As the Princess of Wales receives praise for her stylish new updo, some people have called attention to claims that Meghan Markle’s messy bun “broke royal protocol” during her time as a senior member of the royal family.
On Wednesday, Kate Middleton stepped out in a departure from her usual hairstyle. Instead of her long, wavy tresses, the princess donned a low bun with face-framing curtain bangs while joining a family portage session in Sittingbourne, England.
However, as some fans remember, Meghan Markle received backlash for sporting a very similar hairstyle just six years ago.
In a viral video posted to TikTok on 27 September, royal commentator Amanda Matta (@matta_of_fact) compared several headlines discussing Kate and Meghan’s similar hairstyles, pointing out the “double standards” faced by the Duchess of Sussex.
Set to the song “all-american b****” by Olivia Rodrigo, Amanda shared screenshots of articles from Glamour, Allure, and People - each one claiming that Meghan “broke royal protocol” by wearing her hair in a low bun with strands in the front. The articles stated that the royal family prefers members to have their hair perfectly sleek and smooth, with no stray hairs peeking out of a bun or falling over the face.
But as Kate seemed to prove this week, members of the royal family can indeed wear messy buns and curtain bangs without being accused of breaking protocol.
“Spot the difference,” Amanda captioned her TikTok, which showed a headline praising Kate’s latest hairstyle. “As always, it’s not about someone ‘owning’ a style - it’s the double standards that are the issue.”
Many commenters seemed to agree that double standards were at play, as they defended Meghan against narratives that her hair often broke royal protocol.
“This would actually be so hilarious if it wasn’t so infuriating,” commented one TikTok user.
“I just feel like I’m being gaslighted at this point,” another person claimed.
“They’re calling Meghan’s hairstyle ‘messy bun’? They should see my messy buns,” joked someone else.
Others took the opportunity to point out other so-called double standards that Meghan faced before she and her husband, Prince Harry, stepped down as senior working royals in 2020.
“They hated on her for eating AVOCADOS,” one user chimed in, while another said: “The media hated on Meghan for cradling her tummy when pregnant but praised CM for doing exactly the same!”
In 2019, one tabloid linked Meghan’s affinity for avocados to the fruit’s ongoing shortage, “illegal deforestation” and all-around general environmental devastation. Just two years prior, the same outlet reported that the now-Prince of Wales was given an avocado by a little boy to help Kate with her pregnancy pains.
During Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah Winfrey in March 2021, Winfrey even took a moment to hit out at British tabloids for perpetuating the double standard between Meghan and Kate.
“Bumping along nicely! The Duchess was seen placing a protective hand on her tummy as she exited the event” read one Daily Mail headline, referring to Kate in 2018. Meanwhile, a 2019 headline for Meghan read: “Personally, I find the cradling a bit like those signs in the back of cars: Baby on Board. Virtue signalling, as though the rest of us barren harridans deserve to burn alive in our cars.”
In the couple’s 2022 Netflix documentary Harry and Meghan, the duke emphasised how media claims that his wife broke protocol when she joined the royal family were often fabricated.
“Joining this family, I knew that there was a protocol for how things were done,” the mother of two explained in the six-part docuseries. She went on to reference the 2001 teen film The Princess Diaries, in which a high school student who is heir to a European monarchy - played by Anne Hathaway - is taught how to be a princess by her grandmother, played by Julie Andrews.
“There’s no class [where] some person goes: ‘Sit like this, cross your legs like this, use this fork, don’t do this, curtsy then, wear this kind of hat,’” Meghan said. “It doesn’t happen. So I needed to learn a lot.”
The duchess also shared that she was never taught how to do the “royal wave” and learned the national anthem by googling it and “practising and practising”.
Prince Harry added how “on top of that, with the press, there were a lot of invented protocols,” as Meghan chimed in: “It was baptism by fire.”