With the recent “Meghan vs Kate” narrative that has played out in the media, it takes many long-time royal watchers back to the 1980s and a tale of two other very different royal sisters-in-law.
Although the racist undertones that come into play with the Duchess of Sussex didn’t exist in this story – and neither did social media – there was a very real sense of bullying by the press and constant rumours of feuding between Sarah, Duchess of York, and Diana, Princess of Wales.
In an open letter for Hello! speaking out against hateful social media behaviour, the Duchess of York said these rumours weren’t true.
“Women, in particular, are constantly pitted against and compared with each other in a way that reminds me of how people tried to portray Diana and me all the time as rivals, which is something neither of us ever really felt,” she said.
The Duchess of York penned her piece to back Hello! magazine’s new #hellotokindness campaign, which started in the wake of the social media bullying against both the Duchess of Sussex and Duchess of Cambridge.
Although she doesn’t specifically mention Meghan or Catherine in her letter, the Duchess of York said: “Take a look at any website, and you’ll see extraordinarily abusive comments aimed not only at people in the public eye but also other internet users. Bullying, sniping, bitching, even the most appalling sexism, racism and homophobia are commonplace – it seems that online, anything goes.”
“I believe that it’s time to take a stand,” she continued. “This isn’t about freedom of speech. The truth is, it’s not acceptable to post abuse or threats on social media or news sites, and it’s not acceptable to harangue other users simply because they disagree with you. It’s not acceptable to pit women against one another all the time. It’s not acceptable to troll other people viciously online.”
She suggested using the THINK method before posting on social media, which is taught by Dr Anthony Wallersteiner, headmaster at Stowe School and chair of Street Child, the charity headed by the Duchess of York. The principle stands for “T- is it true; H – is it hurtful; I – is it illegal; N – is it necessary; K – is it kind?”