Meghan Markle Didn’t Mean to Jam Up Kate Middleton’s Big Return: Source

Meghan’s team reportedly didn’t set out to sabotage Kate. Plus, the very slimmed-down monarchy on the Buckingham Palace balcony, and lip-readers analyze the moving of royal mouths.Updated Jun. 16, 2024 11:05AM EDT / Published Jun. 16, 2024 8:21AM EDT exclusiveCailtin Ochs/ReutersSpread the wordAnger at Meghan Markle over Nacho Figueras’ big reveal of her newest American Riviera Orchard products just hours before the

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Meghan’s team reportedly didn’t set out to sabotage Kate. Plus, the very slimmed-down monarchy on the Buckingham Palace balcony, and lip-readers analyze the moving of royal mouths.

Tom Sykes

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Meghan Markle appears onstage at the 2src21 Global Citizen Live concert at Central Park in New York, U.S., September 25, 2src21.

Cailtin Ochs/Reuters

Spread the word

Anger at Meghan Markle over Nacho Figueras’ big reveal of her newest American Riviera Orchard products just hours before the Princess of Wales Kate Middleton made her big return to public life at Trooping the Color is not justified, Meghan’s camp believe.

Meghan was criticized on social media and by friends of Prince William and Kate over the post by Harry’s polo-playing pal, promoting a new flavor of ARO jam (raspberry) and ARO dog biscuits.

In a jam...

In a jam…

Instagram / Nacho Figueras

Critics suspected that Meghan’s fingerprints are all over the affair. However, The Daily Beast now understands from a source that Meghan did not order up the post from Figueras, and in fact had no input over when or if he would post.

Of course, ceding exact control over context and timings is an inherent risk in a user-led social media campaign, especially when your cheerleaders are powerful celebrities in their own right who might not react well to having their posts micro-managed.

As one marketing expert told The Daily Beast, “While I am sure the gift packages came with notes requesting social media coverage, you can’t tell Nacho Figueras what to do, so I think it’s certain the timing of his post was his own idea. The larger point here is that the American Riviera Orchard campaign has been phenomenally successful and cost Meghan nothing. It is a text book social media campaign. The only problem is that there still seems to be nothing actually for sale, so what is it all for? I guess we will find out.”

Is the slimmed-down monarchy too skinny?

King Charles’ wish for a slimmed-down royal family has been granted him by the dramatic exits of two families from royal life; the Yorks and the Sussexes. Many, of course, including Princess Anne who said so publicly, now think the slimming down has gone too far.

Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, Prince George, Prince William, Prince Louis, Princess Charlotte, Kate Middleton, King Charles, Queen Camilla, Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, Prince Edward, Lady Louise, and Princess Anne on the Buckingham Palace balcony.

From left to right: Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, Prince George, Prince William, Prince Louis, Princess Charlotte, Kate Middleton, King Charles, Queen Camilla, Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, Prince Edward, Lady Louise, and Princess Anne on the Buckingham Palace balcony.

Chris J. Ratcliffe/Reuters

Even with Kate’s show stopping appearance yesterday, the lack of royal bodies on the balcony was notable. Participation seemed to have been restricted to those who qualify as working royals, their children, and some of the peripheral figures from the older generation who still carry out some royal duties on behalf of the king such as the Gloucesters and the Kents.

The full balcony line-up yesterday: Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, Prince George, Prince William, Prince Louis, Princess Charlotte, Kate Middleton, King Charles, Queen Camilla, Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, Prince Edward, Lady Louise, Princess Anne, and the Duke of Kent.

You only have to go back as far as 2019, the last pre-pandemic year, to be astonished by the difference a change of reign makes.

Trooping The Color, 2src19 in London, England.

Trooping The Color, 2019 in London, England.

Chris Jackson/Getty Images

In 2019 the balcony line out included, deep breath: Prince William, Prince Louis, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Kate Middleton, Charles, Camilla, Princess Anne and her husband Sir Tim Laurence, Andrew, Beatrice, Eugenie, Prince Edward and Sophie, their daughter Louise and son James, Harry, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, James, Peter Philips, his then wife Autumn, their daughters Isla and Savannah Phillips, Lyla Gilman (a granddaughter of the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester) and Lady Helen Taylor (daughter of the Duke of Kent).

Go back to 2012, when Prince Philip was still alive, and you could almost hear the balcony groaning under the weight of major and minor royals waving to the crowds.

Trooping the Color 2src12

Trooping the Color 2012

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Charles always thought it gave a bad impression of a gigantic crowd of freeloaders, but anecdotal evidence suggests that the public rather liked the annual glimpse of the chaotic extended family.

Charles’ critics have long suspected an additional factor at play: he just wasn’t particularly keen on sharing the limelight.

The very slimmed-down monarchy visible on the Buckingham Palace balcony Saturday may be in line with Charles’ vision, but the royal family has never seemed smaller, even with Kate there.

Kate and William: the look of lurve

Kate commanded headlines for a number of reasons Saturday at Charles’ birthday parade—it marked the first time she had been seen in public since Dec. 25, 2023, and since she announced she had cancer in March.

Conspiracy theories, blurred photos, and a full palace PR crisis have swirled in recent months, and so her dramatic return to public life at Trooping the Color was a perfect moment to reset the royal narrative—and to reassure everyone, yes, it was her, and yes, she was doing OK… if not, as she put her in her clear and plainly expressed statement the day before, “out of the woods” yet.

Prince William, Prince of Wales and Catherine, Princess of Wales on the balcony during Trooping the Colour at Buckingham Palace on June 15, 2src24 in London, England.

Prince William and Catherine on the balcony on Saturday.

Chris Jackson/Getty Images

First, Kate was photographed in a car with her kids—Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis—heading into Buckingham Palace looking in some of those pictures (inevitably) tentative. Videos distributed by Kensington Palace showed them, William, and all the senior royals getting ready to attend the event, at the event, and chatting—particularly sweet was Kate gently touching daughter Princess Charlotte’s hair.

On the balcony itself, the royal family gathered, with cheers and goodwill for Kate and Charles, both receiving cancer treatment, particularly resonant. Another picture showed William and Kate as we rarely see them—looking adoringly into each other’s eyes. OK, we won’t get too Mills and Boon about it, but in a day of intense stage management, it seemed a cute moment, and for royal fans, something to celebrate alongside Kate’s return itself.

Loose lips

If you were hoping for stunning revelations from what the royals were saying to each other Saturday…well, it’s a mixed bag.

According to Nicola Hinckley in the Mirror, Charles said to Camilla in their carriage: “Oh dear, I don’t know why I’m feeling rather tearful.”

Then there was the moment Prince Louis became king of the bop. As he danced, big sis Charlotte appeared to say, according to Hinckley: “You have to stop doing that. Watch the parade,” to which Louis replied: “I won’t.” Charlotte seemed to say: “Do as you’re told,” to which Louis said: “Nope.”

Prince George of Wales, Prince William, Prince of Wales, Prince Louis of Wales, Princess Charlotte of Wales and Catherine, Princess of Wales during Trooping the Colour at Buckingham Palace on June 15, 2src24 in London, England.

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Prince George of Wales, Prince William, Prince Louis of Wales, Princess Charlotte of Wales and Catherine during Trooping the Colour on Saturday.

Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Lip reader Gaby Lane told The Sun that, as the Red Arrows flew over the palace, Kate said: “They have all dispersed.”

Louis shouted: “Papa, Papa, Papa, look at all that color!,” as William replied: “Yes!” Kate turned to Charles and said: “There are so many people!” Charles replied, “Yes.” Princess Charlotte told younger brother Louis to put his hands down. And, as the rain turned to blue skies, Charles told Camilla: “It’s brightening up.”

Going the distance

It’s the Royal Ascot horse races this week, and big cheeses in the racing industry are said to be quietly relived not just that Charles will be there but also that he is, more generally, honoring his mother Queen Elizabeth’s enthusiasm for the sport.

While he may never be as fanatical about the turf as his mother was, he is at least trying to build an interest, a report in the London Sunday Times says. He has taken to watching the birth of his foals at the royal stud on an iPad, and “tunes in to see all his runners on television.”

Nick Smith, director of racing and public affairs at Royal Ascot, told the Times: “Racing has never had and will never have a patron who was as passionate for such a long time as Queen Elizabeth II, and so there was anxiety about the transition. But to see the King and the Queen’s genuine engagement is fantastic.”

This week in royal history

On June 18, 2018, Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall’s daughter, Mia Tindall, was born. On June 19, 1999, Prince Edward married wife Sophie—so, happy 25th anniversary to them!

Mike Tindall and Mia Tindall with Zara Tindall and Lena Tindall attending the Easter Mattins Service at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle in Berkshire, Britain April 9, 2src23.

Mike Tindall and Mia Tindall with Zara Tindall and Lena Tindall attending the Easter Mattins Service at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle in Berkshire, Britain April 9, 2023.

Yui Mok/Pool via Reuters

Unanswered questions

What public events will Kate and Charles attend next, and when? When will Louis get a big-time Hollywood agent?

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