As soon as we learned that Virginia Roberts Giuffre had filed a lawsuit against Prince Andrew, every single royal-watcher knew that the Royal Rota would do the most to push stories about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. That’s been happening for more than two years, and it’s as predictable as can be. Some bad news for Andrew? Well, did you hear that Meghan eats avocado toast?!? So what story is being conveniently pushed about the Sussexes this week? It actually started before Giuffre’s lawyers filed the suit – it’s the story about “why didn’t Harry and Meghan go to Barack Obama’s birthday party?” I have a lot of thoughts, actually. So did Camilla Tominey of the Telegraph (I’m not linking to her piece and this is just secondary coverage):
Royal commentator Camilla Tominey believes the omission of the Sussexes from Obama’s birthday party is no minor blip from the Obamas. Writing in The Telegraph, Tominey suggests there is cause to believe the previously happy-go-lucky relationship between the two couples may have soured.
“It arguably will not have gone down particularly well with a couple that have always put ‘family first’ to see Harry and Meghan being so openly critical of their Royal relatives during their Oprah interview in March,” Tominey said.
Harry and Meghan made broad claims against the royal family in the 90-minute program, which included statements the family had failed to support them and their mental health, and also an allegation by Meghan that a royal family member had made an issue of the colour of her son Archie’s skin before he was born. Tominey suggests the ‘attack’ by Harry and Meghan did not sit well with the Obamas, who have maintained a close and supportive relationship with the Queen, as well as Prince William and Kate Middleton in particular.
“When the Obamas returned to the UK in 2016, they made a point of popping into Kensington Palace, where they were introduced to a then three-year-old Prince George, ready for bed in his dressing gown, before sitting down to dinner with William, Kate and Harry,” Tominey wrote. “Last October, the former President made a point of supporting Prince William’s newly launched Earthshot Prize.”
Neither Barack or Michelle were invited to participate in the new charity initiative launched by Meghan the Sussexes’ joint foundation, Archewell. While celebrities including Hillary Clinton, Adele and fashion designer Stella McCartney were invited to promote the event, there was no word of an invitation extended to the Obamas.
Tominey supposes this could also be down to a will for the couple to avoid the negative press the initiative has received as being both “self-serving” and “woke”. While there’s no confirmation of bad blood between the two famous couples, the latest public slight does seem it could be an indication of a relationship gone awry.
First of all, the “relationship” between the Obamas and the Sussexes was always overblown. The Obamas have clearly known Harry for years and they liked him a great deal. But the Obamas have only met Meghan a few times. It’s not like they’re going on double-dates and it’s not like the Obamas have been quietly advising the Sussexes whatsoever. So much of the “Sussex-Obama” commentary has been just another version of “the British press thinks every Black person knows each other.”
Now, if you’re asking me if I think the Obamas are not particularly seeking a friendship with the Sussexes… for whatever reason, I don’t think Michelle Obama really cares at this point. MO’s statements after the Oprah interview were – in my opinion – very cold and she clearly didn’t want to be drawn into defending the Sussexes in any way, shape or form. A fact which speaks volumes to me. But I don’t think any of this is about “the Obamas hate the Sussexes because of wokeness” or “the Obamas are super-tight with the Queen and the Keens!” All of that is bullsh-t too. I think the Sussexes weren’t invited to the Martha’s Vineyard party because A) none of them have ever actually been that close and B) Obama was trying not to invite too many people.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.