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  • Writer's pictureKate Halfpenny

Harry plays second fiddle in the Meghan show

Suddenly, I’m not annoyed by Meghan Markle and Prince Harry anymore. Watching their quasi-royal New York tour was the most fun I’ve had for ages.

The trip was ostensibly for Harry and Meghan to push platforms including vaccine equality and climate change awareness. So far, so serious. But from the motorcades to the private jet and cosplay (carrying I-mean-business folios into the UN!), it showed the Sussexes have become a spoof.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry with UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed at the UN headquarters in New York. CREDIT:AP They’re taking the most bemusing bits of fringe Euro-trash royalty – think Monaco’s Grimaldis, with their ringmaster beaux and runaway brides – and meshing them with their own vision of a California court. More than anything, the tour shone a beacon on how ridiculous the royal family actually is.

For decades, I’ve been sucked into pomp. Cue sound of screeching brakes. How can the royals be special to the point of being vessels of divine right if a former Deal or No Deal briefcase girl can infiltrate their gang, then discard it as below her aspirations?

The family has been commandeered by the world’s most powerful WAGs.

Like the sporting variety, Windsor WAGs Meghan and Kate Middleton were birthed into the public via vows then became so successfully autonomous they’ve grabbed leading roles.

The incredible Queen aside, the family is on magnetism struggle street. Andrew is an outcast. Earnest Edward is the sort you’d run from at the school trivia night. Charles wanted to be a tampon. Anne couldn’t care less, which makes her the best of the lot.

Their biggest drawcard is an import. Like Meghan, Kate is a commoner. Unlike Meghan, she’s a wife who seems happy with what she signed up for – untold wealth and a loving marriage in exchange for promoting and supporting the crown, not her own interests.

In New York, I barely noticed Harry except for the bit where he unbuttoned his business shirt and got on the bevs at a hotel bar with fellows who looked like middle management at Deloitte.

The duke and duchess tour of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York. CREDIT:AP

After his walk-on role as a juggler in Meghan’s 40th birthday video and the Time magazine cover shot – him laying his hands on his wife’s shoulders like a hairdresser asking if she’s happy with her blow wave – the duke may have peaked. Now that Meghan has the by-marriage clout herself to command audiences with mayors and 9/11 memorial photo ops, Harry is the sideman in her Evita pantomime. He smacks these days of Veep’s besotted factotum Gary, carrier of the makeup bag and potential future fall guy.

So, it was all eyes on the duchess, who gave her best performance since the Oprah interview. The message: I’m interviewing for the job I want, not the job I have. The clothes. All $125,000 worth. Fabulous understated cashmere coats, roll-neck knits and boot cut pants, accessorised with Princess Diana’s Cartier watch and casual glints of diamonds.

The fact that the outfits – reportedly chosen by the stylists behind Jennifer Aniston’s Morning Wars wardrobe, can’t take the girl out of Hollywood etc – were unsuitable for New York’s warmish weather says everything. For Meghan, it’s all about the optics. Her style drew comparisons to Michelle Obama. It looked more like she wanted to be a different Obama. My fellow Americans, I announce my candidacy.

A hark back to the Kennedys’ Camelot, Meghan’s white Valentino shift for the Citizen Live concert followed hot on the heels of fellow ruling WAG Kate showcasing her own pins (and big forehand) in a tennis skirt.

Kate had a hit with US Open champ Emma Raducanu before making her post-pandemic red carpet return at the premiere of No Time To Die in London.

And, wowser. Her diaphanous gold Jenny Packham gown and updo was just as much literal fashion as Meghan’s president chic: I’m the freaking future actual Queen.

Some think music while we wait for the Sussexes’ Netflix series: do the Windsors mind playing second fiddle to outsiders or does it take the heat off them to be entertaining?

Kate Halfpenny is a regular columnist at The Age

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