A MSNBC guest set up a firestorm of criticism and controversy by referring to Meghan Markle as “five clicks above trailer trash.”
According to Time, 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.