Royal Expert Claims Meghan Markle's Dwindling Image Is All Down To One Thing

Many people admire Meghan Markle for reasons big and small, from her courage to stand up to her royal in-laws, to her fashion prowess. But it's no secret that the Duchess of Sussex has created waves both in Buckingham Palace and across the globe. It all started when the Queen confirmed what royal watchers long suspected — that Prince Harry and Meghan would be distancing themselves from the family, in a very official capacity.

In 2021, the palace announced, "Following conversations with The Duke, The Queen has written confirming that in stepping away from the work of The Royal Family it is not possible to continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service" (via Vogue Australia).

The statement added that the royal appointments and patronages Harry and Meghan held were being returned to the monarch. While the Sussexs countered that anyone can "live a life of service," the writing was on the wall, and Meghan's image took a nosedive as people blamed her for the tension in the family.

Meghan Markle has long been the subject of public ire

Soon after Meghan Markle and Prince Harry took off for California, SCMP pondered if the Duchess of Sussex was the most hated woman on the planet. As critics blasted the couple's Oprah Winfrey tell-all, supporters retaliated with accusations of racism toward the divisive former royal (via Refinery29).

Even years later, Meghan continues to be the subject of heated discussion, even among celebrities. The best example is Piers Morgan, who openly despises her and continues to tweet out mean things — even after he lost his job on a British morning talk show, standing accused of bullying Meghan (via Vanity Fair). Meanwhile, it's commonplace for social media users to kick around reasons why they aren't fans of the Duchess of Sussex online.

But now, it seems the mom of two is less popular than ever, with a YouGov poll finding that less than half of people have a favorable opinion of her (via The UK Sun). And a royal expert thinks he knows why.

Meghan Markle is still the Duchess of Sussex, despite criticism

Speaking to The UK Sun, royal expert Nile Gardiner said, "The popularity of Meghan and Harry in the US has declined significantly over the course of the year, and that will continue to decline." Speaking about Meghan Markle specifically, Gardiner said he has a theory as to why people are nonplussed about her even after the shock of the couple leaving the royal family and the Oprah interview has worn off.

He believes that the fact that she is referred to as the Duchess of Sussex is hypocritical given the many negative things she has accused the royal family of, including bullying and racism toward her. "There is no good reason she still holds a royal title," Gardiner opined.

Express notes that indeed, the former actress still regularly uses her title, citing the instance of a reading of her book during which she said, "I am Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, and today I am going to read you my book called 'The Bench.'"

But according to Grazia, the fact that Meghan is still a duchess is out of her control and in keeping with precedent.

Meghan Markle will remain the Duchess of Sussex

Although Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are no longer working members of the royal family — and lost their honorary titles as a result — this decision did not strip them of being a duke and duchess, interestingly (via Grazia). In fact, the couple received the titles of Duke and Duchess of Sussex on their wedding day as a gift from Queen Elizabeth. And unlike the monarch taking away the errant royals' military appointments and patronages, removing their standing as Duke and Duchess of Sussex would take an Act of Parliament — passed in both Houses — to accomplish!

According to Grazia, this hasn't been done in over 100 years. In 1917, The Deprivation Act stripped peerages over acts of treason. And although a petition demanded the same treatment toward Harry and Meghan, it was ultimately denied.

Ultimately, Meghan has the right to use her title — but her image could be taking even more of a hit as a result.