If you are a woman striving to be the Perfect Woman, these must be challenging times. At the start of the year, it was relatively simple - you copied Gwyneth Paltrow. There it was, the complete perfection package: beauty, success (on a couple of fronts) connectedness, children, marriage to someone high profile or, in her case two marriages (even better, because that speaks of personal growth), plus a perfect 10 body and domestic skills.
In case you'd forgotten, Gywneth is a published cookery writer – which you probably won't have, if you know anything about Perfect Womanhood.
Which brings us to Meghan Markle, who is currently the ultimate PW front runner and increasing her lead by the day. In fact, in the wake of the Australia tour (notably the banana bread incident when, should you need reminding, Meghan arrived at Australia House and asked to be shown the kitchen, the gluten free flour and the organic bananas, and promptly set about baking a cake to take to a local family the next day....) she has raised the bar so high that even Gwyneth is lagging behind.
Meghan, having entered the competition with all the necessary qualifications (bar the children, now being worked on) has set about steadily adding to the PW package. And, let's not forget, she is a duchess, married to the sixth in line to the throne, who also happens to be our favourite royal. So. We've got work to do.
For anyone thinking of giving it a go, here are the latest additions to the Perfect Womanhood checklist:
Making your own jam, loving baking, cultivating your own elderflower to make into cordial – sorry to say none of this quite cuts it any more. Being homespun now is a lifestyle choice: it's not being able to "visit" without taking a homemade gift. It's barefoot in the kitchen, hands on in the nursery, your mum being your best friend, and not having a single E number in your body.
Being a 99 per cent hands on Mother
The latest news is that MM will be employing the services of Super Nanny Connie as recommended by Amal Clooney (also a woman climbing the PW chart). The point about this particular nanny is she's less a baby minder than a parenting coach, the new PW rule being to distance yourself as far as possible from those high achieving 'Thank God For The Nanny' mummies.
Instead, Meghan will be present, and when she is not because she's off doing something for charity, she'll be leaning on her mother, Doria, who's been enrolled in a child rearing refresher course. Poor Doria, who was probably anticipating some light Sunday afternoon granny-watching, in a house full of staff. Unlucky.
Expert level yoga
You saw the pictures before the engagement was announced, and even your yoga teacher has been in the deep doldrums ever since. How to compete with that wheel, in white clinging yoga togs? Unbelievable.
Looking like a babe in the wood/defenceless faun
This is the new PW requirement. To be fair Gwyneth has had a go at this – it's her Daddy's Girl, freckle faced, denim shorts on the farm look which she deploys during selling cookery books season – but now Cute Conservative is the goal of the PW all year round. The most important aspect of this look is groomed, lustrous hair, and brunette beats blonde. It also requires a thick set of eyelashes to look up from.
Not saying the Gwyneth aspirers never had one of these, but the new PW is vocal about her causes and has, at the very least, a Ted talk under her belt or a foundation for refugees of war. It's part of the deal.
As we said, being perfect just got even harder.