Supposed criticism of Meghan Markle's wardrobe by Nigeria's First Lady proclaimed false: ‘At no point did she say…’ - Hindustan Times
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Supposed criticism of Meghan Markle's wardrobe by Nigeria's First Lady proclaimed false: ‘At no point did she say…’

Jun 02, 2024 03:39 AM IST

“At no point did she say anything about Meghan's dressing,” Nigerian First Lady's office slams misleading media reports.

Media attention inevitably follows the footsteps of all high-profile figures, much like it did in Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's case as the couple flew out for their “quasi-royal” trip to Nigeria from May 10 to May 12. Despite their Nigerian visit concluding weeks ago, a flurry of remarks about it still floats in the virtual air.

Meghan Markle watches her husband Prince Harry play in an exhibition sitting volleyball match, in Abuja, Nigeria, Saturday, May 11, 2024. Prince Harry and his wife Meghan are in Nigeria to champion the Invictus Games, which he founded to aid the rehabilitation of wounded and sick servicemembers and veterans. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)(AP)
Meghan Markle watches her husband Prince Harry play in an exhibition sitting volleyball match, in Abuja, Nigeria, Saturday, May 11, 2024. Prince Harry and his wife Meghan are in Nigeria to champion the Invictus Games, which he founded to aid the rehabilitation of wounded and sick servicemembers and veterans. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)(AP)

In the latest development around the issue, the First Lady of Nigeria clarified her comments supposedly addressing Meghan Markle's “dressing,” which were severely misconstrued by several media reports following her visit.

Which speech of Nigeria's First Lady is being referenced here?

In what now appears to be a scenario pulled out of context, First Lady Sen. Oluremi Tinubu seemingly mentioned the Dutchess of Sussex in a speech addressing challenges faced by Nigeria's youth. The remarks in question made headlines when the First Lady took the stage at the May 25 event, “Celebrating the Woman,” commemorating her husband, Bola Ahmed Tinubu's first year of presidency.

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An extract of First Lady Tinubu's speech reads: “We are not having the Met Gala . . . We don't accept nakedness in our culture… It is not beautiful at all . . . They are mimicking and trying to emulate film stars from America. They don’t know where they come from.” 

She continued, “Why did Meghan come here, looking for Africa? That is something we have to take home with. We know who we are, and don’t lose who you are.”

How did the First Lady of Nigeria respond to the alleged claims of her speech viciously targeting Meghan Markle?

In a May 30 story published on AFP Fact Check, the First Lady's office confirmed that her words had, in fact, been turned inside out as Tinubu's reference to the Suits alum was never made distastefully. Her office stated, “She meant Meghan appreciates the people we are and hence her coming here.” Tinubu's representatives further affirmed, “At no point did she say anything about Meghan's dressing.”

Presumably, the continuity of Tinubu's speech led to the misinterpretation of her message. She'd rather hoped to send out a message to the youth that even Markle had undertaken that long journey to come to Nigeria because she desired to get in touch with her roots and explore her complex identity. In a 2023 episode of her Archetypes podcast, Meghan shared that she is ethnically 43% Nigerian, a revelation that she chanced upon after taking a genealogy test.

How did the false claims about the First Lady of Nigeria allegedly disparaging Meghan blow up?

Although Arise News shared the original video of Tinubu's speech, unsavoury headlines targeting Markle emerged elsewhere.

A tweet shared by Nancy Sidley on May 25 in response to the original post tweeted by the First Lady of Nigeria. (X/Twitter)
A tweet shared by Nancy Sidley on May 25 in response to the original post tweeted by the First Lady of Nigeria. (X/Twitter)

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Per AFP Fact Check's report debunking the false interpretations of the First Lady's remarks, Nancy Sidley-Sussex, a member of the US duo called the Sidley Twins, posted a hyperbolic tweet: “Meghan Markle managed to create an international incident! We warned her about the clothes.” The post also featured the video of the Nigerian First Lady's speech with other photos of Markle from her Nigerian tour. Shared on X/Twitter on May 25, 2024, this tweet also included derogatory hashtags slandering her: “#ScamJam #MeghanMarklesSnapperPal #meghanmarkleisagrifter #harryandmeghanareajoke.”

According to the Sidley Twins' YouTube channel, Nancy Sidley shares this platform with Stephanie Sidley, which is dedicated to “discussing pop culture, royal gossip.” Possibly after Sidley's X tweet made it to social media, news outlets picked it up as a gossip piece or ran the story as their own. Either way, the First Lady's office has confirmed that her mention of Markle wasn't ill-intended.

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