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What should have been a day of celebration for any parent and family was once again marred by public criticism of Meghan Markle.
On Wednesday, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex shared a new video to celebrate their son Archie Mountbatten-Windsor’s first birthday. In the video, Markle read a children’s book to the curious toddler. The video was recorded as part of the Save With Stories initiative, a Save The Children campaign co-founded by actresses Jennifer Garner and Amy Adams, to help provide food and educational resources to children impacted by COVID-19.
While the new footage pleased excited royal fans who marvelled at Archie’s resemblance to his father and related to Markle when the babbling baby threw his book to the floor, others were less than kind.
Social media erupted in criticism towards Markle on everything from her appearance, her son’s clothing and perhaps the cruelest of all, her skills as a mother.
“No outfit for Archie’s birthday, plain diapers and onesie, no father allowed in [the] video, no family photo. Why? Because it’s the Meghan Markle show,” one person tweeted.
Author Emily Giffin, whose books include “Something Borrowed” and “Love the One You’re With” made headlines with her anti-Markle opinions. Giffin took to social media to share a text exchange between herself and a friend in which she called Markel “unmaternal” and “phony.”
“Adorable child and book, but holy ‘me first.’ This is the Meghan show,” Giffin wrote on Instagram. “Why didn’t she film and let Harry read? And why didn’t she take the moment at the end to say ‘he said daddy!’ Because that would make it about Harry for a split second. God forbid…also, you want privacy for your child so you put out a video (by your authorized biographer) of him ….wearing no pants?!”
The public reaction is another example of the ways in which the Sussexes (particularly Markle) are unfairly compared to the Cambridges and Kate Middleton’s abilities as a mother.
Hours after Archie’s birthday video was released, Kensington Palace announced the launch of a new photography project, “Hold Still.” Middleton, who serves as the royal patron of the National Portrait Gallery, invited people across the U.K. to submit photographs representing three different categories, “Helpers and Heroes,” “Your New Normal” and “Acts of Kindness” for the chance to be featured in an online exhibit.
The announcement included a media blitz from Middleton via videoconferencing, in which she revealed she was homeschooling Prince George and Princess Charlotte. The news coverage and subsequent public reaction encapsulated the public discourse that praises Middleton while vilifying Markle.
“These children look normal. Like they are loved and engaged,” one Middleton fan wrote regarding photos of the Cambridge children. “Archie doesn’t have this quality and it’s sad.”
“Congrats Kate. Yesterday was YOUR day,” wrote another person. “Meghan Markle with her surrogate born child was hard to watch. She feels no connection this baby, no eye contact, yanked back when he tried to escape & talked over him when he was babbling. Most moms would have engaged.”
“Such a natural appeal, without makeup or hairdressing...” one person commented about Middleton’s latest appearance. “It's not easy. children, husband and a work that they have in their hands is to continue their lives playing a role as Kings. They are silver and are undoubtedly the best for U.K.”
If anyone doubted the level of vitriol Markle has been forced to endure, the negativity hurled unfairly at the Duchess and mother, celebrating a milestone moment in her child’s life, is enough to put those doubts to rest.
Despite their decision to remove themselves as acting senior royals (meaning they no longer receive financial support from the royal family), it is evident that Markle and Prince Harry have yet to find the freedom from the public mistreatment they longed for.