Almost as polarizing as the current state of politics in this country is the average American’s opinion of Meghan Markle, the now-defrocked yet still branded Duchess of Sussex and former actress married to Prince Harry.
You might love Meghan, either for her role as Rachel Zane on Suits or for the apparently much-needed reality check she served as a Windsor family interloper. You might even go so far as to believe she’s a narcissist, as one TikTok user has used her considerable platform to try to prove.
Before you go on the defensive, the TikTok user in question, known as @royaldailytea, with a whopping 56,000 followers, has certainly done her homework on this serious accusation. Is the label just more unwarranted Meghan hate, or is there actual reason to believe criticisms of her might be deserved?
Meghan Markle Pre-Royalty
Personal attacks on Meghan are nothing new, to be sure. Since her marriage to Harry, their growing family — as well as the infamous Oprah interview which aired mere months ago, wherein she related shocking allegations of blatant racism within the royal household — has dominated headlines.
But @royaldailytea has taken what looks like considerable time and effort (in 23 different TikTok videos, to be exact) to back up her claims. Conveniently, she’s presented all of her gathered evidence in a linear timeline. Here’s what she has to say exactly.
In part 1 of the series titled “Meghan the narcissist,” we learn the following: In 2004, Meghan was a fairly unknown actress struggling to make it in Hollywood without very many credits to her name. She meets, dates, and later marries a reputable producer, Trevor Engelson, but the marriage lasts two years before she files for divorce in 2013 — allegedly without any warning whatsoever to Engelson, and sending his ring to him in the mail (which is a red flag right there no matter who the couple may be). Engelson previously gave her a part in one of his films before she landed her well-known role on Suits in 2011.
Now living the single life in Toronto, Meghan hobnobs at celebrity hair salons and hangouts, forming a very public friendship with Jessica Mulroney, a socialite with ties to the former prime minister of Canada. She also meets the close friends of her future husband. She even befriends a waiter-turned-marketing consultant at Soho House, an exclusive, invitation-only social club where royalty are known to hang out.
Though the facts differ here and there, it’s accepted that Harry and Meghan met and began to date in July 2016, having crossed back and forth in the same social circles for several years. At this time Harry was also connected to a British Burberry model, but @royaldailytea theorizes that Meghan began to paint herself as the victim of undue harassment and hardship from the media, thereby forcing Harry to come out and claim her publicly as his girlfriend, around four months after their first date. It’s of note that Harry had never done this previously with any of his past, more serious relationships.
Meghan Markle Post-Royalty
Flash forward to nearly a year and a half later, and Meghan is now engaged to Harry after a whirlwind long-distance relationship and without either of them having met the other’s family. @royaldailytea discloses that while she and many others were Meghan fans in the beginning, their first interview as an engaged couple is where things began to change.
In this interview, many viewers began to pick up on Meghan’s body language (specifically her manhandling Harry) and how she seemed to be the star of the interview while Harry was merely there as a fixture, the other half of the engaged couple. (As someone who doesn’t consider herself super knowledgeable in social graces, it is a little cringey to watch.)
In most of their public appearances together, Meghan is the center of attention (even physically sidestepping Harry to get in front of him). As their publicity progresses, Meghan appears to be smiling and accepting the praise, while Harry remains stoic behind her.
We’re then delivered with what @royaldailytea calls “the final nail in the coffin.” Meghan has returned to Hollywood, now as royalty, a celebrity, and a public figure, whereas before, she was a struggling actress. Less than four years into their marriage, her husband has given up his career, his titles, his family, and everything else he could possibly sacrifice for his spouse, and moved to Los Angeles where they now reside and hang out with Oprah. When you put it all together, all the evidence is pretty darn persuasive.
Is Meghan Markle a Narcissist?
Many have speculated that Meghan needed a pretty good reason to convince Harry to leave his family, so she found one: racism and constant abuse of her mental health. Meghan was so intent on returning to Hollywood as a success that she made the accusations that she did in the Oprah interview, or so many have claimed.
There are also parallels between herself and Diana which she has promoted more than tamped down. Harry has especially been inundated with this media fanaticism, which was recently revealed when he disclosed that Meghan confessed to him that she’d thought of killing herself, but hadn’t for his sake. (It goes without saying but always bears repeating that no person is ever responsible for the manipulative tactics — especially suicide — that a person may use, and is in the mainstream recognized as a form of emotional abuse.) Considering how Harry’s mother died and how her last years were portrayed in the media, this revelation is as heart-wrenching as it is a little nauseating.
YouTuber Baggage Claim has used the Meghan and Harry dynamic as an example of narcissism in relationships, especially given how many believe Meghan took advantage of Harry’s good-natured, empathetic, humanitarian-oriented persona. In the five stages she outlines, the steps more or less follow the path of the Sussexes’ relationship: One, being picked out of a crowd — Meghan made a name for herself as an actress, and then utilized that celebrity to befriend well-known public figures. Two, idealization, or the golden period (i.e., Meghan exemplifying everything Harry was looking for in a partner). Three, paying our dues, wherein the manipulated person has to “return” the loyalty which has been given them — Harry defended his wife not just from the public but from his own family, eventually choosing her over them.
Stage four is devaluation, the worst stage. Usually compared to a rollercoaster, this stage is often described as the worst possible one to be in because the narcissist ensures that their partner will believe everything is their fault, while the narcissist themselves is entirely blameless and comes out of each conflict unscathed. The narcissist maintains control because the other person believes everything is their fault — or their family’s.
The final stage is known as shelving. In this conclusive stage, the other person is no longer the narcissist’s main focus, but merely an accessory designed to reach their real motivations and goals, which were their intentions all along. Shelving may be temporary or permanent, but if you ask Meghan’s ex-husband and ex-boyfriend, according to the commentary, they’d say it was permanent.
Meghan’s advocates claim that her isolation of her husband and their dramatic departure from the royal family were entirely deserved. And to be clear, accusations of racism in such an institution like that one are not to be taken lightly by any means.
But many assert that the author at the forefront of the entire branding of the Sussex name is Meghan herself, and that she was only able to accomplish that grand return to LA through her systemic abuse of her relationships with others and of her own status and that of her husband’s.
Perhaps only time will tell if all these theories, hypotheses, and guesses are reality or just made for TV — but regardless, the entire situation leaves a really uncomfortable aftertaste, and we can only wish and hope for the best for the Sussex family.
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