The Seemingly Mundane Meghan Markle Moment That Became A Point Of Contentious Debate

Can closing a car door break the internet? If you're Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, the answer is a resounding yes. In 2018, the former "Suits" star did something that millions of people do daily and garnered significant attention for it. During a visit to the Royal Academy of Arts just four months after her wedding to Prince Harry, Meghan stepped out of her car, shook hands with the suited man who welcomed her, and then shut the door. The event took center stage on social media platforms such as X, formerly known as Twitter, where the reactions were polarized.

Some admired Meghan's down-to-earth nature, with comments like, "She has so much grace and charm." Others, however, felt she still had more to assimilate about royal customs: "[Meghan] has a lot to learn about royalty ... Give her time, please!" These reactions highlight the public's stringent expectations of the royals but, more importantly, they begged the question: Did Meghan break protocol by closing her door?

Royals are permitted to close their car doors

According to the BBC, etiquette expert William Hanson confirmed that royals are indeed allowed to close their own car doors. However, a source suggested to The Sun that most do not do so for safety reasons. The insider explained that the door closing is usually left to security so they can quickly get the royals back into their cars if required. In the case of the Duchess of Sussex, the video footage shows that her car door was opened for her, but it doesn't show anyone attempting to shut the door obstructing her path. 

Meghan Markle therefore had two choices: Wait in place for an attendant to shut the door or close it herself to proceed with her royal duties. The online buzz about this incident is even stranger when you consider that Meghan isn't the only royal ever to shut her door. In fact, just days after the Duchess of Sussex visited the Royal Academy of Arts, Catherine Middleton, Princess of Wales, was spotted shutting her car door.

This led to speculation about whether Kate was mimicking Meghan, or if royals occasionally close their doors when immediate assistance isn't available. Furthermore, one cannot help but ponder the absence of the media frenzy in Kate's scenario. Could it be that there was nothing negative about Meghan's act and that certain media outlets, particularly in Britain, simply enjoyed inaccurately highlighting the ways Meghan was supposedly breaking royal rules

Meghan Markle has always been scrutinized

The incessant media hounding was undoubtedly part of the reason Meghan and Harry decided to leave the royal family. Sadly, the differing reactions to Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton over similar actions is a glaring testament to how much more harshly the Duchess of Sussex is judged in general. For instance, when Meghan cradled her baby bump in 2019, the Daily Mail's headline read: "Why can't Meghan Markle keep her hands off her bump?" Contrastingly, when Kate did the same, they portrayed it positively: "Pregnant Kate tenderly cradles her baby bump." 

These aren't isolated events. In 2019, Express linked Meghan's love for avocados to human rights violations, calling it a "millennial shame." Yet, when avocados were associated with the Princess of Wales just two years prior, the same publication presented an entirely different narrative, fawning over how a child had given Prince William an avocado as a gift for his then-pregnant wife.

It's important to note that these biases in the media often distract from more pressing issues too. For instance, Meghan's door received more online attention than the artworks exhibited at the Royal Academy. These flaws in the media's portrayal demand that we critically analyze incidents and avoid getting caught up in contentious debates that distract from more critical matters.