As we saw this weekend, the Duchess of Sussex put her maternity leave on pause for a few hours to honor the Queen’s fake birthday at Trooping the Colour. It was the first time Meghan has been out and about since Private Archie’s baby-debut a little more than a month ago. It was notable, to some people, because Meghan did not make any public appearances whatsoever during Donald Trump’s state visit to the UK just days earlier. Her maternity leave was well-established, and royal women (like Kate!) often make “exceptions” to their leave for Trooping the Colour. But trust that some royal commentators are trying to turn this into a thing. Nevermind the fact that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge did the bare f–king minimum for Trump’s state visit too – they only attended the banquet and they did not pose with him or give him a photo-op at all. All of the younger royals chose to shun Trump in their own ways to varying degrees (as they should), so why is Meghan the only one getting these “why didn’t she do THIS?!” screeds? Oh, right. From Tom Sykes’ Daily Beast column:
The Cambridges’ putting duty first? While William and Kate appear to have accepted they must do their duty, put country before their own personal feeling (by, for example, attending the state dinner held in President Trump’s honor), Harry and Meghan are making it very clear that they will be led first and foremost by ethical considerations…Harry did make a rather grudging appearance at a private lunch for Trump and his family, somewhat against expectations, and William and Kate did as little as possible with Trump, and denied him a personal photo-op, but it is a handy enough summary of the bigger picture. Harry gets to choose, William doesn’t.
What the Sussexes will choose for themselves: But what will Harry and Meghan choose for themselves? The overarching plan, according to royal sources, is that once Charles accedes to the throne, Harry and Meghan will do far more of the overseas trips, a fact which explains their role as youth ambassadors to the Commonwealth, the loose federation of nations which once called the Queen head of state (and those that still do). There will be a fair bit of shaking hands with dignitaries, of course, but Harry and Meghan will always be more attuned to the needs of the children or people they are helping than the bigwigs. They are said to see for themselves a role as international humanitarians and awareness-raisers in the Angelina Jolie mold. As this week showed, they intend to be guided by moral, rather than political, imperatives.
Meghan has displeased palace insiders: Meghan’s steadfast refusal to participate in the Trump circus was generally greeted by the public as an appropriate response to Trump’s bizarre insults of her and his history of misogyny and racism. It has, however, provoked a few tuts of disapproval amongst old-school palace insiders. She is an American and she is a senior member of the royal family, therefore it was perceived by her critics as rather odd that she was not on hand to greet another American. The fact that she took no part at all in the activities was well flagged to the visitors, and one can’t help wonder whether Trump’s decision to insult her in his interview with The Sun and in his Piers Morgan interview was a retaliatory strike when he realized that she would not be meeting with him and his family.
Meghan is determined to do the right thing: But what Meghan’s refusal to meet with Trump this week shows is that she is determined to do what she sees as the right thing even if that is at the expense of the expected thing. That is a game-changing statement of intent for a new entrant into the royal firm. She stood up to what was probably considerable pressure and simply refused to use her position as Harry’s wife to exult a man with whose values and beliefs she profoundly disagrees.
Meghan’s maternity leave: The official argument presented by the Palace for her week-long no-show was that Meghan is on maternity leave, but everybody knows this is just a convenient fig leaf… If Meghan is well enough and strong enough to honor the Queen on her birthday, logic suggests that she would have been strong enough and well enough to honor the president of the United States, and very few people would expect that she would have missed every single engagement with the president had she been named Hillary.
Harry follows Meghan’s path: Meghan seems unwilling to adopt such a craven stance, and Harry’s startlingly brief appearance on camera as the Trumps were led around an exhibition of Americana from the royal collection by Her Majesty, was also revealing. While he might be prepared to partially go along with the royal virtue of putting-up-with-it, Meghan’s principled stance is clearly rubbing off on her husband.
All of this breast-beating because a woman who recently gave birth didn’t want to do a photo-op with a racist piece of sh-t who REPEATEDLY called her “nasty.” Can we not? I mean, sure, it IS notable that Meghan ghosted the Trump clowns, but I thought it was more notable that “future king and future queen” William and Kate didn’t do a photo-op with Trump. At all. There’s a movement to embiggen Will and Kate as the model of everything appropriate and regal and smart, but at the end of the day, they did the bare minimum and they didn’t even have the excuse of “we just welcomed a baby one month ago.” As I said last week, I didn’t have a problem with any of it either – I think it’s funny that Will & Kate denied Trump a photo-op, just as I think it’s great that Harry purposefully ignored Ivanka and Meghan just stayed home. These royal courtiers who are mad about Meghan and only Meghan need to get a grip. “Why wasn’t she there to be an object of Trump’s derision?!?” Because STFU.
Photos courtesy of WENN, Backgrid and Avalon Red.