Meghan’s UK trip under scrutiny

LONDON — All Meghan, Duchess of Sussex did was put on a somber outfit and a charming expression and walk in public with three other people for 45 minutes. But the armchair pointillist analysis of that brief event – ​​a surprise outing outside Windsor Castle last Saturday with Meghan and her husband, Prince Harry, and Prince William and his wife – has continued ever since.

The incident, for those following this particular saga, represented a brief interruption, or perhaps an eventual thaw, of the coldness and animosity that has developed between the Prince and Princess of Wales (William and Kate) and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. (Harry and Meghan) in recent years.

Thrown, or perhaps pushed, into joint mourning following the death of Harry and William’s grandmother Queen Elizabeth II, the four gathered for the first time in more than a year to express their gratitude to crowds, to admire the bouquets of flowers left by the queen and demonstrate that they were able to exist in the same general location without appearing openly hostile to each other.

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From the moment Meghan appeared in public and in the days that followed, Meghan’s viewers in newspapers and on social media analyzed the video of the event as if it had been filmed by Zapruder himself, becoming instant readers of lips, body language . analysts, fashion critics and protocol experts in the service of an endless parlor game: What has Meghan done now?

How did Meghan’s dress (black and calf-length, with a flared skirt) compare to Kate’s dress (black and calf-length, with a flared skirt)? Did Kate reject Meghan by not seeing, speaking or acknowledging her? Was it true, as someone claimed on TikTok, that Meghan tried to walk past the others in the flower area, only for Harry to remind her of “royal protocol by subtly holding her hand to let William and Kate to enter the first flowers?”

Opinions about Meghan vary widely, and with little evidence on the ground, responses to events like these tend to reflect deeply held and ingrained emotions. So some people reported on social media that a happy murmur went through the crowd in Windsor when they saw the two couples together; others said otherwise, stating that while some mourners were excited to see William, Kate and Harry, they were actively opposed to Meghan’s presence. Various topics trending on Twitter: #Meghan (mixed views, but with a healthy pro-Meghan contingent) and #MeghanMarkleGoHome (self-explanatory).

A similarly heated and largely fact-free conversation erupted on Wednesday after the two couples, along with other members of the royal family, left a service at Westminster Hall following the arrival of the Queen’s coffin. Harry and Meghan walked out holding hands, unlike most other royal couples. A debate ensued: Were they being disrespectful as “teenagers in love,” or was it okay to hold hands with your spouse as you exited a somber occasion?

It also emerged that another couple – Princess Anne’s daughter Zara and her husband Mike Tindall – also held hands on the way out, which added an element of confusion to the matter. As Meghan’s fans have long pointed out, she is often attacked by hostile tabloids and on social media for doing the same things that other royals, especially Kate, are praised for.

In the United States, where they left after stepping down from royal duties in 2020 (“Megxit”), Meghan and Harry have been working hard to raise their two children and reposition themselves as celebrities and influencers — that is, royals American style – with a full Netflix deal and numerous charity and business ventures. They’ve given high-profile speeches at places like the United Nations (Harry), started a podcast series interviewing celebrity guests (Meghan), taken cameras with them to record them doing charity work, and talk publicly about issues such as mental. health and how they feel betrayed and mistreated by Harry’s family.

They are collaborating on a memoir they say will be an honest account of who they are and how they feel, with plenty of detail about their falling out with the royal family and their uneasy departure from Britain.

When Elizabeth died last week, the couple were already in Britain at the end of what The Daily Mail derided as a “pseudo-royal tour” and The Times of London disparagingly called “a stand-alone royal mini-tour”.

Accusing Meghan and Harry of blatant attention-seeking during this trip, the papers nevertheless stepped into their arguments by flooding them with attention, albeit mostly negative. “For those of us who have had enough of Harry and Meghan, I fear they are back on this side of the Atlantic,” wrote Hilary Rose in The Times of London.

Then the Queen died and Harry traveled alone to Balmoral, Scotland. Some reports said, without verifiable attribution, that he had been ordered to leave Meghan behind so as not to upset the rest of the family. Harry stood alone for a short time before turning back to his wife. That’s where things stayed until they accepted an invitation to walk for a bit with William, Kate, the Windsor crowds and a bevy of cameras.

Sadly, we will never know the truth behind it. We’ll never know, for example, whether the potential rapprochement happened because King Charles III “ordered his warring sons to put aside their ongoing feud,” as the Daily Mail reported on Saturday — or because William unilaterally sent a “bomb text” to his brother laying out the terms of the proposed joint filing, as the paper reported (contradicting itself) on Sunday.

The Mirror tabloid followed what appeared to be an anti-Meghan party line in reporting that some mourners in the crowd refused to shake her hand and, on one occasion, brazenly put on a pair of sunglasses in response to her arrival. According to the newspaper’s analysis of a video of the incident, another woman walked away and then “gave the Duchess of Sussex the stink eye, before laughing” in her general direction.

Meanwhile, commentator and controversialist Piers Morgan, an obsessive close watcher and merciless critic of Meghan, inevitably slipped into his usual splenic views.

“Don’t be fooled by the scenes of the alleged speedboat burial between William and his brother over the weekend,” he wrote in The New York Post and the Fox News website in an article titled, “Harry, if you really want to Honor Dad your kind Nix, and restrain your royal wife.”

To which a reader responded on Twitter: “‘Frein your wife’…?! What is this Middle Ages?!!!”

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