Here's Why Meghan Markle Doesn't Care What Her Critics Say
The Duchess of Sussex is visiting South Africa and not minding any bad PR.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle kicked off their 10-day royal tour of South Africa on Monday, arriving in Cape Town with four-month-old Archie Mountbatten-Windsor (and his not-yet-identified nanny) in tow. The couple's visit comes at a time when criticism from the British press about their perceived "celebrity" lifestyle has gone into overdrive. Harry was taken to task for giving a lecture about climate change at Google Camp in Sicily while logging four trips on private jets in this summer. Most recently, Meghan angered royalists by declining Queen Elizabeth's invitation to Balmoral, instead opting to fly to New York to cheer on her friend Serena Williams at the U.S. Open.
Royal handlers are hoping their trip to South Africa will silence the naysayers for the time being and refocus media attention on the couple's work as ambassadors for the Commonwealth. But, according to my sources, while the palace's PR spinners will be working overtime, Meghan isn't the least bit worried about what critics are saying about her because she has the ear of the Queen.
"Meghan is supremely confident about what she's doing because she's got the full support of Her Majesty behind her," one royal insider told me. "She won over the Queen with her work ethic and her interest in the Commonwealth from the very beginning. Her Majesty realizes that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are a great asset in attracting young people's support for the future. She is not interested in what the tabloids are saying about the duchess."
The Queen showed her support of Meghan early on when she allowed the former actress to attend Christmas at Sandringham after she became engaged to Harry in 2017. Invitations had previously only been extended to family members and their spouses (Princess Diana and Kate Middleton were not afforded the same courtesy after their engagements). The Queen also made headlines when she invited Meghan to travel solo with her on the Royal Train for an official visit just a month after her wedding to Harry in 2018. Kate, who married Prince William in 2011, didn't make her first solo trip with the Queen until March 2019
"It's quite clear the Queen has a fondness for Meghan," said my source. "That means a great deal."
Historian David Starkey echoed that sentiment when he told a reporter for The Daily Mail, "The Queen likes Meghan," adding she "immediately made [Meghan] and Harry ambassadors for the Commonwealth, which is the only thing the Queen really cares about."
First stop on the couple's South African tour was a visit to the Justice Desk in Nyanga township, which teaches children about building self-esteem, self-defense, and female empowerment. The Justice Desk is supported by The Queen's Commonwealth Trust, where Harry serves as president and Meghan as vice president.
The duchess already made headlines by making a speech in front of a crowd of local women and girls gathered to meet her and Harry. "May I just say that while I am here with my husband as a member of the royal family, I want you to know that for me I am here with you as a mother, as a wife, as a woman, as a woman of color, and as your sister," she said.
"Meghan is an expert at threading the needle," said my source. "She always manages to relate what she's doing back to her own experiences, but in this case, on this trip, it will likely be viewed quite favorably. In the end, the duchess knows the most important person to impress is the Queen." And for more on the Duke of Sussex, here are 30 Little Known Facts About Prince Harry That Will Make You Love Him Even More.
Diane Clehane is a New York-based journalist and author of Imagining Diana and Diana: The Secrets of Her Style.
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