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Former reality star Bethenny Frankel has unleashed a furious tirade against Meghan Markle, accusing her of being ‘sanctimonious’ and ‘self-important’ while insisting that she needs to stop publicly blasting the royal family and ‘let it go’.
The 51-year-old ex-Real Housewives of New York star held nothing back when she spoke out about her thoughts on Meghan’s recent bombshell interview with The Cut and her newly-released Spotify podcast during her own iHeart podcast Just B.
Despite conceding that she had faced flack in the past for airing her opinions about Meghan, 41, Bethenny said she felt as though she couldn’t ignore the controversies surrounding the Duchess of Sussex because it’s something that everyone is talking about and ‘has an opinion about’.
Describing the mother-of-two as a ‘polarizing’ person, Bethenny went on to address why the tides of public opinion seem to have very much turned against Meghan in recent months.
‘The bottom line is I don’t think people like Meghan Markle because I think she talks down to other people, I think she’s sanctimonious,’ the former Bravo star stated.
‘I think there’s this subtext of elevation. She’s up there, we’re down here.’
Bethenny Frankel has furiously bashed Meghan Markle, accusing her of acting like an ex-Real Housewives star who has left the show ‘but can’t stop talking about it’
The 51-year-old branded the Duchess of Sussex, 41, ‘sanctimonious’ and ‘self-important’ while addressing Meghan’s newly-released podcast and recent interview with The Cut
Bethenny went on to accuse Meghan of having a high-and-mighty opinion of herself, suggesting that the former Suits star believes she ‘just has institutional knowledge on life and has experienced more than any of us’.
Comparing her to the women who appeared alongside her in the Real Housewives franchise, Bethenny continued: ‘She’s very self-important. She’s very much like a Housewife in that she can’t stop talking about the very thing that she wants to be irrelevant.
‘If she were on the show, the producers would say, “Stop talking about security and the state of Frogmore Cottage. It’s not relatable. Most people don’t have a security detail so while that may be a real concern for you, it’s not something that is going to play to this audience.”‘
The ex-Housewives star also accused Meghan of trying to ‘mimic’ Princess Diana in the way that she positions herself publicly, saying: ‘I think there’s a non-relatable factor in the way that we’re being spoken to.
‘In that poised, orchestrated elegance, in that mimicking of Diana, in that Caroline Kennedy-style intentional, very natural, very slow speech. Being aghast at the word “diva”. Who are you relating to?’
Bethenny – who previously spoke out to blast Meghan in a tweet posted in March 2021, shortly before the Sussexes’ explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey – also revealed that she ‘had a very A-list person call her’ after she aired her thoughts on the Duchess of Sussex, asking her to ‘take down what she said’.
At the time, the former Bravo star-turned-podcast host had hit out at Meghan for complaining about the royals when she was earning ‘hundreds of millions in media deals’ and had ‘Oprah on speed dial’.
Bethenny accused Meghan of ‘creating more drama’ for Prince Harry, 37, by repeatedly bashing his family in interviews and on her podcast, Archetypes
She also suggested that Meghan is trying to ‘mimic Princess Diana’ in the way that she speaks
‘Cry me a river…the plight of being a game show host, fairly unknown actress, to suffering in a palace, w tiaras & 7 figure weddings for TWO WHOLE YEARS to being a household name w @Oprah on speed dial, fetching 7 m for interviews, hundreds of millions in media deals,’ she had written.
But, she says, the unnamed A-lister who called her to plead Meghan and Harry’s case insisted that the couple was suffering much more than anyone realized.
‘I had a very A-list person call me when I commented on Meghan Markle before the Oprah interview and said to me: “Can you please take down what you said, they can barely stand up in Frogmore Cottage and they can’t afford their security,”‘ Bethenny recalled.
However, while she admitted that she might have had some sympathy towards Harry and Meghan at the time – things have since changed, with the ex reality star noting that she can’t get her head around the glaring juxtaposition between Meghan’s insistence that she wants ‘privacy’ and the fact that she keeps doing interviews and inking deals with Netflix and Spotify.
‘These nuanced: “I want my privacy, but I want a podcast. I want my privacy, but I want a Netflix special”… there’s a million things I could say about it,’ she said.
Bethenny also attacked Meghan’s constant use of ‘nuance’ and ‘subtext’, insisting that she either needs to ‘rip the Band-Aid off’ and say what she actually wants to say, or ‘let it go’.
‘[Meghan says things like]: “I want to separate myself from the royal family, I was treated horribly [but] I’m going to [say] this in these hidden messages, this Morse Code to the public that’s not going to directly say what I’m saying but everyone in the royal family and in Great Britain understands exactly what I’m saying.”
‘At least say it! Rip the goddam Band-Aid off. Say they’re a bunch of a***oles, they’re uptight, white, racist a***oles. Say it or don’t!’
Bethenny joked that if Meghan was actually a cast member on the Real Housewives, producers would have told her to stop talking about her royal gripes because it is ‘unrelatable’
Is America falling out of love with the ‘Petulant Princess’ of Montecito? Even the ‘woke’ magazine that interviewed Meghan Markle at her £11.2m California mansion carried an undercurrent of disapproval, writes TOM LEONARD
When the Sussexes fled the horrors of palace life in 2020, it was America — land of the free, home of the brave and the mega-bucks media deal — that welcomed them with open arms.
The public and Press hungrily swallowed every last morsel of the couple’s harrowing tale of racism and rejection in that infamous interview with a fawning Oprah Winfrey. Their treatment at the hands of the wicked British Press generated shock and sympathy.
Soon they became the Duke and Duchess ‘across the water’, building a new, 21st-century court of their own, rubbing shoulders with Hollywood stars and the super-rich, nurturing their own brand of philanthropy and exploiting their royal titles while striking multi-million-dollar business deals, which, to most Americans, was acceptable, if not admirable.
Yet just two years on, there are worrying signs that America may be beginning to tire of it all. Worrying, that is, for the Sussexes, who need to keep milking public interest in them if they are to pay for that lavish lifestyle in Montecito, revealed in some detail in the Duchess’s latest interview with New York fashion website The Cut.
Could it be that Americans are waking up to the fact there may be little more to the Sussexes than their seemingly bottomless well of grievance about their treatment in the UK?
As the Mail reported yesterday, the New York Post’s front page marked Meghan’s latest media foray with the headline ‘Toddler And Tiara: Spoiled princess Meghan STILL whining about royal family’.
More significantly, the venerable Washington Post cautioned her that ‘to succeed in the media, [she] needs to leave royal traumas behind’. And one U.S. TV insider claimed ‘some of the lustre’ has gone.
Indeed, a milestone moment in the Sussexes’ relationship with the U.S. may well prove to be that interview with The Cut.
When the Sussexes fled the horrors of palace life in 2020, it was America — land of the free, home of the brave and the mega-bucks media deal — that welcomed them with open arms
It was intensely revealing — and not, principally, for Meghan’s outrageous and occasionally risible headline-stealing comments, such as the astonishing claim that her joining the Royal Family had been a moment of international jubilation comparable to the release of Nelson Mandela.
Even more surprising, the interview was, in fact, quite negative about her.
The Cut is part of New York Magazine, which is about as woke as you get in the mainstream U.S. media — a fact that no doubt weighed heavily in the Sussex camp’s decision to grant its journalist an audience.
And yet the undercurrent of disapproval in the 6,400-word piece — by African-American feature writer Allison P. Davis — was hard to miss.
Meghan greets her with ‘the perfect level of warmth’ at the couple’s £11.2 million mansion, and the writer is struck by the moneyed, impeccably tasteful if ‘marshmallowy’ splendour.
Then there is the delicious irony revealed in the grandness of a pair who rejected royal life, but who work from two plush club chairs behind a single desk ‘facing into the room like thrones’, and where ‘an invisible hand’ lights a Soho House candle.
As for the interview, Davis reports every remark, no matter how nonsensical, while repeatedly hinting that Meghan is far more calculating and self-absorbed than she’d have us believe.
Davis writes — in reference to the cheesy and contrived U.S. dating reality TV series The Bachelor — that the Duchess ‘sometimes converses like she has a tiny Bachelor producer in her brain, directing what she says’.
She describes how, instead of answering a question, Meghan at one point suggests how her interviewer ‘might transcribe the noises she’s making’. (Guttural, by the way.)
As the Mail reported yesterday, the New York Post’s front page marked Meghan’s latest media foray with the headline ‘Toddler And Tiara: Spoiled princess Meghan STILL whining about royal family’
Later, in response to a question about why she thinks the Royal Family treated the pair worse than other family members, ‘the Bachelor producer in her head deliberates how much should be said’, Davis writes archly.
‘ “I don’t know,” she says, casting a knowing gaze out into the middle distance.’
On another occasion, the Duchess theatrically reveals in a ‘conspiratorial hush’ that she is planning a return to social media site Instagram (though she later backtracked). Meghan ‘looks around, making sure nobody (who would be?) is listening in’, Davis writes.
She’s similarly sarcastic when Meghan tells her she and Harry initially couldn’t afford their new home — a revelation Davis finds ‘utterly humbling’.
Granted, the interview is hardly a Jeremy Paxman-style encounter, but it should have rung warning bells for the Sussexes. Such U.S. media mockery of the former Meghan Markle would have been unimaginable a year ago.
As a veteran member of the U.S. news media told the Mail yesterday: ‘It had you wondering if [they] can still rely on any of us to fight their corner without just a smidgeon of balance — they can’t expect us to doff the cap for ever.’
And the quietly mocking tone of this interview certainly had an effect on its readers. The great and good of liberal New York savaged the Duchess in the online comments, in which they dismissed the Sussexes as supremely ‘self-obsessed’ and vapid, while others asked simply: ‘Who cares?’
But if Americans do lose all interest in the couple, it will throw into question the very delicate economics that have allowed the couple to live — as Davis puts it — in a ‘palace in a better climate’.
The couple were reportedly able to afford their home only after they had signed two huge media deals — one for $25 million to produce podcasts with Spotify, and another with Netflix, said to be worth $100 million, to make films, documentaries and TV shows.
On top of the house, they have to finance a lifestyle that stretches to private security and private jets. However, both deals depend on the Sussexes producing ‘content’ and, so far, that has been very much lacking.
Compounding the pressure for results is the fact that both deals were made in 2020 when the media companies were far healthier than they are now.
Some industry insiders have wondered whether the couple are struggling to find anything noteworthy to say beyond their split with the Royal Family.
In May, Netflix abruptly cancelled Pearl, an animated children’s series that had been a passion project of the Duchess. According to entertainment industry website theankler.com, the news set off ‘a fire alarm at Archewell’, the Sussexes’ production company.
‘Harry and Meghan called an all-hands meeting,’ an Archewell insider told the website. ‘They were deeply concerned about the optics of this. Meghan wanted to talk to Ted [Sarandos, the co-chief executive of Netflix].’
Sources told the website that the company’s underwhelming output is partly down to a ‘lack of urgency’ from a couple with so many other interests (Harry’s polo and their charity work), but also down to the Duchess’s alleged vacillation.
‘She’s terrified of making a decision because she’s so concerned about her image, and so they can’t pull the trigger on anything,’ said a source who has spoken with Archewell about its content strategy. ‘She wants to be seen as this world leader, but they don’t have any strong ideas.’
Netflix claims there are Archewell projects on the horizon, but won’t say more.
Similar uncertainty hangs over the couple’s other big potential money-spinner: Harry’s autobiography with its apparent bombshell revelations — now reportedly delayed until next year.
Will it ever come out and, if it does, will it just be another retread of their life of suffering in the Royal Family?
This week, after a conversation with singer Mariah Carey — for Meghan’s new Spotify podcast, Archetypes — became an opportunity for the Duchess to complain that she’d never been treated as a ‘black woman’ until she started dating Prince Harry, even the fiercely progressive Washington Post, once one of the Sussexes’ staunchest defenders in the U.S. media, lost patience.
In an editorial, the newspaper pointed out that the couple’s entitled existence made them ill-suited to lecturing others.
‘The more the pair talk about what they suffered in England, the more it seems that’s all Americans want to hear from them,’ said a Post columnist.
‘The only way for the Sussexes to build a truly new life, and have a wider impact on the causes they care about, is to stop making themselves the centre of the story.’
The waning support for the Sussexes and their one-note narrative was, in fact, starting to become evident soon after the Oprah Winfrey interview in March 2021, when an Economist/YouGov poll found their popularity had already slipped from a year earlier.
Just less than half (48 per cent) of respondents had a ‘favourable or somewhat favourable’ view of Meghan, while a third had a ‘very or somewhat unfavourable’ view of her.
In May this year, another YouGov poll found that her popularity among fellow Americans had tumbled further: 46 per cent now said they had a ‘very or somewhat unfavourable’ view of her — up 13 points.
Last month, a different survey found that only a quarter of Americans were ‘very or fairly interested’ in reading Harry’s memoirs. That’s still rather more enthusiasm than in the UK (14 per cent), but the gap is surprisingly close.
Interestingly, the couple do not have to look too far to find their rivals for transatlantic affection. As one U.S. TV insider reportedly said this week: ‘We are more likely to do something on William and Kate now.’
The Cambridges have recently appointed a new PR chief, Lee Thompson, who previously worked for U.S. media conglomerate NBC, and there are two major trips planned.
Later this month, Prince William will fly to New York — his first visit to the U.S. in eight years — for a summit for environmental initiative the Earthshot Prize. He will return stateside in December to present it to the winners in Boston.
It is yet to be confirmed if Kate — who enjoys enormous popularity in the U.S. — will accompany him.
If she does, we can no doubt expect some more headline-grabbing action from Meghan in response. But this time it may not be enough to push the Duchess of Cambridge out of the spotlight.