stuff written about Meghan, a lot of it is rumour and innuendo and gossip – Carole persuaded her daughter to take a gap year and then enrol into William's college, St. Andrews, rather than Kate's first choice university, in the hopes that the pair would meet and fall in love and that Kate would then one day become queen.


Which, if true, you kind of have to marvel at Carole for. That plan is going swimmingly.

Disturbingly, the society journalist for UK's The Spectator magazine discussed how Kate's virginity could have been a factor in William's infatuation. "William is Kate's first serious boyfriend, and if her reputation is as squeaky clean as it seems, this suggests she may still have her V-plates intact and thus satisfy the age-old requisite for future queen consorts," they wrote in 2005.

According to royal author Katie Nicholl's 2013 book Kate: The Future Queen, it was a risky move for Kate to go on a gap year and enrol at St. Andrews because she may not have gotten in, and then would have missed out on both her top choice university as well as St. Andrews. "It seemed every girl in America wanted to come to St. Andrews to search out the prince. Kate would have read the papers. She would have known that William was going and that there was every chance they could be in the same program at the same time if she got a place to study there," Nicoll wrote.

In the same book, Nicholl wrote that one of Kate's friends claimed Kate had a giant poster of Prince William up on her wall and that she had an equally giant crush on the man who would become her husband. Kate denied this version of events in her engagement interview.

And then came that sheer dress. As the story goes, Kate volunteered to model at a student auction in 2002, and Prince William paid £200 to sit in the front row. When Kate sashayed down the catwalk in the see-through outfit, she "ensnared" the Prince, who turned to his friends and said, "Wow, Kate's hot."


In Tina Brown's book The Palace Papers: Inside the House of Windsor, the Truth and the Turmoil, which was released this year, she discussed how Kate was much better prepared for "royal life" than Meghan was. Kate and William met in 2001 and he did not propose until 2010, with the couple even breaking up right before they got engaged because the Prince wanted Kate to "be sure" about the life she was embarking on, whereas the romance between Harry and Meghan moved "quickly".

Brown told The Post that Kate needed a lot of "care and strategy" to be married to William, and repeated the speculation that Kate's mother Carole was the driver of the romance. "They were madly in love all the way through but... making it from the loving girlfriend to the future queen, that's an obstacle course. And it's like snakes and ladders. At any moment she could have stepped on the wrong square and had a snake," Brown said.

"If for any reason, [Kate] thought like Meghan, 'I'm out of here, I can do much better', it would be a disaster. [The monarchy] would, I think, crumble at the moment without her because she's the only modern, beautiful woman who's well-educated, substantial in herself, who's actually wanting to commit herself to the rigours of this institution. Not many young women could do that."

Putting aside the notion that a single woman is responsible for "saving" the monarchy, let's focus on the emphasis on "young women" in that statement. For young women like Kate and Meghan, getting into the royal family and being treated well by both the institution and the tabloid media first requires undergoing hazing or initiation at a sorority. It's torturous. And sexist. 


Looking at the narrative around both Kate and Meghan and how they "trapped" the Princes is telling – especially when there is no real proof this is the case. You don't see that in reverse: did Prince Philip "trap" Queen Elizabeth? Did Jack Brooksbank "trap" Princess Eugenie? It is only women who have this storyline thrust upon them.

Yet now that Kate has "passed the test", her narrative is being rewritten as a wonderful love story, while Meghan's pathway to Harry is seen as manipulative. The two women are often pitted against one another, as though "liking" Meghan – in as much as liking someone you have never and will never meet can be a thing – automatically means you dislike Kate and vice versa.

Fun fact: women don't need to be pitted against one another. It's not a competition.

Another fun fact: sometimes tabloids and "royal writers" and "sources" get it wrong. Sometimes, they even lie.

Both Kate and Meghan sure found that out the hard way. But only one of them is bearing the brunt of it now.

Feature Image: Getty.

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