Lip-Reading and Fashion Criticism: Meghan’s U.K. Trip Under Scrutiny

Meghan and Prince Harry accompany Prince William and Catherine to watch the public’s tribute to the late Queen Elizabeth II, outside Windsor Castle in England on Saturday, September 10, 2022. (Mary Turner / The New York Times)

LONDON – All of Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, put on a gloomy dress and sympathetic expression and walked around in public with three other people for 45 minutes. But pointillistic armchair analysis of that brief incident – a surprise walk outside Windsor Castle last Saturday involving Meghan and her husband, Prince Harry, and Prince William and his wife – has since gone on.

This event, for those following this particular saga, represents a brief culmination, or perhaps a final thaw, in the coolness and hostility that developed between the Prince and Princess of Wales (William and Kate) and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. represents. (Harry and Meghan) over the years.

Thrown, or perhaps pushed, into shared mourning following the death of Harry and William’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, the four came together for the first time in more than a year to express their gratitude to the crowd, with bouquets of flowers Praised the Queen and demonstrate that they were able to exist in the same common place without seeming hostile to each other.

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From the moment Meghan appeared in public and in the days since, Meghan-watchers in newspapers and on social media have analyzed the video of the incident as if it were filmed by Zapruder herself, who was instant lip-reader, Body The language had changed. Analyst, fashion critic and protocol expert in service of the never-ending 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 slim skirt)? Did Kate reprimand Meghan by not seeing her clearly, talking to her or acknowledging her? Was it true, as someone claimed on TikTok, that Meghan tried to outdo the others in the field of flowers, only to remind Harry of “royal protocol for William and Kate to come through flowers? holding her hand back to give the “first?”

Opinions about Meghan vary widely, and with the facts thin on the ground, reactions to such events reflect deeply captured and deep feelings. So some people reported on social media that a happy murmur broke out in the crowd in Windsor when they saw the couple together; Others said the opposite, declaring that while some mourners were excited to see William, Kate and Harry actively oppose Meghan’s presence. Various topics were trending on Twitter: #Meghan (mixed views but with a healthy pro-Meghan crew) and #MeghanMarkleGoHome (self-explanatory).

Similar strong and mostly fact-free conversations began on Wednesday after the two couples left a service at Westminster Hall following the arrival of the Queen’s coffin along with other members of the royal family. Unlike other royal couples, Harry and Meghan walked out holding hands. An argument ensued: were they acting disrespectfully like “loving teens” or was it okay to hold hands with their spouse while leaving a gloomy occasion?

It turns out, too, that another pair — Princess Anne’s daughter, Zara, and her husband, Mike Tindall — also got in the way, which added an element of confusion to the issue. As Meghan’s fans have long pointed out, she is often attacked in hostile tabloids and on social media for doing exactly the same things that other royals, especially Kate, have been praised for.

In the United States, where they moved after stepping down from royal duties in 2020 (“Megxit”), Meghan and Harry are working diligently to raise their two children and transform themselves into celebrities and influencers. There have been — that is, American-style royals — with a great Netflix deal and a number of charity and business ventures. They have given high-profile speeches at places like the United Nations (Harry), started a podcast series of interviews with famous guests (Meghan), brought cameras to record them as they do charity work, and mental Speak publicly about issues like health and how they feel betrayed and abused by Harry’s family.

They are collaborating on a memoir that will be a candid description of who they say they are and how they feel, with lots of details about their fall with the royal family and their uneasy departure from Britain.

When Elizabeth died last week, the couple were already in Britain on the receiving end of what The Daily Mail had ridiculed as a “pseudo-royal tour”, and The Times of London mercilessly described it as “a mini freelance Royal Tour”.

Newspapers nonetheless noted their own arguments, though mostly negative, with Meghan and Harry clearly accusing her of drawing attention during the visit. “For those of us who have had more than enough 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 went on a trip to Balmoral in Scotland. Some reports have said, without verifiable allegations, that he was ordered to leave Meghan behind so that the rest of the family would not be disturbed. Harry stayed briefly before returning to his wife. Things stood until they accepted an invitation to hang out with William, Kate, the crowd and a bunch of cameras at Windsor.

Alas, we may never know the truth behind it. We’ll never know, for example, 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 “Bombshell text” was sent. His brother spelled out the terms of the proposed joint appearance, the newspaper reported on Sunday.

The Mirror tabloid followed an anti-Meghan party line in reports that some in the crowd refused to shake her hand and, in one case, donned a pair of sunglasses in response to her arrival. According to the paper’s analysis of a video of the incident, another woman “gave a stinky eye to the Duchess of Sussex before laughing” in her usual direction.

Meanwhile, commentator and controversialist Piers Morgan, an obsessive close observer and relentless critic of Meghan, inevitably woke up with his usual brilliant thoughts.

“Harry, if you really want to go to the New York Post” and on the Fox News website, he wrote, “don’t be misled by the alleged hat-trick-burial scenes between William and his brother over the weekend.” Honor your dad, nix your salacious tell-all and rein in your royals-trashing wife.

To which one reader replied on Twitter: “‘Rein on your wife’…?! What is this, Middle Ages?!!!”

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