No, Meghan Markle isn't stealing Princess Eugenie's thunder by announcing her pregnancy

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No, Meghan Markle isn't stealing Princess Eugenie's thunder by announcing her pregnancy
Princess Eugenie and the Duchess of Sussex.Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images, HENK KRUGER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
  • Some have accused Meghan Markle of upstaging Princess Eugenie for the second time with baby news.
  • The duchess announced she was expecting her second child days after Eugenie gave birth.
  • Royal editor Robert Jobson has branded the criticism unfair and mean-spirited.

In the days since Meghan Markle announced her pregnancy, some have accused the Duchess of Sussex of trying to overshadow Princess Eugenie with the news.

Prince Harry's younger cousin welcomed her first child, a baby boy on February 9 at The Portland Hospital in London. Five days later, on Valentine's Day, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced they are expecting their second child.

Many of the British tabloids were critical of the way the couple announced the news, with some suggesting Markle stole Eugenie's thunder for the second time after she reportedly announced Archie's birth at her royal wedding in 2018.

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Royal experts believe the criticism isn't justified

Some tabloids have suggested the Sussexes' baby announcement marks a second "snub" for Eugenie - a perspective which royal experts have said is unfair and mean-spirited.

The Daily Express recently published the headline: "Meghan and Harry 'overshadow' Eugenie for second time with royal baby news" while Australian magazine New Idea wrote the headline: "Princess Eugenie is SNUBBED once again by Meghan and Harry."

"Once is an accident but twice is a choice," the New Idea article read. "Meghan Markle and Prince Harry must be choosing to upstage Princess Eugenie at any opportunity because this is the second time they have stolen her thunder!"

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Meanwhile, the Daily Mail wrote: "Royal fans claim Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's baby news has upstaged new mother Princess Eugenie AGAIN - after couple announced first pregnancy at her wedding."

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex's biography, "Finding Freedom," published last year, reported that the couple shared the news that they were expecting their first son, Archie, at Eugenie's royal wedding to Jack Brooksbank on October 12, 2018.

The book's authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand wrote that Eugenie "told friends she felt the couple should have waited to share the news," though this report has never been publicly confirmed by the Sussexes or Eugenie.

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Whether or not it's true, royal experts argue it's unfair to assume that Markle and Harry were purposefully trying to take the spotlight away from his cousin.

Marlene Koenig, an expert on European and British royalty, said this wouldn't be the first time multiple royal babies have been born in one year.

"I don't think she's upstaging Eugenie. In 1964, four royal ladies were pregnant and gave [birth] between Feb and May," Koenig wrote on Twitter. "I don't think the Queen was upset that her sister gave birth the day before Edward's baptism."

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The Queen's granddaughter Zara Tindall announced she was pregnant in December 2020. Rumors that Kate Middleton and Prince William are planning for another baby surfaced during the same week that Eugenie gave birth.

Robert Jobson, royal editor at the Evening Standard, told Insider that the criticism of the couple has been unfair.

"They chose the time to announce the pregnancy that best suited them and waited until Eugenie's baby was born. The coverage in my view has been a little mean-spirited," he said.

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Accusations that Markle stole the spotlight from Eugenie rely on the assumption that the princess wanted to be in the spotlight in the first place.

Considering the fact that the princess is a non-working royal who gave birth in a private hospital, this isn't an entirely reliable assumption. At the time of writing - more than a week after she gave birth - Eugenie is yet to announce her baby's name.

It's not the first time royal women have been pitted against one another

This wouldn't be the first or even second time Eugenie and Markle have been painted as rivals in the press.

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According to "Finding Freedom," it was one of Eugenie's staff members who first leaked Harry and Markle's relationship to the media.

A Marie Claire article about the alleged leak suggested that the princess "played a devastating role" in the relationship reveal, while New Idea referred to it as the "York betrayal."

Portraying Eugenie and Markle as responsible for each other's downfalls could be seen as a lazy and sexist approach to reporting on royal women.

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Sadly, though, this isn't new.

When Markle joined the royal family in 2018, she was often pitted against her sister-in-law, Kate Middleton. The pair were presented as enemies in the press, with many tabloids reporting on a rift between them - despite later reports that suggested the "issue" was between William and Harry.

Markle has been pitted against several royal women in headlines over the years. The New Zealand Herald wrote an article in December 2020 titled: "Why Meghan Markle is jealous of Kate, Beatrice, and Eugenie."

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So it's hardly surprising that some tabloids have made Markle's pregnancy announcement part of this narrative.

"People should lighten up and spread joy, not negativity," Jobson said. "[It's] another baby announcement, royal or otherwise. There is enough bad news around at the moment."

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