Today, speaking out on a panel celebrating International Women’s day, we heard directly that the Duchess of Sussex does not engage in Twitter and makes a conscious choice to tune out all the negativity especially from online platforms. Quite a stark contrast to the Meghan who, prior to her marriage to Prince Harry, used to champion the social media world as a means of sharing her voice globally.
Over the last couple of years, the online debate and pitching of the royal ladies of the House of Windsor against each other on an almost daily basis has become so distasteful that International Woman’s day seems like the perfect point in this time to discuss this issue more openly. With Meghan, championing women’s empowerment both now and for many years prior to her life within the royal fold, and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge speaking out regularly about the importance of mental health and early childhood intervention to battle these issues, it cannot be understated how important it is for all of us to take a real step back and look at our own social media engagement.
Both Catherine and Meghan are of a similar age to me, and like me, are stepping into the unknown that many a parent face in this technologically driven age. We are the first generation of parents who are trying to navigate ourselves and our children through the dangers, pitfalls and ups and downs of online social media with no guidelines and no real idea how much long term damage this generation may suffer in this cyber world we are living in. This week we saw all three of the online Royal Houses taking new steps to monitor its virtual feedback, and I believe this initiative on this platform was, sadly, long overdue.
You don’t have to look too far through the timelines of royal social media to encounter battles between the Duchess Camps. Both sides passionately engaged in supporting or championing their own favoured royal lady. And whilst I’m not here to tell anyone who they should or should not support, its always worth remembering that both ladies are working within their own parameters to promote a kinder and happier world for us and for our children to grow. Before we choose to feed in to the negativity and hate online, we should choose our clicks wisely, leading by example. If you see a negative story, don’t share it, don’t give it your time or effort. Move on. You can make your timeline and in turn your mental health a better place to be if you choose your battles wisely. Obviously, don’t turn a blind eye to bullying or blatant racist comments, but dealing with them appropriately is better than engaging with them personally and feeding the trolls egos further. Its an easy trap to fall into and one I’m guilty of myself and when I feel myself going there, I like to take a moment to think how our Duchesses would deal with it.
I think Meghan and Catherine have their own thoughts on online engagement and for me, hearing Meghan’s honesty on the subject was refreshing after the weeks, months and years of reading nasty, mean spirited and in some cases downright ugly comments and reports about them. I’d welcome hearing more of these opinions from both Duchesses perspectives. After all, it’s not just one voice needed to change the conversation – we all need to take a more mindful approach to our virtual voices. So whilst it’s easy to be judgmental and even critical of them and others, today is a good reminder to us that as much as they are Duchesses, they are also women like you or me, trying to do their best in their own individual way and be an positive example to the next generation.
It is an often discussed topic in royal online circles as to which lady performs her duties better. Who can deliver a speech better, who dresses better, who’s relationship with their husband is better. All ridiculous scrutiny that I myself, would crumble under if subjected to it daily. So it’s no wonder to me that Meghan chooses wisely to “tune out that noise” and I suspect, William and Catherine are taking a similar path.
Being a monarchist or royalist these days, remains something I am proud of. And these royal women conduct themselves impeccably throughout this barrage of daily criticism they receive. I’m both fascinated and in awe of them. Coming from completely different backgrounds and being thrust onto the world’s stage through a chance of birth or marriage. But instead of comparing them, we should be embracing their differences. Listening to their voices as they take on an institution as old as time. Moving Monarchy forward is always a hot topic, and in a week where we saw our 92 year old Queen posting for the first time on Instagram, I think I can boldly say that historically it has always been the women of the royal family who have made the big differences through the ages. I’m proud to have lived and bore witness to the longest reigning and some might say one of the most successful and progressive monarchs of all time. With this in mind, I’m giving them a virtual clap today. I salute all the women of the House of Windsor on International Women’s day.