My children would be the first to tell you that I am not the most sentimental of mothers. But even I would have thought twice about leaving my firstborn at home at the tender age of just four months in order to fly 3,500 miles to watch Serena Williams play in the U.S. Open final.
Quite apart from the fact it would have been highly impractical (I was still breastfeeding), it would have been a huge emotional wrench.
Like many new mothers, I was completely obsessed with my baby. All I wanted to do, really, was spend hours on end gazing in awe at this tiny human — and wondering how on earth I was going to keep it alive.
My children would be the first to tell you that I am not the most sentimental of mothers. But even I would have thought twice about leaving my firstborn at home at the tender age of just four months, writes Sarah Vine. (Pictured: Meghan watching Serena Williams at Wimbledon this year)
Quite apart from the fact it would have been highly impractical (I was still breastfeeding), it would have been a huge emotional wrench, writes Sarah Vine. (Pictured: Meghan Markle and Prince Harry walk off the field before a baseball game)
Like many new mothers, I was completely obsessed with my baby, writes Sarah Vine. (Pictured: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle introduce baby Archie to the world in June this year)
But it wasn’t just the worry. There was also the fact of being so incredibly, cosmically exhausted.
Even if I had wanted to get a blow-dry, squeeze my puffy trotters into a pair of heels and hotfoot it Club Class across the Atlantic for a tennis match, I simply wouldn’t have had the energy.
It was all I could do at that point to get dressed before teatime, let alone traverse several time zones in shapewear.
So the Duchess of Sussex’s latest stunt is, for me, the most perplexing of them all. Especially given the utterly trivial nature of the trip. Because its not like she’s gone to visit a dying relative, is it? Or even a living relative (e.g. her father, Thomas, who still hasn’t clapped eyes on his youngest grandson).
Did Meghan really need to be in New York in person? I mean, I know she and Serena Williams are besties, and one must always support one’s friends, but surely she could just as well have cheered on her mate while horizontal on the Frogmore Cottage sofa (maybe with a cup of tea and Hobnob to hand), and the odd encouraging word on Instagram.
After all, that £2.4 million refurbishment must have included a decent wifi connection.
All I wanted to do, really, was spend hours on end gazing in awe at this tiny human — and wondering how on earth I was going to keep it alive, writes Sarah Vine. (Pictured: Meghan Markle meeting young people at a mental health project in New Zealand in October 2018)
But it wasn’t just the worry. There was also the fact of being so incredibly, cosmically exhausted, writes Sarah Vine. (Pictured: Meghan Markle with friends watching Serena Williams play tennis at the All England Lawn and Croquet Club)
It’s especially irrational given a) the amount of pontificating she and Prince Harry do about climate change and the evils of flying; and b) the fact that she and Harry apparently turned down an invitation to join the Queen and the rest of the Royal Family at Balmoral this summer.
On the former, I’m afraid she really doesn’t have a leg to stand on. On the latter, it’s just bad manners, not to mention undiplomatic and insensitive.
After all, Serena is no relation. The Queen, by contrast, is baby Archie’s great-grandmother, not to mention being in her 94th year.
It is not an unreasonable expectation that she might want to spend a little time with the new arrival. But no. The Duchess would far rather go to the U.S. Open than travel to Scotland to be with her in-laws.
And there, in a nutshell, you have the problem. Priorities.
The increasing tide of criticism aimed at Meghan has nothing to do with her nationality, or her heritage. It’s to do with the choices she is making, and what they say about her attitude to being a member of the Royal Family and, by extension, towards the British public.
Meghan Markle has flown to the US to watch friend Serena Williams (Pictured playing at the 2019 US Open Tennis Tournament in New York)
Quite simply, she still hasn’t made (nor does she seem to want to) the transition from Hollywood celebrity to royal consort.
Everything she does, from hiring endless PRs to ‘manage’ her image to accepting hospitality and private jets from the likes of show business A-listers such as Elton John, to the way she has been less than generous in sharing details about baby Archie, screams that truth.
Unlike the Duchess of Cambridge, who understands exactly the level of duty her role requires, and who seems perfectly happy and able to play her part while still retaining a degree of privacy, Meghan just doesn’t seem to get it. She cannot seem to shake off the lure of the bright lights.
On some level, it’s perfectly understandable. After all, when offered the choice between New York glamour and a midge-infested Aberdeenshire hillside, there aren’t many 38-year-olds who would choose the latter.
But the fact is, that is what Meghan signed up for when she left behind her life in Hollywood and married the nation’s favourite — or once-favourite — prince.
Because while being a member of the British Royal Family is undoubtably a great privilege, it is also, inevitably — a duty.
Once again, Meghan has failed to do hers, preferring instead to court the spotlight, flaunt her friendships with the rich and famous and generally act as though none of this means anything to her.
And she has done so at the expense of her new family, her Queen and her adoptive country. A country that very much wants to welcome her with open arms; but which, increasingly, is finding her behaviour rather tiresome.