COMMENT:

A strange emotion overcame me this morning: I actually felt sorry for Meghan Markle.

As I've made clear, perhaps too many times, I'm not a massive fan of my one-time friend after she rudely ghosted me since she met Prince Harry.

But when I read the vicious reaction to photos of her awkwardly carrying her new baby son Archie at a polo match, a surprising pang of sympathy welled up inside me.

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Meghan Markle is being mum-shamed for the way she held her newborn son Archie during the baby's first public outing. Photo / Getty Images
Meghan Markle is being mum-shamed for the way she held her newborn son Archie during the baby's first public outing. Photo / Getty Images

She's only been a mother for a few weeks.

It takes time, and a lot of trial and error, to get familiar with how to comfortably take care of a baby.

I'm sure there are plenty of similar pictures of me in the family archives having similar issues carrying my first-born son.

Critics claimed she appeared 'uncomfortable' and looked like she was going to 'drop' the newborn because of the way he was awkwardly positioned in her arms. Photo / Getty Images
Critics claimed she appeared 'uncomfortable' and looked like she was going to 'drop' the newborn because of the way he was awkwardly positioned in her arms. Photo / Getty Images

But by the time my daughter arrived, 20 years later, I could carry her like with the business-like elegance of Mary Poppins.

So I didn't share the gleeful abuse meted out to Meghan for not carrying Archie in a perfect manner.

In fact, I thought the attacks on her were mean-spirited and horrible.

t's not easy marrying into the Royal Family as Meghan is finding out. Photo / Getty Images
t's not easy marrying into the Royal Family as Meghan is finding out. Photo / Getty Images

"That's rich coming from you!" I hear you cry.

And yes, I guess it is a bit, given how critical I've been of her myself.

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But one of the reasons Meghan's become such a lightning rod to savage criticism is because she's made so many bad mistakes since joining the Royal Family, and irritated so many people in the process.

It's not easy marrying into the royals, as we saw with Fergie, Duchess of York, and Princess Diana.

It's not easy marrying into the Royal Family as Meghan, seen introducing baby Archie to Prince Philip and the Queen with Prince Harry and mom Doria, is finding out.

Meghan came under fire for demanding privacy at Wimbledon - a public event - and ordering people not to take photos of her. Photo / Getty Images
Meghan came under fire for demanding privacy at Wimbledon - a public event - and ordering people not to take photos of her. Photo / Getty Images

Your life changes dramatically, and the attention on your every move becomes incredibly intense.

But in return, you get the palaces, the servants, the glamorous parties, the endless freebies, and the potential adoration of millions around the world.

Meghan Markle clearly needs some help in how to make this transition, and who better to offer it than someone like me, who she once ironically turned to for advice on how to handle the media?

Controversial British TV host Piers Morgan is known for his strong views about Meghan Markle. Photo / Getty Images
Controversial British TV host Piers Morgan is known for his strong views about Meghan Markle. Photo / Getty Images

So here's my 10-point guide for Meghan on how to be a popular Princess:

1) Stop bleating about privacy

If you're out in public, among the public, you're a public person. Your ridiculous behavior at Wimbledon this week showed me you haven't understood that being a royal is very different to being a celebrity.

To have royal protection officers, that British taxpayers pay for, order people not to take photos as you sit watching the tennis in your free VIP seats with your friends was embarrassing and shameful - not least because neither person was taking photos of you!

The Queen has often demonstrated that the best form of royal duty is often the simplest - by shunning help, taking a spade and doing a few seconds of tree planting. Photo / Getty Images
The Queen has often demonstrated that the best form of royal duty is often the simplest - by shunning help, taking a spade and doing a few seconds of tree planting. Photo / Getty Images

2) Share, don't suppress, basic information about your life

It was utterly absurd for you and Harry to refuse to reveal details of where your son Archie was born, or to confirm the names of his godparents. It was also utterly pointless – the media will always find out eventually.

Nobody likes a two-faced control freak who wants to turn on and off the publicity tap when it suits her, especially when they're paying for much of your lavish lifestyle.

3) Stop showing off

We all know that royals lead lives of unimaginable wealth and luxury, but we don't want you to shove it down our throats. That $500,000 baby shower was utterly obscene, as is your unedifying habit of cadging lifts in private jets off your celebrity mates like the Clooneys, and parading around in seemingly limitless high-end, very expensive fashion items. You're not a Kardashian, so cool the ostentatious jets.

4) Don't take the p*ss

You may not be familiar with this British colloquial phrase, but it means don't push your painfully obvious sense of entitlement. It was bad enough that you and Harry, both multi-millionaires, made the public pay for the refurbishment to your vast home Frogmore Cottage (that had already been gifted to you by the Queen!)

But how the hell did you spend $3 million on it? Just outrageous extravagance, that got exactly the negative headlines it deserved.

5) Avoid being a hypocrite

On the same day you were living it up with your baby shower in New York, your Kensington Palace Twitter account was posting pleas for us to do more for poor people.
I mean, COME ON?!

And if you're going to persist in banging on about saving the planet on your Instagram page, maybe stop Harry taking helicopters for 100-mile car journeys hours just hours after he's made a speech about the vital need to help the environment?

6) Put your wokeness back to sleep

The reason the Queen, like her mother before her, is so beloved is that she never self-righteously lectures us on how to lead our lives. Nobody wants to hear your ultra-liberal entreaties, trust me.

When it comes to public utterances by the royals, less is most definitely more. As the Queen Mother once said about the secret of being a popular royal: 'Never complain, never explain, and rarely be heard speaking in public.'

7) Pack in your on-going PR campaign in the US media

Nothing is guaranteed to rile the UK media more than you constantly giving access favors to mates like Gayle King at CBS, or getting your American friends to brief about how wonderful you are to magazines like People - especially if you're banging on about privacy all the time back in Britain.

Harry may hate the UK media, for obvious reasons, but you should build bridges with them, not burn them to the ground. They will determine whether you get positive or negative press coverage.

8) Forego silly tokenism

We don't want to see our royals writing 'empowerment' messages on bananas for sex workers. It's patronizing, irritating and merely exposed the women concerned to ridicule.

All you need to do to help charities is turn up, shake hands, smile, empathize and listen. That's it. You don't need to try so hard to 'people please'. The Queen never does dumb stunts because she knows she doesn't need to.

9) Make peace with the Cambridges

Everyone knows you don't get on - the tense body language at yesterday's polo match said it all - but you have to try. William and Harry hold a very special place in the public's hearts because of what happened to their mother.

We don't like the idea of the boys, or their wives, feuding. So put some of your apparently insatiable energy for improving everybody else's wellbeing into fixing this running sore in your own backyard.

10) Plant trees, and do your duty

The Queen showed this week how the best form of royal duty is often the simplest. By shunning help, taking a spade and doing a few seconds of tree planting, she showed the world she's one of us at heart. It doesn't take much for a royal to win hearts and minds.

Her mother was revered for the next 60 years after she went and stood in the rubble of London's East End during the Nazi Luftwaffe blitz during World War 2. Oh, and next time a world leader you detest, like Donald Trump, comes into town, hold your nose and turn up to greet them. That's part of the job, too.

So, to summarize, Meghan: keep it simple, keep it humble, keep it sincere, keep it public in public, keep your moaning mouth shut - and the respect will come.