A seemingly uncontroversial move made by Meghan Markle at her first royal engagement in 2018 has become the subject of a new viral video, after it became one of the royal’s most talked-about moments in Britain, just months after her marriage to Prince Harry.
Meghan met Harry in 2016, and the couple announced their engagement a year later. It was followed by the royal wedding at Windsor Castle, Berkshire, England, in May 2018. Upon her marriage, Meghan became the Duchess of Sussex, and one of the most senior women in the British monarchy.
Like other women before her who had married into the royal family, Meghan became a global figure of fascination, with a level of fame and public scrutiny exceeding what she had experienced in her own right as a Hollywood actress.
The duchess found out just how much her every move became the subject of debate and criticism during her first solo public royal engagement. It took place four months after her marriage, and just as she was about to embark on a large-scale overseas tour with her husband.
Uploaded to TikTok by user @sussexfans on September 26, footage of Meghan arriving at the Royal Academy of Art in London for the engagement—an exhibition of art from Oceania—has gone viral, gaining over 158,000 views so far.
The clip shows the moment that Meghan stepped out of her car at the venue, before going on to close her own door and greeting her host.
Once footage of her entrance was published, social-media users seized on the moment. Critics took aim by saying that Meghan had shown a disregard for royal protocol by not following other members of the monarchy who allow security to open and close their car doors. However, fans praised the moment as a sign of the duchess’ humility and modernity.
The social-media discourse, combined with Meghan’s fame, then sparked a media frenzy, with the car-door moment being the slam heard around the world. This saw headlines such as, “Meghan Markle shut her own car door and it has genuinely caused a debate” and “Meghan closes a car door and some people can’t handle it,” run through the British press.
When Meghan then appeared to allow bodyguards to open and close her door at a future engagement, it then sparked another round of headlines.
The TikTok video of the moment has received over 3,200 likes so far and numerous comments, many of which have referenced the subsequent drama.
“I remember when they freaked out about her closing her own door. I was like why is this news… like literally a whole report?!” wrote one user.
“I REMEMBER THIS!!! Love her,” posted another, with a further comment reading: “How dare she close her door? I love you Meghan.”
Though Meghan herself didn’t comment on the incident or the reaction from social media and the press, it was referenced by Prince Harry as an example of the way small moments were made into big news items. Major milestones in their lives were often overlooked before their split from the monarchy in 2020.
Writing in his memoir, Spare, about the couple’s announcement that they had decided to sue tabloid publishers in Britain in 2019, Harry told readers that he believed it didn’t receive as much coverage in the press as trivial issues.
“The lawsuit wasn’t covered as widely as, say, Meg’s daring to shut her own car door. In fact, it was barely covered at all,” the prince wrote. “Nonetheless, friends took note.”
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