When the Duchess of Sussex opted out of a Kensington Palace lunch with Trump, it didn’t appear to ruffle any feathers — after all, she was still on maternity leave. Now that she’s made a public appearance at Trooping of the Colour, however, Meghan Markle is being criticized for missing Trump’s UK state visit, with British journalist Piers Morgan calling it a “shameful failure of her royal duty” in a new piece for Daily Mail. He accused the Duchess of having “deliberately snubbed” Trump, acting based on her personal dislike for president and out of fear of what a photo with him would do for her “brand.” By allowing those feelings to influence which royal events she attends, Morgan contends, Meghan is shirking the expectations set for her as a member of the royal family. Here’s why that accusation is so insulting.
Morgan seems to take Meghan’s public appearance personally, claiming that she showed up in public “the moment Trump had gone” and that she was “in radiant good health” — something not usually noted about members of the royal family with such disdain. “I don’t think her absence from Trump’s visit had anything to do with her baby, and everything to do with her dislike of her President,” Morgan writes. “And we all know why she did it — she hates Trump with a passion, and views him, as she once said on TV, as a ‘divisive misogynist.’” Meghan’s personal distaste for Trump, Morgan claims, has no place in the mind of a royal. After all, he argues, the Queen has met with “all manner of ghastly people” over the years: leaders “whose deplorable human rights records make Trump look like a choirboy.” The rest of the family, Morgan argues, understands that “fundamental duty” overrides “individual sentiment” — and Meghan was being “woefully selfish” by failing to appear.
Let’s examine things from Meghan’s perspective. Meghan gave birth to baby Archie on May 6, less than a month before Trump’s UK visit. As far as we’re concerned, anyone who has given birth in the past month is given a pass on state events they don’t feel up to — and yes, even when that person is a member of the royal family. Then there’s the small fact of Trump calling Meghan “nasty” days before he was scheduled to meet the royal family, which seems to have made even Prince Harry feel uncomfortable meeting him. Finally, Morgan’s argument that Meghan should continue to participate in a practice (in this case, the practice of meeting foreign officials whose policies one finds reprehensible) simply because of tradition rings hollow.
Meghan has shown herself willing to flout royal tradition — not from a place of disrespect, but from a desire to usher in a new era. She refused to pose on the palace steps with baby Archie the day after giving birth, for example, and while traditionalists criticized it at the time, it was Meghan’s firm belief that she should not need to subject herself and her newborn to a photoshoot (in heels!) at that particular moment. Meghan may not be fulfilling the royal duties that Piers Morgan holds most dear, but she’s acting in the interest of herself and her family, and setting a wonderful example for young women who may be faced with “traditions” of their own they’d rather not uphold.
If Meghan Markle doesn’t want to sit down to lunch with Trump — weeks after the birth of her child, and after everything Trump’s said about women in the royal family — we’re perfectly fine with that decision. Morgan claims she should have been there “on behalf of her fellow Americans:” we can assure him not all Americans would agree.