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Why doesn’t King Charles get the same treatment as Meghan Markle for being a bit cringe?

King Charles
(Picture: ABC/Backgrid)

From Katy Perry struggling to find her seat while casually asking strangers for directions as if she isn’t one of the biggest pop stars on the planet, to choirs appearing to sing ‘wide-backed vagina Camilla’ while our new queen walked down the aisle at Westminster Abbey.

Obviously, they didn’t but it’s honestly impossible to watch footage of the musical interlude and hear anything else. But after missing the actual Coronation concert because, in all honesty, I would rather do anything else, I was utterly bewildered when I woke up the next day to see a different viral clip of a very excitable Katy.

Perry – joined by her American Idol co-star Lionel Richie at Windsor Castle – welcomed King Charles and Queen Camilla onto the US singing competition show for a painfully uncomfortable short skit.

Ed Sheeran and Alanis Morissette replaced Perry and Richie as judges on American Idol for one night only as the latter two made up the pretty random line-up of musicians for the huge blockbuster concert celebrating Charles taking over his mother’s duties following her death last year.

That in itself is so unbelievably strange to me. But in a pre-recorded video shown across the pond, Perry and Richie chatted to audiences before acting surprised as a giddy Charles and Camilla entered the room.

‘I could do this all night long,’ said Charles, with a bluntness that suggested he didn’t actually know there was a joke about Richie’s biggest hit in the line at all. Perry then asked if they’d been making ‘too much noise’ and Richie teased ‘We understand there’s a party’. Even by the standard of a pop star trying their hand at comedy, this was a new low.

While I caught my breath and tried to forget the discomfort I’d just witnessed, I wondered how social media digested the mess. From what I could see online, Charles received zero negative publicity, with most commentators simply calling it a ‘surprise’ sketch, as if it hadn’t been pre-planned for months.

It got me thinking about how differently people seem to view King Charles when he does something silly or light-hearted compared to, say, his daughter-in-law, Meghan Markle. Remember the uproar when Meghan Markle appeared on The Ellen Show pretending to be a cat?

The press almost unanimously called it ‘cringe-worthy’ and ‘painful’, comparing it to George Galloway falling to all fours and meowing like a cat on Celebrity Big Brother even though that was a mystery that happened without any prompt or punch line.

Or do you recall the backlash she received when she launched a podcast championing women? As far as I could – and still can – see, these negative responses were because it was unthinkable that Meghan could do or say anything to challenge the misconceptions that she’s a demon whose sole purpose in life is to bring down the royal family for motives even her biggest critics have yet to really pin down.

Of course, King Charles isn’t the first monarch to break with tradition and have some fun. When Queen Elizabeth met with James Bond and sent 007 on his way for the Olympic opening ceremony, even I – as not the biggest fan of the royal family – was impressed that she was game for a laugh and had a playful sense of humor we may have otherwise not seen. There was also the time she had tea with Paddington Bear.

I don’t even mind that Charles wants to show himself to be a bit of a joker – even if American Idol probably wouldn’t have been the best go-to for his first sketch as King when there was quite literally a huge concert on the BBC, which UK taxpayers (many, reluctantly) paid for.

I do mind, though, that he’s not under the same scrutiny as his daughter-in-law. She’s only trying to prove that she – like the rest of us – can have a laugh or call for positive change, defend the rights of others, or highlight powerful women.

I’m not exactly looking forward to Meghan’s next attempt to crack jokes on television. She’s probably never going to win us over with her sense of humor and that’s fine – we don’t need her to be the first royal comic. But let’s not pretend that Charles is any closer to being the next Peter Kay.

It seems to me that there was more backlash to Harry reportedly flying with American Airlines or his Dior suit than there was for Charles shredding all traces of dignity to make a deeply awkward cameo on American Idol.

I will never understand how the two members of the royal family who kept their distance and silence as much as they possibly could throughout the weekend – without making a fool of themselves whatsoever – can cause more unwarranted (and often false) outrage than the actual king embarrassing himself on American television.

Our King is just not very funny – why aren’t people calling him out with the same vim Meghan Markle gets?

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