KEY POINTS

  • Meghan Markle mostly had positive media coverage until the end of 2018, when the story of her making Kate Middleton cry made the headlines
  • BBC Media Editor Amol Rajan said from then on, Prince Harry and Markle, and the press had been in a battle over the duchess' reputation
  • Andrew Marr said the report about the rift between the duchesses paved the way for a very "destructive journalism"

Meghan Markle had to defend her reputation following reports that she allegedly made her sister-in-law Kate Middleton cry.

The second part of the BBC documentary "The Princes and the Press" aired Monday. It covered the period from 2018 to 2021, including the alleged falling-out between the Cambridges and Sussexes and the time when Markle allegedly made Middleton cry in the run-up to her royal wedding three years ago.

According to BBC Media Editor and host Amol Rajan, the sentiment of media coverage about Markle was mostly positive until the end of 2018. At the time, the stories of Markle and Middleton having a beef made headlines. The Duchess of Sussex allegedly made the Duchess of Cambridge cry during the flower girls' dress fitting. From there, the public's opinion on Markle reportedly changed.

"In November, when the stories about dueling duchesses appeared, it dropped below zero, meaning the coverage was mostly negative," Rajan said in the documentary. "From this point on, Meghan, Harry and the press would be in a battle over Meghan’s reputation."

The Times royal correspondent Valentine Low echoed the same sentiment. He recalled writing a piece about Markle in mid-2018 about the duchess being a "breath of fresh air" in the firm. For him, the new duchess was "bringing something new" and "she was great."

"There were slight elements of criticism in that piece, but it was definitely 85% positive," he added.

When the narrative about Markle allegedly making Middleton cry made the headlines later, Low said, "That was one of the turning points." It reportedly opened up a "soap opera storyline" about the two "battling duchesses."

Camilla Tominey, the journalist who first revealed the allegation, did not share her sources. Meanwhile, BBC journalist Andrew Marr said the row between the Cambridges and Sussexes paved the way for "destructive journalism." 

"They have allowed a gap to appear," Marr said. "Through that gap, very destructive journalism will follow and flow. I think, therefore, this division will be potentially lethal. Very, very damaging for the whole Royal Family."

Markle addressed the allegation in her interview with Oprah Winfrey for a CBS special that aired in March. Prince Harry's wife denied the story and said, "The reverse happened."

"Everyone in the institution knew it wasn’t true," Markle said.

The Duchess of Sussex didn't share the details about the tiff but confirmed it had something to do with the flower girl dresses. She also said that Middleton had already apologized, and she forgave her.

"There wasn’t a confrontation. I don’t think it’s fair to her to get into the details because she apologized, and I’ve forgiven her," Markle said.

Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle attend day twelve of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 14, 2018, in London. Photo: Getty Images/Clive Mason