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Charlie Proctor: It is high time we stop treating The Royal Family like celebrities

Royal Central’s Editor-in-Chief Charlie Proctor says it is high time we stop treating members of The Royal Family as celebrities and to instead consider them in the same light as any politicians or statespersons.

What does the Duchess of Cambridge and Kim Kardashian have in common? Maybe more than we would like to admit! Both of these women regularly feature on the front pages of newspapers and magazines, both have thousands of fan accounts on social media, and both have journalists and bloggers following and criticising their every move.

But the truth is, the Duchess of Cambridge and Kim Kardashian aren’t the same, and they shouldn’t be treated in the same light. One is an unelected dignitary who will soon become the wife to the Head of State, and the other is famous due to a sex tape.

Photo: Oskar Aanmoen / Royal Central

In these increasingly turbulent times, I find it extremely concerning to see members of The Royal Family being treated like celebrities. According to The Oxford English Dictionary, a celebrity is defined as “a famous person, especially in entertainment or sport.” Members of The Royal Family are famous, but they are most certainly not celebrities.

The obsession with The Royal Family and their celebrity status has become much worse since the Duchess of Sussex joined the family. Meghan is universally admired by members of the public and journalists. She is down to earth, compassionate and has all of the quirks that The Royal Family so desperately needs. However, there is the rather small matter of the Markle family who seems to have sold their soul to keep themselves in the media spotlight.

Royal Central will not entertain Thomas or Samantha Markle. They are playing a cynical game in an attempt to exploit their connections to The Royal Family and to emotionally abuse Meghan. But, it is essential to understand is that anything Meghan’s family says, particularly her dad, is newsworthy. National journalists are reporting on his recent comments because it is their job – it is what the public expects of them.

Photo: Charlie Proctor 2018

The problem that then occurs is the abuse which is handed out to reporters who are merely doing their job. Thomas Markle’s behaviour has been appalling, but readers should not shoot the messenger. The Duchess of Sussex is now a British stateswoman. My advice to her is to ignore the media storm, it will fade away, especially once the annual Fergie/Prince Philip story does the rounds again. But I understand that ignoring her family is easier said than done when they are continually badmouthing her.

The abuse some royal reporters have received on social media in recent months has been shocking. Take Richard Palmer, Royal Correspondent at the Daily Express. He posted a thread on Twitter on Tuesday detailing his justification of his reporting on the royals, in particular, the Duchess of Sussex. In his tweets, Richard spoke of the daily abuse he and other royal journalists receive. One royal correspondent had to phone the police after threats were made against their family, and another was threatened with an acid attack.

Nothing justifies this level of abuse. Journalists have thick skin, criticism is part of the job – we often go into subjects that people avoid over family dinners. But threats to personal safety and defamatory statements are simply unacceptable. The blurring of lines between royals and celebrities has to be a reason for rising levels of abuse.

Members of The Royal Family are unelected representatives of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. The media are not under an obligation to support the royals, nor are they under an obligation to oppose the monarchy. It is their job, however, to hold power to account and report on the latest news, whether that appeals to the masses or not.

The Kate and Meghan extremists who occupy the murky depths of Twitter need to get over themselves. Just because newspapers are reporting on Meghan’s dad or Kate’s lack of work, it does not equate to a personal attack.

That being said, I am more than aware of articles appearing in publications as of late which blatantly expose their dog-whistle racist undertones. I have written about this at length in the past and have made it clear that the media and members of the public should be challenged when this happens.

In general, I believe the British media has been overwhelmingly supportive of Meghan, maybe more so than they were with the Duchess of Cambridge in the early days. Challenge journalists on all accounts, whether that be on social media, or by not buying their papers or visiting their websites, but do not hurl around your vicious venom.

Do you agree with Charlie Proctor in his view that royals should be treated differently from celebrities?