Meghan Markle ‘pushing back’ against ‘Duchess Difficult’ label

Meghan Markle ‘pushing back’ against labels says Arbiter

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The Duchess of Sussex has used her Spotify podcast series Archetypes to “push back” against the “Duchess Difficult” nickname she was branded with during her time as a working member of the Royal Family. The title was first coined in 2018, shortly after her royal wedding to Prince Harry, as rumours swirled that Meghan Markle was incredibly demanding of Palace staff. Several aides reportedly departed due to Meghan’s challenging behaviour, although the accounts of some former staff have been contested by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Utilising the new platform of her podcast, Meghan has hit out against the “difficult” label being attached to people who are actually just attempting to make themselves sound “clear”.

Royal commentator Victoria Arbiter reported: “Certainly, I think her podcast has been an incredible platform to push back against some of the wrongs she feels she has experienced.

In the latest episode of Archetypes, Meghan spoke to American actress Issa Rae, alongside comedian and writer Ziwe and Professor Emily Bernard, to discuss some of the stereotypical labels attached to black women.

During the podcast, the Duchess said: “Just say what it is you need, you are allowed to set a boundary, you are allowed to be clear.

“It does not make you demanding, it does not make you difficult, it makes you clear.”

Ms Arbiter referenced the latest episode of Archetypes as she suggested Meghan had condemned the ‘Duchess Difficult’ label attached to her.

She continued: “This week, people are interpreting her comments as pushing back against that label.  It was coined in 2018 following rumours Meghan was quite difficult to work with. 

“There were these 5 AM emails, several staff members claimed that they had been reduced to tears due to how she and Harry had spoken to them. 

“These claims have been strenuously denied by the Sussexes. 

“With the podcast, it is an opportunity to kind of get her version in there – probably not in quite the same blatant way that we have seen through the interviews, such as with Oprah Winfrey, but still an opportunity to lay it straight as she sees it.”

Read more: Meghan ‘simply can’t win’ after ‘personal tribute’ to Queen

Discussing the labels attached to black women, Meghan claimed she has found herself “cowering and tiptoeing into a room” in a bid to avoid being judged negatively in the workplace.

The Duchess added that she makes a conscious effort to remain “grounded” in all situations, but acknowledged that, regardless of this choice, “things are going to be said no matter what”.

Defying the ‘Duchess Difficult’ label, Meghan confessed she often finds she has to remind herself to just “say the thing that you need.”

She explained that she regularly finds herself “saying a sentence and the intonation goes up – like it’s a question,” and has to consciously try to be more direct in communicating her needs.

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Ms Arbiter noted that the timing of Meghan’s podcast discussion was likely no coincidence given the recent publication of some notable royal books. 

Royal correspondent for The Times, Valentine Low, has released his book documenting the tales of Palace staff – Courtiers: The Hidden Power Behind the Crown.

Victoria Arbiter said: “He has shared an account from members of staff, none of whom are named, but they have said that they really struggled in their time working with Harry and Meghan. 

“Harry and Meghan have not responded to this officially, but I think this is a way for Meghan to say, I know that the phrase is out there – Duchess Difficult – I don’t see it this way.”

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