The case study selected was that of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who split from the royal family of the UK in February 2020. The research looked at how the media used different framing theories to come up with relevant media content for their respective audiences. Since their wedding, different media outlets around the world reported both positive and negative stories about the couple’s relationship, and their connection with other royal family members. More interest, however, was focused on the media outlets in the US and the UK. It was noted that several of the large media companies in the two countries reported opposite content despite running the same story. It is critical to mention that the case study was deciphered using qualitative analysis of various media content.
One of the interesting findings was that whereas a majority of the UK media companies had positive stories about Prince Henry and Meghan Markle’s relationship, the UK newsrooms did not share the same. In fact, as Duncan and Bindman (2020) explain, more outlets in the UK criticized the couple, through direct reproach of Markle’s personality, than any other royal. Several reasons were established as to why this is so, the first being that the target audience in the UK did not perceive Markle to be a suitable partner to the Prince. On the other hand, the media outlets in the US presented Markle as a wonder-woman who was able to prove that anyone can be a princess, regardless of place or family of birth and race. It can be argued that the differences in the framing of the stories is due to the target audience that the media outlets address.
A second interesting finding was that culture and politics play a big role in agenda setting and framing in the media. Again, this was observed by the representation of the couple’s relationship by the media in the two countries. In the case of the US, the media bashed the cultures of the UK by referring to the monarchy as highly patriarchal and outdated (Jarrett, 2017). This was related to the fact that the royal traditions made it hard for Markle to fit in to the family properly. On the other hand, the UK painted the US as highly immoral with no base for family ties and relations. This was captured through the relationship between Markle and her family, which is relatively strained.
Additionally, the analysis also revealed that despite the fact that UK media wrote negative reviews about Markle, they did the same with Prince William’s wife, Kate Middleton, when she married the future King. Various media outlets were harsh towards the Duchess of Cambridge due to the fact that she relentlessly pursued privacy and even sued both local and international media houses who tried to photograph her and her family. Other concerns, like the fact that she was not of royal blood, but rather came from a middle class family, was also highlighted severally in an attempt to paint her as less than enough for the Prince. In conclusion, it was realized that the different methods used to frame the relationship between Prince Harry, Markle and the royal family, were selected based on the target audience the media outlets were addressing. The target audiences, on the other hand, were driven by political and cultural biases.
- Duncan, P., & Bindman, P. (2020). Meghan gets twice as many negative headlines as positive, analysis finds. The Guardian. Web.
- Jarrett, C. (2017). Royal wedding: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Online: Lulu.