A few weeks ago, Meghan Markle took a stand against the racist and sexist abuse she has been subjected to by the press since she joined the royal family. Speaking in an ITV documentary which followed Meghan and Prince Harry during their trip to South Africa, the Duchess of Sussex made it clear how tough the torrent of criticism has been for her.
“Look,” she replies in one clip from the documentary, which has been shared thousands of times on social media. “Any woman, especially when they are pregnant – you’re really vulnerable and so that was made really challenging. And then when you have a newborn – you know… And especially as a woman, it’s a lot.”
Reporter Tom Bradby had asked her if she was ok, and she continued: “And, also thank you for asking, because not many people have asked if I’m OK. But it’s a very real thing to be going through behind the scenes.”
While, as is to be expected from any situation concerning Meghan, there was some backlash regarding her comments (primarily from people claiming that she couldn’t possibly be dealing with mental health issues because she comes from a position of privilege), there have also been some significant signs of support.
At the end of October, a group of female MPs took a stand against Meghan’s treatment when they signed an open letter condemning the abuse. And when the documentary first aired, people on social media started the #WeLoveYouMeghan hashtag which saw thousands of women stand in solidarity with the Duchess.
Speaking to Emma Barnett on BBC Radio 5 Live alongside her daughter Chelsea (who guest-edited Stylist alongside Hillary last month), the former presidential candidate described the treatment of Meghan over the last three years as “heartbreaking and wrong”, and offered some words of support.
“I think even if you go back and look at social media from the time the engagement was announced, race was clearly an element in it,” she said. “And to think that some of your – what we would call mainstream – media actually allowed that to be printed in their pages, or amplified, was heartbreaking and wrong.”
She continued: “I feel as a mother I just want to put my arms around her. Oh my God, I want to hug her! I want to tell her to hang in there, don’t let those bad guys get you down. Keep going, do what you think is right.
“You know, it’s not easy. And there are some techniques that can be learned along the way, some humour, some deflection, whatever, which I’m sure she will come to. But it is tough what she is going through. And I think she deserves a lot better.”
During her London trip Clinton has also appeared on The One Show, where she spoke out in support of female MPs who have been subjected to abuse online.
“What bothers me is the women’s voices who will be silenced because of the threats online. So vile,” she said. “That’s happening in the UK. You’re having an election and a lot of women parliamentarians are saying we won’t run again.
“Once you poke our head up and say we want to be a member of whatever party you get assaulted online. You had Jo Cox murdered around the Brexit controversy. There are real threats and there are all of the insults and bigotry and prejudice that unfortunately gets amplified online.
“You have to be willing to face that but you shouldn’t be expected to. We should all stand together.”
The Clintons are in London to promote their new book, The Book Of Gusty Women: Favourite Stories Of Courage And Resilience, which features women from Greta Thunberg to Florence Nightingale and celebrates their work.
“Everybody knows women they think of as gutsy,” Hillary previously told Stylist. “Your mother, grandmother, aunt, sister, daughter, neighbour, friend. We want people to feel like they can be gutsy, too.”
Images: Getty, Pamela Hanson