You'd think being royal is, largely, an easy job.

You shake hands relentlessly, drink tea ad nauseam, unveil plaques and pretend to be happy spending the day opening a regional recycling plant rather than curled up on the couch bingeing Stranger Things.

The reality is far more complicated, a fact Meghan, Duchess of Sussex is in the midst of finding out in the most brutal and public fashion, au reports.

In her first year of royal life, the woman formerly known as Meghan Markle has been assailed with criticism about everything from her couture habit, her nebulous and often convenient understanding of privacy to her Kardashian-esque baby shower.


The former Deal or No Deal briefcase girl is facing a new barrage of pique.

Here's the deal: This week she attended a polo match that Prince Harry was playing in, toting Wee Baby Archie to watch his Dad dominate a few chukkas. However, she's attracted the Twitterati's ire for both bringing her infant son along and the way she was holding him.

To give you but the briefest taste, here are a few:

"Megain needs to learn how to hold a baby it looks like she's holding a sack of potatoes."

"Meagan looks like she has never held that baby before!"

"Is it just me, or does Meghan hold her Baby weird? As if she doesn't want to use her hands …"

"Meghan brought Archie. So much for privacy, she will drag Archie around for attention now. She can't have the adorable Cambridge children upstage her. Ridiculous, vile woman."

"Bad press day means roll out archie. You can tell she isn't a hands on mother because she has no idea how to hold him."


It's time to give the girl a goddamn break.

Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex walk with their son Archie, at the Royal Charity Polo Day at Billingbear Polo Club, Wokingham, England. Photo / AP
Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex walk with their son Archie, at the Royal Charity Polo Day at Billingbear Polo Club, Wokingham, England. Photo / AP

For one, she's a new mother, in a strange country with none of her own family to hand. Navigating the first terrifying weeks and months of parenthood must be one of the most deeply challenging and scary moments for a woman, let alone one for whom vast swathes of the world are gleefully waiting for her to fail. (And, given the persistent, relatively credible constant speculation that the Sussexes and the Cambridges are feuding, it's not as if her sister-in-law Kate has been popping around to offer moral support and some sage motherly advice.)

Meghan has also been chastised for taking Archie out to attend an event that she knew numerous photographers and journalists would be attending. (The Telegraph even reports that the palace explicitly sent out invitations to the media to attend in a bid to drum up publicity for Harry and Wills' causes.)

On one hand, this particular line of attack has some merit. Media were barred from filming guests arriving and leaving Archie's christening last week, setting off a furore and a broader debate about what is the acceptable level of public intrusion into royal personal lives.

Yet Meghan was happy to have Archie photographed and filmed for hours on end. However, consider if the 37-year-old had decided not to bring Archie. It would have made her look overly precious about privacy in the wake of this week's Wimbledon brouhaha in which reports circulated that her protection officers had requested other patrons not photograph her and for whatever reason, a vast sea of empty seats were left around she and her friends.

The question of exposing her first child to the long lenses is clearly a deeply sensitive one, not only for herself, having enjoyed a normal childhood, but also Prince Harry, whose childhood was plagued by marauding packs of paparazzi. She clearly wants to enjoy the curious "normal" life of a royal, replete with days out at the polo with her family but also wants to protect her son. To be honest, I don't think there is a right answer here.

Prince Harry, right and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex with their son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor at Windsor Castle. Photo / AP
Prince Harry, right and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex with their son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor at Windsor Castle. Photo / AP

It's hard not to feel, at least to some degree, sorry for the Californian-native. In only 18 months she has gone from living in Canada and having a job to being a mother and wife in a country that is not her own.

Perhaps more significantly, she is trying (though perhaps not always succeeding) to chart her own course as a working royal.

On her wedding day, when she officially became an HRH, Meghan didn't just get a spiffy new title, she got lumped with a nation's expectation and the responsibility to meet the demands of an archaic institution whose rules and strictures are totally foreign to her.

It's worth keeping in mind that, while it might be hard to believe now, the newly minted Diana, Princess of Wales faced harsh criticism during her first years as a royal.

At this stage of her royal career, it would seem that Meghan just can't win, in terms of public opprobrium and opinion. Perhaps the bigger lesson here is, she can't and she never will.

It would be nearly impossible to meet the vast, demanding and often totally divergent expectations that the Brits, Americans, young and old, devoted monarchists and staunch republicans have about how she should behave, look and live.

Just for a second, imagine living a life where literally billions of people scrutinise your life and then often gleefully take to social media or the internet to let forth? That is a level of pressure that would make even the most formidable woman buckle.

And yet, Meghan hasn't.

While personally I think the Wimbledon incident and the way she and Harry handled the christening were missteps, let's remember that so far Meghan hasn't created the kind of embarassing publicity (who could forget Fergie's toe-sucking incident?) like some of her new family.

The challenge of how Meghan and Harry will negotiate the demands of royal life while also salvaging some skerrick of privacy, and not pissing off an entire nation in the process has yet to be solved. This is going to be a long and rocky road for the Sussexes, so buckle in.