A White Royal Christmas: The Daily Mail makes excuses for William and Kate over Covid... I wonder why?

While The Daily Mail, MailOnline, and the rest of the tabloid press continue to monster Meghan, the Cambridges continue to get an easy ride.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge — William Windsor and his wife Kate, if you’re a republican like me — broke Covid-19 rules and got caught on camera doing it. You’d think The Daily Mail would hammer this hypocrisy. After all, it loves the opportunity to highlight celebrities doing the wrong thing and what are the Royal Family but the Kardashians without the entrepreneurial instincts? But no.

Instead, The Daily Mail offered up some ‘analysis’ that bent over backwards to exempt the Royal couple from any real criticism:

An anonymous Mail hack wrote talked about the couple and their children, along with William’s uncle Edward, his wife Sophie and their children, had been “bending” the rules and anyway, “how many of us can truly say we understand them all?” Such caveats would not have been provided if Harry and Meghan — the Duke and Duchess of Sussex — had been caught out in a breach of Covid regulations.

Watchers of the woeful (and cruel) way the British media has covered Meghan Markle since she joined the Royal Family and then sensationally left it with her husband will not be surprised by how this is playing out. Meghan can do nothing right, while Kate — who looks and acts in the ‘expected’ manner — can do no wrong.

Covering the ‘Covid cockup’ story, The Daily Telegraph, which has obsessively attacked the Sussexes with ever more unhinged coverage, also found excuses for William and Kate, saying they had “inadvertently” broken the rules. Remember, just four days ago the same paper went with the dog whistle headline ‘The real problem with Meghan Markle: she just doesn’t speak our language’. It’s also the publication that has done so much work to attack Prince Andrew’s accusers and give him cover.

Elsewhere, The Independent, once admirably republican, provided the Cambridges’ with a lot of leeway, swallowing the assurances from Royal ‘sources’ that the breach was “inadvertent” by sticking that word in the headline. The Sun went fishing on Twitter to find tweets and other messages supporting William and Kate. That’s particularly rich as The Sun is also so deeply invested in the clicks and controversy that come with making everything that Sussexes do a scandal that it has an entire live blog dedicated to it.

The Daily Mail’s own story includes pictures that make it quite clear that the Royal source’s claims that the group had not intended to meet up as a group of nine and had, in fact, turned up separately are shaky at best. There’s no social distancing apparent in that image, is there?

Imagine how the press would have covered Harry and Meghan if it had been the younger prince who a) joked about Covid in March b) did so mere days before his father tested positive for it, and c) hid his Covid diagnosis in April for months. Prince William got a pass for these actions even though the first — his joke at an event in Dublin — was brazenly blockheaded. He said

I bet everyone’s like, ‘I’ve got coronavirus, I’m dying,’ and you’re like, ‘No, you’ve just got a cough. It does seem quite dramatic about coronavirus at the moment. Is it being a little hyped up, do you think, by the media?

Normally a celebrity taking a swing at the media will activate the press’ built-in immune response and lead to that person being pilloried in all kinds of tangential ways; but Prince William is immune to this — partially because of the involvement of the paparazzi in his mother’s death, but also because he and his wife are used as the lily-white counterpoint to what dog-whistling tabloid hacks would call Harry and Meghan’s ‘more exotic’ family.

Kate is praised to the heavens for wearing clothes, doing charity, and smiling, while Meghan’s every decision is dragged into the dirt. The reason for that is racism and any excuses about her being ‘too American’ as The Telegraph tried last week are just cover for that real instinct. What’s all the more galling is that we are expected to both cut William and Kate slack because they are ‘only human’ while also marvelling over how majestically regal they are.

If the Cambridges were simply William and Kate Windsor, he’d be the world’s most boring helicopter pilot and she would be the heir to a party supplies dynasty. They wouldn’t merit 100 words in the local newspaper.

But, as we are still obliged to live in a Monarchy, would it be too much to subject them to the same level of criticism we give other celebrities? There is nothing special about the Royal family and there is no excuse for them not following the rules, no matter how much The Daily Mail attempts to manufacture them.