Why are Meghan Markle and Camilla Parker Bowles being trolled after Queen Elizabeth’s death? TikTok videos are slamming the duchess and queen consort – but praising King Charles’ ex, Princess Diana

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Camilla, queen consort leave Westminster Abbey in London on September 19, after the state funeral service for Queen Elizabeth. Photo: AFP
As millions mourn the queen’s death, Meghan Markle and Camilla Parker Bowles have once again found themselves the targets of online harassment and misinformation campaigns.

TikTok videos ridiculing Markle during the live broadcast of the queen’s state funeral on Monday, September 19, garnered millions of views. Another series of videos criticised Markle’s funeral attire and accused her of copying an old outfit of Princess Diana’s, even though the video – viewed more than 22.5 million times – predated the funeral itself and used photos from the 2019 Remembrance Day.

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attends a garden party at Buckingham Palace, with Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, in London, Britain, in May 2018. Photo: Reuters
For the Gen Z users who primarily populate TikTok, fictional portrayals such as The Crown (which kicked off a fresh bout of online harassment of Camilla after its depiction of the affair) and TikToks about the royals contribute to a fresh distaste for the queen consort.

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Engagement-driven algorithms tend to amplify polarising videos rather than stanch them, and online abuse and misinformation tend to go viral at an alarming rate – whether it’s misinformation about Markle’s funeral attire or the conspiracy theory that the queen died because of the Covid-19 vaccine.
Emerald Fennell as Camilla Parker Bowles in season four of The Crown. Photo: Handout

Slideshows of Camilla captioned “the new queen” or “his wife” juxtaposed with photos of Diana captioned “the real queen” and “his ex-wife” have been set to contemporary music and watched by hundreds of thousands of people. The hashtag “Cowmilla”, referring to the queen consort, has been used on videos directing online harassment at Camilla as well as videos solely criticising Markle.

TikTok users have been pitting Camilla, queen consort, against Princess Diana in a new wave of online harassment after the queen’s death. Photo: TikTok
The Sussexes quit social media due to ongoing harassment in January 2021, but Markle said she was finally “ready for her next act” and teased a return to Instagram in an interview with The Cut last month.
Markle has been a lightning rod for online abuse and a British tabloid staple since she began a public relationship with Prince Harry in 2016, leading to the couple announcing they would “step back as senior members” of the British royal family in January 2020. In October of that year, Markle described the online abuse as “almost unsurvivable” in an appearance on the Teenager Therapy podcast.

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“I’m told that in 2019, I was the most trolled person in the entire world – male or female,” Markle said, adding that she hadn’t even been “visible” for eight months of the year due to maternity leave.
A viral TikTok about Meghan Markle “dressing as Diana” to attend Queen Elizabeth’s funeral has gone viral, despite the fact that the footage was originally posted before the funeral took place. Photo: TikTok
The 41-year-old former actress is a contemporary fixation for trolls, but this fresh wave of online harassment directed at 75-year-old Camilla is a revival of older vitriol made newly visible to the young.

Many held Camilla responsible for the dissolution of the marriage between King Charles and the late Princess Diana in the 1990s.

“It’s actually almost inconceivable how much abuse Camilla took. I mean, she was called hag, old bag, witch. I mean, these were the kind of words that were used about Camilla for years,” Tina Brown, author of The Palace Papers, said in an April interview with The Washington Post.

Camilla Parker Bowles has been blamed for the divorce of then Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana for years. Photos: AP Photo

Brown went on to say that public opinion of Camilla grew especially vitriolic after Diana’s death in 1997.

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“Camilla was considered the ugly sort of force that had driven Diana into such pain and sadness, I mean, the love that Charles had for her,” she said.

In her famous 1995 interview with the journalist Martin Bashir, Diana referred to her then-husband’s mistress and future wife as the “third person” in her marriage, and British media dubbed Camilla “the most hated woman in Britain.”

This article originally appeared on Insider
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  • Social media users criticised Prince Harry’s wife and step-mum through Queen Elizabeth’s state funeral and beyond, picking at their clothes supposedly worn at the event
  • Netflix’s The Crown kicked off a new wave of negativity among Gen Zers for its portrayal of Charles and Camilla’s relationship, while Markle has dealt with online harassment and bad press for years