The British royals have a long history of hazing newcomers — particularly women who are dating family members — and only those who are “tough as nails” tend to survive, said a cousin of King Charles III in an exclusive interview with The New York Post.
“To Meghan Markle, I say, ‘What you are going through is a hellish kind of hazing,’” said Christina Oxenberg, a descendant of Serbian royalty who counts King Charles III as a third cousin.
“If she can just hang in there, someone else will come along who can take the heat. Nobody gets a pass.”
Including, she added, Kate Middleton.
Oxenberg, 59, is a writer and fashion designer and the younger sister of actress Catherine Oxenberg. Their mother is Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia, who, Oxenberg said, was once very close to Charles.
Oxenberg, who has lived among the British royals most of her life, recalled the snobbery once whispered behind the new Princess of Wales’ back.
When Prince William, now the heir to the throne, was dating Middleton before their 2011 marriage, the royal family thought it pretty funny that the British press labeled her “Kate Middle Class,” Oxenberg said.
According to the ExpressCamilla — now the Queen Consort — allegedly referred to Middleton’s parents, Carole and Michael, as Meet the Fockers.
“They thought it was all very funny — Kate Middle Class and Sarah Ferguson and Koo Stark,” Oxenberg said. “They meant no disrespect; after all, she is the future queen of England.”
Stark, an American actress and photographer, dated Prince Andrew for 18 months in the early 1980s before his mother, Queen Elizabeth, put an end to the relationship. Although she initially liked Stark, who bought Andrew his first pair of blue jeans, the monarch quickly intervened once the British press unearthed the actress’s appearances of her in softcore porn films, which made her an unlikely match for the prince.
“It was a very flimsy reason,” Oxenberg told The Post. “There’s a good example of how you can suffer as a royal for no good reason.”
“They were both really in love,” she added of Andrew and Stark. “They were soulmates, and he was prevented from marrying his soulmate of him. Had he married her, things would be different today.”
Andrew, who was married to Sarah Ferguson from 1986 to 1996, was entangled in a friendship with convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein — and in March, the prince settled with sexual-abuse accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre, paying her a reported $US12 million after she said she was forced to sleep with him three times when she was 17.
Oxenberg herself admitted she was a former confidante of British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, who is appealing a 20-year sentence following her conviction for helping to procure young women and girls for Epstein.
Among the other now-royals who received their share of hazing, Oxenberg said, was Princess Michael of Kent, nee Marie Christine von Reibnitz, a baroness of Czech-German lineage.
When Prince Michael of Kent, a first cousin of Queen Elizabeth II, married von Reibnitz in 1978, British royals delighted in giving her a hard time, Oxenberg told The Post.
“She was treated the same way Meghan (has been) treated — with this mocking and lack of respect,” she said. “We always used to mock her because she kept referring to the royals as ‘delicious cousins.’ It (the hazing) was all done out of habit and not full of hatred and violent plotting. I was a witness.”
Oxenberg was 16 years old at the time, and going through her own tribulations with her mother, Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia, a second cousin to King Charles III. While still married to Howard Oxenberg, a dress manufacturer from New York, Princess Elizabeth became engaged to the actor Richard Burton, while he was between marriages to Elizabeth Taylor. (Burton and the princess never wed.)
With Meghan, who married Prince Harry in 2018, the hazing has been particularly brutal, according to Oxenberg. “They are tough, they are tough on foreigners,” she said. “It’s not about your skin color, it’s about being a foreigner.”
Still, she called Meghan’s treatment by both the British press — which is analyzing her every move, especially during Monday’s funeral of Queen Elizabeth — and some members of the royal family as nothing short of “treasonous.”
“She is Harry’s choice of wife,” Oxenberg said. “By their own metrics they have called it a class system. They came up with that system, (by which) you have to respect Harry’s choice.”
This story originally appeared on Page Six and is republished here with permission.