The last time Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, walked along Windsor Castle’s Long Walk, circumstances couldn’t have been different.
The sun was shining, the crowd cheered, and an actress from a mediocre cable drama had just married Prince Harry and joined the world’s most famous family, in the most outrageously beautiful Cinderella story in history.
In the early hours of Sunday morning, Meghan and husband Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, surprisingly returned to the Long Walk as they joined his brother and sister-in-law, William and Kate, the Prince and Princess of Wales, to enjoy the sea of floral tributes from left to left for their late and true great-grandmother, the Queen.
This was a scene that no one expected to see, perhaps ever; the two couples walked side by side as they presided over the kingship. In fact, the last time the foursome undertook anything similar was during the Sussexes’ final turn as working HRHs in March 2020. Their rictus sour faces and Meghan’s artificially plastered grin have long been legendary.
What a world of difference two and a little years and one Oprah interview can make.
When the doors of a sea of black Audis belonging to the royal family opened in Windsor on Sunday, it was not just the new prince and princess who showed up, but also the wholly unexpected Sussexes.
The inclusion of the Duke and Duchess was entirely thanks to William, with a source citing the… Telegraphthat the Prince of Wales had ‘invited’ the Sussexes because he ‘thought it was an important show of unity at an incredibly difficult time for the family’.
But despite the fact that some circles of the press are suddenly starting with words like “reconciliation” and the really worn-out “olive branch,” let’s all take it easy a little.
The times reported that “the [Wales and Sussex] camps required extensive behind-the-scenes pre-negotiations, delaying their arrival for the walkabout by 45 minutes.”
While crowds cheered for the couple from Montecito, and none of that annoying boos they were reported to get when they joined his family in St Paul’s in June for the platinum anniversary, the hundreds of footage and live TV footage couldn’t help but understand the clumsiness of the couple. whole affair.
It was only two weeks ago that a beautiful, confident Meghan appeared on the cover of New York’s the cut magazine dressed in countless chic designer outfits for another royal glove-throwing session. (I really need to count one day how many we are now.)
There was a Duchess who said to journalist Allison P. Davis, “Just by existing, we disrupted the dynamics of the hierarchy. So we say, ‘Okay, fine, let’s get out of here. Happy with’ and her with what sounded suspiciously like a threat of more disclosures with the line, ‘I can say anything. I have a lot to say until I don’t.”
Bold words indeed, but then it’s easy to give bold sound bites from the safety of a continent and an ocean away from her husband’s family.
O destiny, you can indeed be a cruel mistress.
Instead of the Sussexes enjoying everything they normally do on a weekend (make their own oat milk? Update their dream diaries? Ignore calls from Netflix executives wondering where all their shows could be given. Their huge check is already long settled?), Harry and Meghan are dumped back in the lion’s den. No one could have predicted that instead of spending this week giving self-involved speeches, they would be forced to come face to face with the people they so energetically and publicly attacked.
(I’d be tempted to say something about karma here, but I’ll abstain.)
Is it someone who, on Sunday in Windsor, made even Meghan, a professionally trained actress who has years of experience pretending for the cameras, looked decidedly uncomfortable?
Sure, the quartet all traveled together in the same SUV with William at the wheel, but as soon as they got out, the dynamic between them seemed undeniably awkward. Meghan fiddled with her hair and seemed to stay a little further away from the group at some points.
As the Waleses and Sussexes made their way to the waiting audience, the two women kept very far apart. Despite some early morning coffee-driven searching, I’ve been unable to find any indication that Kate and Meghan were actually in contact at any point during the roughly 40-minute outing. No wonder, perhaps, as the Duchess told Oprah and a worldwide audience of an estimated 50 million people how Kate allegedly made her cry.
To Harry and Meghan, the way the past few days have gone seems like a humiliating example of someone’s chickens coming home to roast, write on a global scale and with TV cameras constantly watching.
When news of Her Majesty’s declining health came out on Thursday, the Queen’s and William’s children rushed a private jet to her side in Scotland. Initially, it was announced that Harry and Meghan would also storm north.
The Daily Mails royal editor Rebecca English has reported that Buckingham Palace was “incredulous” when this news was announced.
“Charles told Harry it was not right or appropriate for Meghan to be in Balmoral at such a deeply sad time,” a source said. The sun. “It was made clear to him that Kate would not be going and that the number should really be limited to the immediate family. Charles made it very, very clear that Meghan wouldn’t be welcome.”
Within hours, only Harry flew to Scotland, with conflicting reports as to whether the Duke was offered a seat on the Royal Family’s plane. Harry was still in the air when the palace chose to release the news of the Queen’s passing. Barely 12 hours after arriving in Balmoral, he was seen on the return journey to Aberdeen airport to fly back to London on his own.
If Harry and Meghan had hoped that the post-summer period to return to work would be their time to shine, the events of the past few days have caused those plans to fall apart at lightning speed. This week’s episode of her Archetypes podcast has been postponed, while an appearance on Jimmy Fallon’s talk show after Her Majesty’s funeral has been canceled.
There’s no indication what Her Majesty’s death could mean for the release of Harry’s memoir, which is said to hit shelves by Christmas, or their debut Netflix series, which has alternatively been described as a “home” documentary. series and a ‘documentary’ about the ‘love story’ of the Duke and Duchess.
What is abundantly clear is that the ground beneath the Sussexes has shifted tectonically this week.
With the elevation of William and Kate to Prince and Princess of Wales, their tribe and seniority has risen stratospherically; meanwhile, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and their campaign of anti-Palace prime time rhetoric have never looked so thoughtless and short-sighted.
William’s decision to include Harry and Meghan in Sunday’s event is not only kind but smart – it makes him look like the bigger man, willing to put personal pain aside in a time of British mourning and in honor of their grandmother .
Harry and Meghan may be back in the royal fold due to sad circumstances, but it seems they are being tolerated.
What did someone ever say about their “existing… disrupting the dynamics of the hierarchy”? Precisely.
Daniela Elser is a royal pundit and writer with over 15 years experience working with a number of leading Australian media titles.