At some point, I really hope the Duchess of Sussex just laughs. If the British tabloids weren’t so hellbent on being nasty as possible and trying to conjure up ill feelings towards the Sussexes, it would be a lot funnier. Meghan literally just sits there and breathes and The Sun and the Daily Mail have the pitchforks out for her. This story is especially interesting because it’s been something the tabloids have been sitting on for months, just waiting to manipulate a very basic, dumb little anecdote into “Duchess Difficult Issues Demands On Neighbors!” What really happened was that at a local community meeting in Windsor back in February, someone from Windsor Castle basically told the peasants to chill out and not act like a–holes once the Sussexes moved in. That’s it. But it got manipulated into this story:
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s new neighbours were issued with ‘do’s and don’ts’ should they see the pair around the newly-renovated Frogmore Cottage, it emerged last night. The issue was raised at a residents’ meeting for those living near the couple’s home on the Windsor estate by a ‘well-intentioned’ member of estate staff. Neighbours were ordered not to strike up conversation with the pair or ask to see baby Archie. They were also told to refrain from offering to babysit – or even stroke their dogs should they bound over. Residents were also cautioned they should avoid petting the royal couple’s two dogs, even if the dogs come over. They should also refrain from offering to walk the dogs or babysit Archie and should not post anything through the letterbox of Frogmore Cottage.
Residents living close to the royal couple on the Windsor estate also include royal staff, officials living in grace-and-favour houses and Crown Estate employees. Palace officials last night said neither the Sussexes or their household made any request for any instructions to be given to locals. A source said: ‘A well-intentioned member of estate staff offered guidance at a community meeting. Neither the couple or their household made any such request.’
One local remarked to The Sun last night: ‘It would be funny if it wasn’t so over the top.’ Another neighbour commented: ‘It’s extraordinary. We’ve never heard anything like it. Everyone who lives on the estate works for the royals and knows how to behave respectfully. We aren’t told how to behave around the Queen like this. She’s very happy for people to greet her.’
Royal commentator, Ingrid Seward, told The Sun: ‘It sounds as if Harry and Meghan’s incessant demands for privacy means that palace officials are second-guessing what they might want. It’s odd because it’s just good manners to engage your neighbour in conversation in a pleasant way. It’s a very normal British thing to say ‘good morning’ and pat a dog. The Queen always chats to neighbours and even has tea with people on the estate as she’s very friendly with them. The ‘not petting the dog’ is particularly strange. Maybe Harry doesn’t want people approaching them and using their dogs as an excuse to talk. And of course the dog with no name keeps its privacy as they won’t tell us its name!’
A spokesman for Buckingham Palace said: ‘The Duke and Duchess had no knowledge of this briefing and no involvement in the concept or the content. This was a well-intentioned briefing to help a small local community know how to welcome two new residents and help them with any potential encounter. There was no handout or letter. The talk was undertaken by a local manager and was widely viewed as being well-received. The Duke and Duchess didn’t request this, didn’t know about it, and had nothing to do with the content or guidance offered.’
A royal source said the meeting was in February, more than two months before they moved to Frogmore and three months before Archie was born. They added: ‘Residents meetings are frequently and routinely held to update on building works/events etc – this was not a meeting specifically held to talk about the couple, it was one of several things discussed. Most importantly their Royal Highnesses did not issue the guidance and didn’t ask for it to be done – they simply had nothing to do with this and Didn’t even know it had happened. As it is they love people to stroke their dogs.’
So, the Sussexes did not request this, nor did they issue the demands themselves, and it was just someone from Windsor Castle taking it upon themselves to tell people in the community to chill and be respectful and it got twisted into this. It’s so stupid and so funny. I mean, I imagine some people are working themselves into a lather about this – “can’t even say hello to their dog, HOW HIGH AND MIGHTY!” What’s funny is that now the royal reporters are twisting themselves in knots trying to blame Meghan and Harry for how they got the story wrong, basically arguing “well, misunderstandings like this are bound to happen when you expect any kind of privacy!” For the love of God.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red and Backgrid.