Thanks to a line in a recent interview, gossip is circulating about Meghan Markle’s next move — and it would send shockwaves around the world.
Take a good look at the photos that were taken, almost four years ago, of KateDuchess of Cambridge and MeghanDuchess of Sussex supposedly enjoying a day out at the Wimbledon women’s final together and you’ll notice something special. In all the photos, Meghan is wearing a Panama hat that she hasn’t put on once.
What you and I and everyone else brought up about “Slip, slop, limp” as an extremely wise move was, in fact, quite a faux pas, as hats are frowned upon in the royal box.
Either no one in the tenuous circles of royal life bothered to inform the new duchess of this particular rule, or she simply ignored aides and brought her hat anyway.
If ever there was a sign that the 21st century Cinderella story that was the Duchess of Sussex wasn’t going to turn out the way everyone had assumed, it was The Hat.
So if Meghan’s story never ended with only cartoon birds singing, if the fairytale was over before it began, if the limiting reality of royal life never became one she could or would submit to, where was she? ? she wants or hopes that it will end for her?
A theory that has gained renewed vigor in recent days: Washington DC
The question of Meghan’s possible political ambitions was revived last week
Meghan, hatless, took part in a conversation with famed feminist Gloria Steinem and journalist Jessica Yellin for Fashion on the recent horrific destruction of the US Supreme Court of Roe v Wade† who had held for 50 years that abortion was a constitutional right.
“Well Gloria, maybe it looks like you and I are going to DC together soon,” Meghan said in the chat.
During the weekend, Daily mail columnist Dan Wootton, a man who has never been shy about expressing his astringent views on the Sussexes, added new fuel to this fire, recalling: “a conversation I had in early 2019 with one of Meghan’s increasingly frustrated close aides like her relations within the royal family became more and more toxic.”
According to Wootton, the courtier told him, “I am now convinced that something bigger is going on here — an eventual plan where you go to an office in America.”
She is obsessed with American politics. I think we [the royal family] now just a stepping stone to something that she finds much more important and attractive.”
Aside from the sniffing suspicion and resentment in this courtier’s words, it’s fair to say that Meghan has never been a woman who has had much trouble with convention.
Would it really be that big of a jump if she were skewed in the office?
Fresh off the back of Megxit, in 2020, Meghan threw himself into the ‘get out the vote’ effort, participating in an online event hosted by the Michelle Obama nonprofit When All Women Vote and Unsolicited Voters.
“I know what it’s like to have a voice, and also what it’s like to feel voiceless,” Meghan says. Marie Claire† (Gosh, wonder what else she might be referring to?)
In September of that year she and her husband Prince Harry appeared together in a video encouraging Americans to go to the polls in what was widely read as an endorsement of Joe Biden for president.
At the time, a good friend of Meghan told me that Vanity Fair“One of the reasons she was so eager to give up her US citizenship was that she had the opportunity to go into politics. I think if Meghan and Harry ever gave up their titles, she would seriously consider running for president.”
Come 2021 and Biden’s election, and Meghan was still on it. When the Sussex caravan pulled into New York in September, the couple’s itinerary and appearance resembled a congressional campaign much more than a royal outburst. Gone was her California wardrobe cool and she wore tailored pants, $1800 turtlenecks and a neat bun as the duo walked in and out of key buildings like the UN and WHO, wearing leather folios, their faces in serious trouble mode.
In November, it was revealed through Politico that Meghan had taken up the paid parental leave case, cold-calling bewildered US senators who had no objection to throwing her under the bus in the media. (Senator Susan Collins said, “I was happy to talk to her. But I’m more interested in what the people of Maine tell me about it.”)
There are other indications that a foray into politics could be seriously on the Duchess’s radar, including the couple’s meeting with California Governor Gavin Newsom. A Democratic strategist told the Time at the time: “Everything she does is similar to what other people have done before running to the office.” They also said, “She’s definitely sticking her toe in the water.”
The question of how serious Meghan could be on a run is a tantalizing one.
After all, America is home to the second act and the US has already picked up two presidents who used their screen stardom to catapult them to the most powerful job in the world.
In addition to all this, Meghan, if she ends up as a senator (or better), would give one thing that has really eluded even now despite her wealth and title: true power of her own and on her own terms.
As royal biographer Tina Brown recently said during an interview with the Washington Post“As an actress, she was always number six on the call sheet… In essence, in Prince Harry, she also married number six on the call sheet.”
The pull of being number one on the Pope, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Beyonce’s call list would seem pretty good in that context.
The sacrifices Meghan and Harry would have to make if she truly had the desire to one day keep the nuclear codes would be immense.
Obviously they would have to give up their Sussex titles completely.
The mother of two can also say goodbye to the privacy she and Harry have created for themselves in their adopted hometown of Montecito.
Meghan should volunteer monthly for fundraisers, sucking up Democratic donors, shaking tens of thousands of hands, hugging strangers’ babies and posing for selfies.
The whole process, even before she got to the office, would be tiring, expensive and…
puts a target on her family’s backs in terms of the press, critics and the often poisonous miasma that is hordes of social media. Or really all the things the Sussexes left the UK to escape.
Harry and Meghan’s PaymastersMeanwhile, Netflix and Spotify would probably be less impressed if they suddenly turned their attention to a political campaign. Since the Duke and Duchess now have to collect their own bills, they need those hundreds of promised millions to keep the lights on and keep the Kombucha fountain running.
(As “a knowledgeable source” said Vanity Fair in 2020: “I don’t think she has any real political ambitions right now. But her ego knows no bounds, so maybe she’s holding the door open. But she can’t now because they are very focused on making money. Running for public office and making a fortune don’t mix.”)
This is all before we even think about the category five meltdown that a Meghan campaign would cause at Buckingham Palace†
But risks, like hats, are something Meghan clearly has a penchant for.
I’m sure it was pure coincidence then that when Meghan teamed up with Steinem in 2020 for a video to encourage people to vote, she chose to wear a particularly wide-brimmed Panama hat.
Daniela Elser is a royal pundit and writer with over 15 years experience working with a number of leading Australian media titles.
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