Meghan Markle bristled at low royal status, her reporter friend and other royal experts say – The Mercury News

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In a new documentary that touches on whether Meghan Markle played a role in the breakdown of the fraternal bond between Prince Harry and Prince William, a journalist friend of the American former TV actress tried to defend her, but appears to have confirmed some critics’ suspicions about her.

Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex arrive at the Royal Albert Hall in London to attend the Mountbatten Festival of Music in 2020, before their movie to the United States. (Simon Dawson/Pool via Associated Press)

In the new ITV documentary, “Harry and William: What Went Wrong?” journalist Omid Scobie portrayed Meghan as a star who came into the royal family as a talented, independent woman after a successful career in Hollywood, and therefore saw herself as offering a fresh approach to how the royal family could use their celebrity to advance their brand and causes they care about.

“Meghan came in driven and ready to work and that immediately ruffled feathers,” said Scobie, the co-author of “Finding Freedom,” the sympathetic book about Harry and Meghan’s 2020 exit from royal life and move to the United States.

“She’s a woman well into her 30s. I think she’s proven to herself and the people she’s worked with up until that point that she knows what she’s doing,” added Scobie, who also provides royal commentary for “Good Morning America.”

Meghan’s critics would say it was presumptuous of her to think that the centuries-old monarchy would suddenly change up its operations because of a newcomer. Meghan likewise “was certainly not someone who was going to change herself just to please the people around her,” Scobie added.

Scobie also suggested that Meghan bristled at being told that she and Harry were not as high on the royal hierarchy as William and Kate Middleton, because Harry is only sixth in line to the throne while William one day will become king.

“I felt they also had to be reminded: ‘You’re not the stars of the show here. There is a hierarchy and you don’t come very high in it,” Scobie said.

Some of Scobie’s observations align with views offered by other authors and royal reporters interviewed for the ITV documentary.

These observations also follow reports that allege that Meghan bullied palace staff, prompting a Buckingham Palace investigation. Meghan, now living with Harry in California, has strongly denied the allegations, saying she was a victim of a “smear campaign” ahead of her and Harry’s bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey in March.

Catherine St-Laurent, who worked as chief of staff for Harry and Meghan’s Archewell Foundation, praised the couple’s leadership in a new interview with The Cut. “They are incredibly talented and creative leaders. … The time that I spent with them was incredibly fulfilling.”

On the U.K. royal beat, it’s generally Scobie’s role to present Harry and Meghan’s side of things and to portray the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in a positive light, unlike the tabloids.

Speaking about Meghan’s supposed concerns about hierarchy, she reportedly expected that she and Harry should “be on equal footing” with William and Kate, Camilla Tominey, associate editor of The Daily Telegraph, said in the documentary.

Meghan and Harry told Oprah Winfrey that they left the U.K. because of the tabloids’ relentless coverage of her. They also complained that the royal family was cruel and dysfunctional and that at least one member harbored racist attitudes.

Tominey said the real “final straw” for the Sussexes was when they were denied the right to set up their own household, like William and Kate, according to Tominey said. They were told no by Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles.

“Why can’t we have what the Cambridges are having? We should be on an equal footing,’” Tominey said the Sussexes demanded.

Meanwhile, author Robert Lacey, who reported on the bullying allegations in an updated edition of his book, “Battle of Brothers,” quoted a source close to William who said that Meghan appeared to have an “agenda” from the beginning of her relationship with Harry. Lacey also quoted someone who said Meghan could be a “500 percent nightmare” because of “the never-ending P.R.”

Author Penny Junor said that Meghan also didn’t make a good first impression when she joined the royal family.

“She was not as charming as she seemed,” Junor said. “Harry and Meghan’s approach is not just Californian, it’s showbiz-y, celebrity. Our royal family are not celebrities. They are working members of a public institution.”

The ITV documentary aired over the weekend, raising new questions about the future relationship between William and Harry. The brothers appeared to be polite and friendly with each other last week, when they jointly unveiled a statue at Kensington Palace, dedicated to their late mother Princess Diana, but Harry reportedly left Kensington Palace immediately after the ceremony, without the brothers having a chance to meet in private and talk out their differences.

The documentary sparked another controversy, related to other comments from Scobie. The Daily Mail reported that ITV cut a line from Scobie, at the request of Kensington Palace, in which he claimed that William’s staff planted a media story questioning the state of Prince Harry’s mental health.

According to Scobie, this story was leaked after Harry and Meghan gave a bombshell interview in South Africa in 2019, when the duchess first suggested the royal family was indifferent to her mental health struggles and Harry first confirmed there were tensions between him and his brother.

The original footage of the show quoted Scobie as saying, “I would say that it was no coincidence that it was shortly after that aired, even the next day, there were source quotes that came from a senior aide at Kensington Palace saying that William was worried about his brother’s mental health.”

The Daily Mail said Kensington Palace threatened legal action if the line “about his brother’s mental health” was not excised. The palace said it was “false and defamatory” and claimed that Scobie had no evidence to support such an assertion. After “carefully considering,” ITV “chose to remove” the mental health reference.

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