Let nobody doubt Meghan Markle's star power. The Duchess of Sussex created pure pandemonium in New York yesterday after arriving in the city to throw a "private" baby shower for 15 of her closest friends.
After news of her visit emerged, dozens of photographers attended every door of The Mark hotel on the Upper East Side, where Meghan was staying, hoping to get a peek of her or her invited guests.
Crush barriers were erected, crowds of gawkers formed and jumpy doormen spent a fractious morning ordering photographers to stop blocking the entrances and exits.
And then at about 1.15pm, out she came, all dark glasses, high drama and mystique, wrapped in a shawl, cradling her bump – and surrounded by no fewer than FIVE bodyguards.
She left in an SUV with tinted windows – like every other celebrity in town – bound for a destination which was as yet secret. Her security detail blocked the road so that she was not followed.
The secret didn't stay secret for long, however. A few minutes later she turned up at The Surrey hotel just around the corner, apparently bound for one of their private rooms, or salons.
It's a very foodie destination – chef Daniel Boulud is internationally famous. The Cafe Boulud in the hotel has a Michelin star, and its French menu was recently described as 'decadent' and mind-blowing'. Devotees rave about the peekytoe crab benedict, short rib sliders, and a prime dry-aged hamburger. The Surrey is famous for its fresh-baked madeleines, a traditional French scallop-shaped sponge cake.
Meghan has long been a fan of Boulud, and took her best pal Markus Anderson for lunch at the Cafe Boulud in Toronto soon after it emerged that she and Harry were an item. She had previously raved about the New York Cafe Boulud on her now-closed blog, The Tig.
This was to be, then, no ordinary baby shower, with its lame parlour games like 'guess the baby food' and trays of sandwiches, which is de rigeur among American mums-to-be.
This was a Meghan-style baby shower with international celebrities, Michelin-starred food and a thorough sprinkling of showbiz stardust. What else, truly, did anyone expect?
You have to wonder, though: can she really have hoped to celebrate the forthcoming arrival of baby Sussex – the seventh in line to the throne – in the heart of New York, without anyone noticing?
Meghan, 37, is believed to have flown the 3,500 miles to New York on a private jet on Friday. This was paid for privately rather than by taxpayers – meaning that it was most likely to have been funded by Prince Charles's Duchy money.
It is also possible that Prince Harry or a friend with deep pockets paid. The cost of flying transatlantic privately is around £100,000 return. Meghan is said to have flown with actress Priyanka Chopra, another close friend. Chopra, who lives in New York, recently married pop star Nick Jonas.
Also on the guest list at The Surrey was the duchess's Suits co-star Abigail Spencer, who arrived carrying a present in a blue bag from an independent New York bookstore. She had earlier been seen strolling in the city with the duchess. Then there was tennis player Serena Williams, who helped organise the do, and flew in from her home in Florida. It was Serena, a guest at Meghan and Harry's wedding last May, who set the rumour mill grinding when was seen recently enquiring about hosting a baby shower at another hotel, The Whitby – but they had an event on. Another close pal on the guest list was Canadian stylist Jessica Mulroney, who flew to New York from Toronto last week.
Mulroney, whose three children had roles at Meghan's wedding, and who went with her in an unofficial capacity on her tour of Australia last year, is both a friend and a style consultant for the duchess. She helped organise this celebration, which gossip suggests featured a souped-up version of afternoon tea and various baby shower parlour games.
Other guests are believed to have included fashion designer Misha Nonoo – who lives in New York and introduced Harry to Meghan – Lindsay Roth, Meghan's best friend from college days, and brand consultant Benita Litt.
The Duchess was out for around an hour-and-a-half before she was spotted heading back to The Mark, a hotel that, fortunately for her, prides itself on 'the utmost discretion for guests'.