An MSNBC Live guest set off a backlash Saturday when she claimed that “many” people in the U.K. consider Meghan Markle “five clicks above trailer trash”
The guest, British journalist Victoria Mather, made the comment during a segment discussing the final official engagements undertaken by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex before they are due to leave their roles as senior royals later this month.
“I think what has really, really upset the British public is that Meghan Markle, who many people consider only, you know, five clicks up from trailer trash, has actually tried to disrespect the queen,” Mather said, without providing any examples of the disrespect she was referring to. “And the queen is the most respected person – most respected woman – in the world.”
Mather did not immediately respond to TIME’s request for comment.
MSNBC identified Mather as a “Royal Watcher” for Vanity Fair, though the magazine’s publisher told Buzzfeed News that Mather had not worked there since 2018. Mather’s instagram handle identifies her as a travel correspondent at AirMail, a newsletter launched in 2019 by the magazine’s former editor-in-chief Graydon Carter.
Footage of the exchange — which saw MSNBC anchor Lindsey Reiser cut the interview off immediately following Mather’s comments — went viral on social media, with many saying arguing it served as another example of hostile treatment of Markle by the British tabloid media. This was a factor cited by the royal couple as a major reason for their decision to withdraw from public life, when announced in January.
Prince Harry had expressed frustration at the media’s coverage of Markle as early as 2016, when he made a public statement calling out the “racial undertones of comment pieces” published in the British press.
Moments before Mather made the “trailer trash” comment, Reiser had raised disparities between the media’s coverage of Markle and Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been fulfilling their final round of commitments as working royals over the last week, with their last official appearance scheduled for Monday, as they attend an afternoon service to celebrate Commonwealth Day at Westminster Abbey in London (pictured above).
On Sunday the couple released a video from one of Markle’s final solo outings as a senior royal, a visit to a school in east London to celebrate International Women’s Day. The Duchess went “off the cuff” and asked students if any “brave young man” would give a speech on the importance of the day. The teen’s speech was “compelling and true,” a video of the moment on the couple’s official Instagram page is captioned.
After the Westminster Abbey service on Monday the Sussexes are expected to return to their new home in Canada. The couple will no longer use their HRH titles and will no longer receive funds from taxpayers in the U.K.