Comparing Headlines About Kate Middleton’s ‘Messy Bun’ To Meghan Markle’s Shows A Glaring Double Standard

It's painfully unsurprising how different their treatment is around the hairstyle.

Meghan vs Kate messy bun

by Georgia Aspinall |
Published on

Remember back in 2018, when Meghan Markle debuted what would become her signature ‘messy bun’ hairstyle and set the tabloids absolutely wild? We say, ‘messy bun’, it was more of a meticulously styled, perfectly face-framing loose bun, not the ‘grab any loose bit of hair and whack it on top of your head’ messy bun that most of us would be familiar with. Despite the obvious elegance of it, all the tabloids and online trolls focused on was the fact it ‘broke royal protocol’.

From then on, every time Meghan gathered her hair into a bun she was essentially accused of shunning traditional rules. They pointed to the fact that ‘royal protocol’ dictates family members wear their hair in neat styles, with no stray hairs. Meghan’s departure from that was interpreted by some as her modern, more relatable approach versus the very traditional royals, but others took the ’breaking of protocol’ as a slight against the royal family. This allegation, that Meghan somehow doesn’t respect the royal family, has underlined every smear attempt of Meghan’s reputation since.

Unsurprisingly, that same narrative hasn’t applied to Kate Middleton. In a stark change from her typical long, wavy blow out, the Princess of Wales sported a low bun almost identical to Meghan’s signature at an appearance in Kent this week to promote her Shaping Us campaign which focuses on early childhood. The reaction? Floods of praise for her ‘stylish’ and ‘elegant’ new hairdo.

The response has been so overwhelmingly different to Meghan’s treatment, that fans of the Duchess are calling it out as a major ‘double standard’. In a viral video posted on TikTok royal commentator Amanda Matta (@matta_of_fact), compared headlines about Meghan’s messy bun versus Kate’s – captioning the video ‘Spot the difference.’

‘As always, it’s not about someone “owning” a style - it’s the double standards that are the issue,’ Amanda said - with countless commentators agreeing.

Of course, it’s not the first-time media outlets and public commentators have been accused of treating Kate and Meghan differently. In April, Dr Charlotte Proudman noted the difference between the way tabloids discussed Kate’s dark red nails as ‘surprising fans’, while Meghan’s similar nail colour in 2018 was dubbed a ‘vulgar’ choice. When Kate was pregnant, headlines about her ‘tenderly cradling’ her bump were received warmly, while just one year later when Meghan was pregnant, they questioned whether her cradling was ‘pride’, ‘vanity’ or ‘acting’.

There are countless other examples, and all of them prove just how relentless the smear campaigns against Meghan have been all these years. She can barely leave the house without being accused of affecting the reputation of the royal family; meanwhile, any and everything Kate does is considered a classy elevation of the royal family’s brand.

It's good that social media commentators have been continuing to call out the double standard, but make no mistake, damage has already been done here. Had it not been for this dogged campaign to paint Meghan as a master manipulator hoping to ruin the royal family from within, we may never have seen she and Harry reach such a breaking point that they stepped back from royal duties and moved across the world. Double standards like this may seem small to some, but they have added to a larger campaign which left Meghan at breaking point, telling Tom Bradby in a 2019 interview that she was 'not okay'. And four years on, as this week has proven, not much is improving.

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