In 2019, there were royal reporters having complete and total meltdowns over the “secrecy” around the Duke and Duchess of Sussex welcoming baby Archie. Fully grown adults had been gleefully taking part in a massive smear campaign against a pregnant woman, then they were flabbergasted when Meghan and Harry’s people were squirrelly – for about six hours – about when she entered the hospital, when she gave birth and when she went home. During the Oprah interview, Meghan explained some of what was going on behind the scenes, and she indicated that they were not “asked” to do a hospital photocall:
Oprah raised the question with Meghan, asking if her decision to forgo the customary photos was the start of her and Harry wanting out of their senior royal roles, “It feels to me like things started to change when you and Harry decided that you were not going to take the picture that had been part of the tradition for years?”
Meghan, having already explained that it was the royals’ decision not to give Archie a title, which also meant he wouldn’t have security, said in response, “We weren’t asked to take a picture. That’s also part of the spin that was really damaging. I thought, ‘Can you just tell them the truth? Can you say to the world you’re not giving him a title, and we want to keep him safe, and that if he’s not a prince then it’s not part of the tradition? Just tell people and then they’ll understand’… But they wouldn’t do that.”
Continuing on, Oprah asked Meghan, “Was there a specific reason why you didn’t want to be a part of that tradition? I think many people interpreted that as you were both saying we’re going to do things our way?”
The Duchess then explained that she was afraid for her baby’s safety: “That’s not it at all. I think what was really hard… so picture, now that you know what was going on behind the scenes, there was a lot of fear surrounding it. I was very scared of having to offer up our baby knowing that they weren’t going to be kept safe.”
While I still have questions, I assumed that there were discussions among staffers and the family that Meghan should NOT do the hospital-pose photos and she was like “sure, okay, whatever.” As for the brief secrecy around the birth… I get why reporters were mad (they were lied to), but I also get why Harry and Meghan were like “f–k y’all, I don’t have to tell you anything, especially not about the baby.” I bring all of this up because Katie Nicholl’s The New Royals devotes a section to this bullsh-t. Much like Valentine Low and the other members of the rota, Nicholl doesn’t seem to want to include Meghan’s own words in her narrative:
Royal expert Katie Nicholl wrote about the royals’ birth experience in her upcoming book, “The New Royals: Queen Elizabeth’s Legacy and the Future of the Crown.”
“One source described Harry as being ‘almost morbidly obsessed’ with keeping Archie’s birth as secret as possible,” she wrote, according to an excerpt obtained by Page Six. However, the secrecy broke an “unwritten contract between the royals and the public.”
“Behind the scenes, matters were so fraught that more than one official — as I know from personal experience — was reduced to tears of frustration and despair,” Daily Mail’s royal editor Rebecca English added in the book.
Prince Harry, Markle and their newborn baby were expected to pose on the steps of the hospital hours after the duchess gave birth for photos. However, the two decided not to participate on May 6, 2019.
“Harry had always enjoyed outfoxing the media,” Nicholl explained. “He and Meghan were thrilled to be safely delivered of their son in London’s private Portland hospital even before the palace press office had confirmed the duchess was in labor.”
Instead, Harry and Markle debuted Archie at Windsor Castle whenever the Duchess of Sussex felt prepared. The occasion featured one journalist and one photographer. “But it all felt stage-managed, with pre-approved questions, one journalist, and one photographer,” Nicholl wrote in the book. “It demonstrated the growing gulf between public expectations of Harry and what he felt obliged to give.”
Nicholl is putting the onus on Harry and Meghan, when Meghan absolutely made it sound like some of it was not her call at all. I actually liked the photocall at Windsor Castle with the baby though – it seemed less stressful for the new parents, and shouldn’t that be the priority, especially given that the pregnancy was so massively stressful? Anyway, it’s ridiculous that these people are still bitching about two first-time parents wanting some privacy on the day they welcomed their firstborn.
Photos courtesy of Backgrid.