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King Charles III's cousin has opened up about the royal family's treatment of Meghan Markle - saying she was effectively 'hazed' after joining The Firm.

Christina Oxenberg, the daughter of Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia, praised the former Suits actress, saying only those who are "tough as nails" tend to survive the monarchy's hostile treatment of newcomers.

"To Meghan Markle, I say, ‘What you are going through is a hellish kind of hazing'," Oxenberg told the New York Post.

"If she can just hang in there, someone else will come along who can take the heat. Nobody gets a pass."

Writer and fashion designer Oxenberg said that no one is safe, recalling a time in 2011 when the royal family sniggered at Kate Middleton and her treatment by the press, calling her "Kate Middle Class."

"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."

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Oxenberg doesn't believe her family have an issue with Markle's race but said: "They are tough, they are tough on foreigners. It’s not about your skin colour; it’s about being a foreigner."

She then hit out at the press, who overanalysed Markle's actions over the past few weeks, while she grieves the late Queen Elizabeth II.

"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."

The questionable treatment of women isn't new and dates back as far as 1978, Oxenberg said. During this time, the Queen's cousin, Prince Michael of Kent, was dating Marie Christine von Reibnitz, a baroness of Czech-German lineage.

"She was treated the same way Meghan [has been] treated — with this mocking and lack of respect," she recalled.

"We always used to mock her because she kept referring to the royals as ‘delicious cousins.’ It was all done out of habit and not full of hatred and violent plotting. I was a witness."

Oxenberg then claimed that the Queen ended the relationship between Prince Andrew and Kathleen Norris Stark, better known as Koo Stark.

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The pair dated for 18 months in the 1980s, with Oxenberg describing them as "soul mates."

When the Queen discovered the American actress and photographer had appeared topless in an arthouse film, she decided it was an unlikely match.

"They were both really in love," she added of the former couple. "They were soul mates, and he was prevented from marrying his soul mate. Had he married her, things would be different today."


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