Ice packs and pastels might not sound like they have much in common but there is a good chance that Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, is thinking a lot about these two things right now.

The ice pack because she just gave birth and one's, let's just say undercarriage, is very, very sore after the whole ordeal of pushing out a human. Nothing provides speedier relief than an icy something from the freezer applied directly on said area.

And the pastels? Well, that's because Meghan has only a matter of weeks before she will most likely be expected to take a break from her maternity leave.

Specifically, to gamely don some sort of pretty frock for a full day of waving and high-powered military jet flyovers, aka the Trooping of the Colour, which marks the Queen's official birthday. (Her actual big day is April 21).


Despite the fact Meghan has been a mother for a period that can be measured in hours, it is widely believed that come June 8, she will be on the Buckingham Palace balcony, waving and smiling with the appropriate level of gusto (which is medium) alongside the rest of the extended Windsor clan.

And that has got to be weighing on Meghan right now because it is not only a huge physical but emotional (and practical) ask.

Labour and birth are perhaps the most painful and damaging experiences a (healthy) woman's body will ever undergo.

Despite the fact Meghan has a full month before she is expected to report for royal duty, when she takes her place to wave to the masses, hat just so, on the Buckingham Palace balcony, her body will still be in the midst of incredible upheaval and yet she will have to pretend that everything is fine and her breastmilk isn't threatening to leak through $7000-worth of Givenchy silk at any minute.

Not only will she have to contend with the psychological and emotional toll. She will be expected to leave her precious baby with someone else (most likely her mum, Doria Ragland) for longer than she has since his arrival in the world.

The body she has happily known for 37 years is gone and has been replaced with a totally new form. No woman is immune to feeling insecure about her body at this point in time.

Meghan is not alone in being subjected to this regal ordeal.

In 2015, Kate had a comparatively charmed 44 days between the birth of Princess Charlotte before she was expected to front up to Buckingham Palace, spruced up and with her best royal game face on.


Last year, she must have been overjoyed to have 47 days after the birth of Prince Louis before she had to delve into her vast Alexander McQueen collection to find an appropriately pastel get up.

Kate Middleton in baby blue just weeks after giving birth to Prince Louis last year. Photo / Getty
Kate Middleton in baby blue just weeks after giving birth to Prince Louis last year. Photo / Getty

The royal family, like any vast corporate outfit, has a long and very unfortunate tradition of refusing to make any concessions towards new mums, and playing stoically ignorant. Not even some demanding corporate behemoth would surely expect any of their new mums to return from maternity leave after such a short amount of time.

My biggest hope here is that Meghan says, "No". No to pretending that her body and mind haven't just undergone a seismic shift.

No to spending hours getting her hair done and having a dress fitted when she could be spending it doing glorious things like sleeping or sleeping.

No to going along with perpetuating the deceit that EVERYTHING IS FINE.

No to temporarily sacrificing her own wellbeing to meet the expectations of a creaky institution that can trace their lineage back to William the Conqueror.

Yes, being royal comes with duties and expectations, but they shouldn't come at such a bodily cost.

Instead I hope that this year, Meghan says yes to staying on the couch on June 8 and eating a frozen Bounty Bar while she watches the Trooping of the Colour on the tele. And yes to her trusty ice pack.