Lest anyone remain in doubt, Meghan Markle’s latest interview makes one thing clear: This woman has nothing to say.
She has nothing to offer, no original thoughts or guiding philosophy, no earthly reason to be taking so much money from, and so much space in, the mainstream media she so clearly reviles.
You know, just as she reviles the British royal family, even as she clings to her title and accepts money from her father-in-law, the future king, who reportedly subsidized her and Harry’s $14.5 million mansion, purchased for their privacy.
Still, yet again, the Greta Garbo of Northern California sits for another major profile, this time for New York magazine. Forget the People’s Princess — now we’re saddled with the Petulant Princess, one whose preferred crown is perpetual victimhood. For the past three years she’s had a global platform, yet all she does with it is complain that she’s been censored, silenced, shut out. Meghan Markle has been a public downer longer than she was a working duchess. It’s long past time for a new talking point.
I must concede her lone accomplishment here: Just when you think Meghan Markle can’t get any more delusional, she outdoes herself. Her self-regard runs in direct opposition to her waning relevance. She clearly has no real friends left — or even decent publicists — because anyone with an iota of common sense would say, “You know, Meghan, it’s probably best not to compare yourself to Nelson Mandela.”
Reader, in this profile, Meghan Markle compares herself to Nelson Mandela. Settle in.
“I had just had Archie,” she says. “It was such a cruel chapter. I was scared to go out.”
But go out she did — alas, there’s no keeping Meghan Markle down — to a performance of “The Lion King.” After, a South African cast member, she says, “looked at me, and he’s just like light. He said, ‘I just need you to know: When you married into this family, we rejoiced in the streets the same we did when Mandela was freed from prison.’ ”
Oh, this piece is full of howlers. Enjoy it. Savor the details. Don’t read it with your mouth full.
Anyone who’s read Tom Bower’s recent book knows that Meghan is an inveterate liar. But here we have the duchess in her natural habitat — a soulless mansion, Meghan “backlit by the late-morning light in a scene that looks like a Nancy Meyers cinematic interior, Town & Country, Goop, and Architectural Digest had an orgy” — and this only frees her up to reveal her most authentically inauthentic self in all her resentful glory.
We begin with the “invisible” help lighting a scented candle from the members-only Soho House — the founder, Meghan says, a friend. Annual dues run a little over $4,000. But remember: even though she wants to be known as a humanitarian, a feminist and a renegade, what’s equally important are all the famous people she knows and the exclusive, rich-people-only places she has access to.
Meghan opens the interview with the most millennial of revelations: “Do you want to know a secret?” she asks. “I’m getting back . . . on Instagram.”
Stop the presses, indeed!
Or . . . not? Meghan doubles back on that bold announcement almost immediately: She’s not sure, she says. She might not. Lots to consider.
What those factors are, she cannot say.
Oh — and this moment: “At one point in our conversation,” writes Allison P. Davis, “instead of answering a question, she will suggest how I might transcribe the noises she’s making: ‘She’s making these guttural sounds, and I can’t quite articulate what it is she’s feeling in that moment because she has no word for it; she’s just moaning.’ ”
This might be the single most insane thing I’ve ever read in a celebrity profile. Truly, it’s Charlie Kaufman-esque: Meghan evincing such pain she’s non-verbal, yet verbalizing why she’s ostensibly non-verbal to her profiler, who Meghan says should tell us that Meghan doesn’t know what she’s feeling because Meghan told her, in Meghan’s own words, that there are no words for it.
It’s celebrity profile by way of Kafka, and it says something that the hundreds of reader comments on New York mag’s site — a self-selecting group of self-identified feminist social justice warriors — mostly proclaim her phony, delusional and vapid, if not an outright liar.
What will make Meghan happy? Hell if she knows. The only solace she finds from this existential torment, it seems, is sitting for fancy photo shoots and talking to friendly journalists.
“When the media has shaped the story around you,” Meghan whines, “it’s really nice to be able to tell your own story.”
Here’s something this self-styled brilliant mind seems to have missed: A little thing called social media has long allowed for unmediated, unfiltered communication between celebrities and the rest of us, the great unwashed who still, despite Meghan cawing and crying on Oprah, or among starving African children (“nobody asks if I’m OK”), or her new podcast (more on that later), still don’t get how hard it is to be Meghan Markle, unappreciated duchess in exile, transcendent representation of rare greatness.
Why won’t we all just adore her?
Gwyneth Paltrow, consider yourself dethroned. We have a new Queen of All Things Insufferable.
“One of the first things my husband saw when we walked around the house was those two palm trees,” she says, touring her grounds with our ink-stained wretch. “See how they’re connected at the bottom? He goes, ‘My love, it’s us.’ And now every day when Archie goes by [the trees], he says, ‘Hi Momma. Hi, Papa.’ ”
Archie is three.
Another thing about Archie, the toddler whose privacy necessitated fleeing the royal family like thieves in the night: Meghan teaches him that “salt and pepper are always passed together.”
Get it? Salt and pepper, white and black. It’s a none-too-subtle metaphor for her and Harry’s great love struggling to survive amid royal racism — even though the Queen fast-tracked Meghan into the fold as no royal bride before her, even though the British taxpayers happily spent over $40 million on their wedding and lined the streets to cheer on this modern American mixed-race divorcée.
But Meghan’s interlocutor does not ask about her and Harry’s disgraced attendance at the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, the public shunning from his family, the boos from the public. Nor is Meghan asked about Netflix’s reported impatience with her and Harry’s inability to produce content, despite two years and a $100 million deal. She doesn’t ask about Meghan’s frankly unbelievable claims that the royals didn’t care that she was suicidal. Or that royal staffers allegedly fled Meghan’s employ in droves and often in tears, or the claims that she bullied Kate Middleton’s toddler daughter, Charlotte, for not being the ultimate in small royal bridesmaids.
All omissions, I think, that rise to the level of journalistic malpractice. If there’s ever another Oprah sit-down, as has been rumored, Oprah — please! Do us all a public service and ask Meghan the tough questions.
Left to her own devices here, Meghan returns to her default mode, perseverating over the Queen’s refusal to give her and Harry everything they wanted: Namely, to monetize their royal status while owing nothing in public service.
“That, for whatever reason” — Meghan’s not saying race, but she kind of is — “is not something we were allowed to do, even though several other members of the family do that exact thing.”
Why do you think that is? Davis asks.
“Why do you think that is?” Meghan shoots back.
Davis presses for an answer, and Meghan, ever the C-list actress, shifts into soap-opera mode. “’I don’t know,’ she says, casting a knowing gaze out into the middle distance.”
Dear lord. How about the most logical answer, one I’m quite sure was explained to her ad nauseum: You don’t get something for nothing. Cut a few ribbons, shake a few hands, then luxuriate in your castles and your taxpayer millions and your access to the most famous and powerful people on the planet.
Now Meghan’s been reduced to just another hustler, here to promote her podcast — the product of a reported $25 million deal with Spotify, one that took nearly two years to generate a single episode.
And guess what it’s about?
“It’s like I’m finding — not finding my voice,” Meghan says. “I’ve had my voice for a long time, but being able to use it.”
Because if anyone’s been silenced as Nelson Mandela was, it’s Meghan Markle.
A note about that podcast: A lot of people listened to it, I know. I also firmly believe those ratings are the audio equivalent of rubbernecking. If the first episode — ostensibly an interview with Serena Williams — is reflective of the rest, this is really a podcast about Meghan Markle.
She leads with her oft-reported origin story of Feminist Meghan, standing up to corporate America as an 11-year-old (a story Tom Bower surgically took apart as false), then asks us to marvel at her longtime friendship with Williams and endure another tall tale in which the royals and their staff do not care that baby Archie almost burned to death in South Africa.
The conversation is everything one would expect, Meghan going on about her “lived experience” — is there any other kind? — her “dear, dear friend Serena,” and the “labels, boxes and archetypes” that women still suffer.
“Women” being proxy for Meghan, “archetypes” such as: Spoiled brat. Ungrateful. Delusional. Hypocrite.
Now, I will also admit that I didn’t think Markle could surpass the moment when, as a working royal, she spontaneously wrote inspirational messages — “you are strong,” “you are loved” — for sex workers. On bananas.
But here, we see a totally spontaneous and sugary everyday school pick-up — “She scoops [Archie] up in a big hug so full of genuine emotion that both close their eyes” — turn into a teachable moment about the homeless.
“At a stoplight, [Meghan] reaches into the trunk and produces a brand-new black backpack and hands it to her security detail to give to an unhoused man on the corner.”
Yes, young American royal-non-royal Archie: If you want to give some food to a starving homeless person — peanut-butter crackers and granola bars, no whole meals or cash or the like — have the help do it. No need to get near poverty and filth yourself.
And then back we go to the Montecito manse, where Meghan has another ready anecdote about the grand piano Tyler Perry gave her as a housewarming gift, instructing her to “write the soundtrack for your life,” she says.
Meghan winds down by returning to her other favorite subject, forgiveness. Even though she won’t forgive her father, whose main crime has been talking to the media, she wants the royal family to know that someday, maybe, she might forgive them.
She, of course, has nothing to be forgiven for. Why would one even ask?
“I think forgiveness is really important,” Meghan says, adding that she has “a lot to say until I don’t. Sometimes, as they say, the silent part is still part of the song.”
Meghan Markle, two very weary nations beg you: Please. Be that silent part.