Why Meghan Markle's Childhood Friend Was Both "Excited" & "Worried" for the Duchess

By Alyssa Ray Mar 22, 2021 5:54 PMTags
Watch: Meghan Markle's Childhood Friend Reacts to British Press Scrutiny

There is such a thing as bad press.

In this clip from tonight, March 22's all-new E! True Hollywood Story, Meghan Markle's high school friend, named Simone Burns Dilley, reveals the concerns she had about the Suits actress turned duchess joining the royal family.

"We were excited for her," she shares with the THS camera. "But I can be honest, at the same time, I was worried."

Simone continues, "She was divorced, she's half-Black. I was like, 'Oh my god, they're gonna be so mean to her.'"

And it appears that Simone's concerns were justified as Sarah-Jane Crawford, who is a television and radio presenter, goes onto explain the reputation of the U.K.'s press. "The British media do have a reputation for wanting to build someone up and bring them down again," she relays in a confessional. "And there were racial undertones."

Meghan and husband Prince Harry have both spoken out against British tabloids on several occasions. In fact, in a sit-down interview with Oprah Winfrey, Meghan discussed the negative attention she received from the press.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's History-Making Moments

"And because, from the beginning of our relationship, they were so attacking and inciting so much racism, really, it changed…the risk level, because it wasn't just catty gossip," Meghan told Oprah in their March discussion. "It was bringing out a part of people that was racist in how it was charged. And that changed the threat. That changed the level of death threats. That changed everything. "

And as royal biographer Andrew Morton notes on THS, there is "absolutely nothing" that "can prepare you for that, kind of, jet blast of publicity that comes with dating a member of the royal family."

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Per the former butler of Princess Diana, life had become "impossible" for Meghan, who was being called out for being an American actress and divorcee.

Melanie Bromley, Head of News Operations at E! News, concludes: "The British press just didn't seem to give her a break."

For all of this and more, catch tonight's all-new E! True Hollywood Story.