LONDON — All Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, did was put on a dark outfit and a sympathetic expression and walk around 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 who have followed this particular saga, represented a brief cessation, or perhaps a harbinger of an eventual thaw, of the coldness and hostility that developed between the prince and princess of Wales (William and Kate) and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. (Harry and Meghan) over the past few years.
Thrown, or perhaps pushed, into a common mourning after the death of Harry and William’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, the four came together for the first time in over a year to express their gratitude to the crowd, admiring the bouquets of flowers left for the Queen and demonstrating that they were able to exist in the same general location without appearing overtly hostile to each other.
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From the time Meghan appeared in public and in the days that followed, Meghan-watchers in the newspapers and on social media analyzed the video of the event as if it had been filmed by Zapruder himself. turning into instant lip readers, body language analysts, fashion critics and protocol experts in the service of an endless board game: what did Meghan do now?
How does Meghan’s dress (black and mid-calf, with a flared skirt) compare to Kate’s dress (black and mid-calf, with a slim skirt)? Did Kate snub Meghan by apparently not looking at, talking to or acknowledging her? Was it true, as someone claimed on TikTok, that Meghan tried to get ahead of the others in the flower area, only for Harry to remind her of “royal protocol by subtly holding her hand back to let William and Kate switch to flowers first?”
Opinions on Meghan vary widely, and with thin facts on the ground, responses to events like these tend to reflect deep-seated and ingrained emotions. So some people have reported on social media that a happy murmur went through the crowds in Windsor when they saw the two couples together; others said otherwise, saying that while some mourners were delighted to see William, Kate and Harry, they actively opposed Meghan’s presence. Various topics are trending on Twitter: #Meghan (mixed opinions but with a healthy pro-Meghan contingent) and #MeghanMarkleGoHome (self-explanatory).
An equally robust and mostly fact-free conversation erupted on Wednesday after the two couples, along with other senior royals, left a service at Westminster Hall after the Queen’s coffin arrived. Harry and Meghan walked out holding hands, unlike most other royal couples. A debate ensued: were they behaving disrespectfully like “lovesick teenagers,” or was it okay to hold your spouse’s hand while leaving a dark occasion?
Another couple – Princess Anne’s daughter, Zara, and her husband, Mike Tindall – also turned out to be holding hands as they walked out, adding 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 very same things that other royals, especially Kate, are lauded for.
In the United States, where they moved after stepping back from royal duties in 2020 (“Megxit”), Meghan and Harry have worked diligently to raise their two children and reposition themselves as celebrities and influencers – it that is, American-style royals – with a splashy Netflix deal and multiple charitable and business ventures. They’ve given high-profile speeches at places like the United Nations (Harry), launched a series of podcasts with celebrity guest interviews (Meghan), brought in the cameras to record them while they’re doing charity work and spoke publicly about issues like mental health. health and how they feel betrayed and abused by Harry’s family.
They are collaborating on a memoir which they say will be a heartfelt account of who they are and how they feel, with plenty of detail about their falling out with the Royal Family and their difficult departure from Britain.
When Elizabeth died last week, the couple were already in Britain at the end of what the Daily Mail called a “pseudo-royal tour” and The Times of London nastily called “an independent mini-royal tour”.
Accusing Meghan and Harry of blatantly seeking attention on this trip, the newspapers nevertheless intervened on their own arguments by showering them with attention, albeit mostly negative. “For those of us who have had enough of Harry and Meghan, I’m afraid they’re back on this side of the Atlantic,” Hilary Rose wrote in The Times of London. .
Then the queen died and Harry traveled alone to Balmoral, Scotland. Some reports stated, without verifiable attribution, that he was ordered to leave Meghan behind so as not to upset the rest of the family. Harry stayed a short time before returning to his wife. There things held until they accepted the invitation to walk around a bit with William, Kate, the Windsor crowd and a bunch of cameras.
Alas, we will never know the truth behind all this. We will never know, for example, whether the possible rapprochement took place because King Charles III “ordered his warring sons to lay aside their ongoing feud”, as the Daily Mail reported on Saturday – or because that William unilaterally sent an “explosive text” to his brother setting out the terms of the proposed joint appearance, as the newspaper (contradicting itself) reported on Sunday.
The Mirror tabloid toed what appeared to be an anti-Meghan party line by reporting that some of the mourners in the crowd refused to shake hands with her and, in one case, haughtily donned a pair of sunglasses in response to his arrival. According to the newspaper’s analysis of a video of the incident, another woman turned away then pointedly “gave the Duchess of Sussex a stinking eye, before laughing” in her general direction.
Meanwhile, commentator and polemicist Piers Morgan, an obsessive close watcher and relentless critic of Meghan, inevitably floundered with his usual splenic views.
“Don’t be misled by the supposed hatchet burial scenes between William and his brother this weekend,” he wrote in the New York Post and on the Fox News website. in an article titled “Harry, If You Really Want to Honor Your Father, Nix Your Salacious Tell-All, and Lower Your Royals-Trashing Wife.
To which one reader replied on Twitter: “’Rein in your wife’…?! What is the Middle Ages?!!!”
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