Well, that explains it. Now we know why we haven’t seen much of the Duchess of Sussex lately. She’s clearly been working on a bit of a makeover. Having some me time. Investing in some self-care, as young people say.
Gone is the messy bun and the fresh-faced, just-stepped-off-the-yoga-mat Meghan.
In her place is a glossy, razor-sharp Duchess, all primed and plumped-up like she’s been dipped in double cream, rolled in cashmere and infused with 24-carat fabulousness.
She’s channelling Kim Kardashian, Gwyneth Paltrow and Michelle Obama.
Sexy but strong, independent, confident, uncompromising. As my daughter would say, she came to slay.
Now we know why we haven’t seen much of the Duchess of Sussex lately. She’s clearly been working on a bit of a makeover
Princess Diana had her ‘revenge dress’: this is a revenge makeover. Meghan’s back — and she’s not going anywhere any time soon. No coincidence, I’m sure, that she chose to resurface so close to the Coronation. She’s not coming — but she might as well be.
Meghan is many things, but she’s not stupid. She knows the power of a picture, and the reach of social media. She can do just as much damage to her in-laws from her garden swing in Montecito as she can from a seat in Westminster Abbey. Perhaps more.
It’s a nightmare for the Palace, of course. Especially since, inevitably, there will be more to come.
As well as the new look, we’ve had bonus footage of the Duke and Duchess fooling around at a basketball game, caught ‘unaware’ (yeah, right) on a ‘kiss cam’.
The message is loud and clear: while you’re all getting ready to dress up in moth-eaten old robes and perform some arcane ritual, we’re out here in the land of the free being all cool and spontaneous and modern.
No doubt they’ll be cooking up something special for the big day itself, which also happens to be Archie’s fourth birthday. An adorable tableau, perhaps, of Meghan and the kids in California, Zooming Harry back in dusty old London as he prepares to do his duty to King and father. There won’t be a dry eye on Twitter.
However, I can’t help welcoming this new Meghan.
Well, maybe not welcome her, exactly, but her emergence feels like something of a relief.
Meghan and Harry have tried to build themselves up by bringing the rest of the Royal Family down. It’s a toxic kind of success
I feel like we’re finally starting to see the real Duchess, that this laser-focused power player may be more authentic than the persona we Brits were served up when Prince Harry first introduced her to the world. Right from the start I had a sense that she was just playing the part of the carefree American breathing fresh air into a stale old institution. All that spontaneity seemed to have a whiff of artifice to it, as though she was trying to be what she thought we wanted her to be, rather than being herself.
Meghan’s slick, new look is more indicative of the person she really is: a highly ambitious woman who knows what she wants and is determined to get it, and who doesn’t enjoy being in the shade.
Ambition is admirable — but not when it’s at the expense of others. Meghan and Harry have tried to build themselves up by bringing the rest of the Royal Family down. It’s a toxic kind of success.
Let’s face it, Meghan was never going to put up with being second fiddle to the Princess of Wales, or anyone else. Maybe she didn’t think it through — or maybe she thought she could rewire the old place from the inside.
When it became clear that wasn’t possible, it was suddenly no more sunshine and rainbows.
The mask fell away and we saw the truth.
Bud trans row brews
Mulvaney, who identifies as a woman, announced the partnership with Bud Light on April 1
Sales of Bud Light have collapsed since the company signed a woke partnership with trans TikTok star Dylan Mulvaney, with rival beer brands up by the same amount.
Inevitably this has been interpreted as ‘transphobia’ — but it’s not, at least for me.
The issue with Mulvaney is that the version of femininity she represents is cliched to the point of being insulting.
All she ever seems to do is totter about in pointy shoes and squeal with excitement when she comes within 20 paces of a lipstick.
There’s more to being a woman than handbags and hairbands.
Why I’m dog tired
As part of my efforts to stave off decrepitude, I have embarked on a new regime. It involves walking the recommended 10,000 steps a day — roughly five miles. Boy, is it exhausting: the other day my son discovered me tucked up in bed at 8.30pm.
The one who’s really suffering, though, is poor Muffin, my Lhasa Apso. She’s more of a sofa dog, you see, and is somewhat on the small side.
Having always been enthusiastic at the sight of the lead, she now sinks back into her cushions, eyeing me with trepidation as if to say: ‘Really? Can’t we just take a turn around the block like we used to?’ Mad Englishwomen and dogs, eh?
It’s not just the bonkers VAT on luxury goods that’s putting tourists off coming to the UK. The price of everything else — from food to taxis — is mad, too.
In Italy recently, I was chatting to the lady who runs my parents’ local restaurant. She loves taking her grandchildren on trips and visited London just before Christmas. It practically bankrupted her and she said it was virtually impossible to get anywhere thanks to Sadiq Khan’s brilliant anti-traffic schemes.
Next year she’s taking them to Antigua: cheaper, plus it doesn’t rain all the time.
This column likes to pride itself on tackling the tough questions.
Which is why I must take issue with new research suggesting that Britain’s most dunkable biscuit is . . . the Jaffa Cake.
For a start, it’s not even a biscuit: the clue’s in the name.
Plus it’s covered in chocolate, and what kind of lunatic likes chocolate in their tea?
Talking of tea, why all the fuss over Twinings discontinuing its Lapsang Souchong blend? It’s the teabag of last resort, the equivalent of the orange crème at the bottom of the tin of Quality Street. Consign it to the compost bin of history!
So Diane Abbott sent her fateful letter to the Observer twice from her private email address — seemingly giving the lie to her claim it was ‘just a draft’. I suspect the truth is that she’s so blinkered by identity politics, she didn’t think what she was saying was offensive. It’s a classic case of ‘unconscious bias’ — and proof that not only white people get these things wrong.
Idiotic Virtue-Signalling Labour Policy No 327: boys will receive lessons in how to respect women and girls as part of the national curriculum.
First, the surefire way to make young people do the opposite of what you want them to do is to make it part of a PSHE lesson.
Second, if you really want to end the abuse of women and girls, there is a quick solution: block online access to hardcore porn.
Do that, Sir Keir, and you’ll even have my vote.
Joe Biden has announced he’s running for a second term as U.S. President. Seriously? The man can’t tell the difference between the All Blacks and the Black and Tans. Do we really want his shrivelled old finger on the nuclear button?
Poor Ed Sheeran, in court once again over allegations of plagiarism. He’s accused of ‘borrowing’ from the tune of Marvin Gaye’s 1973 Motown classic Let’s Get It On.
Given that all music these days is derivative, it seems unfair — then again, I suppose having pockets as deep as his might attract opportunists.
Maybe he should adopt the Diane Abbott defence: as a redhead, he might be able to claim discrimination. It’s worth a punt.
Poor Ed Sheeran, in court once again over allegations of plagiarism. He’s accused of ‘borrowing’ from the tune of Marvin Gaye’s 1973 Motown classic Let’s Get It On
Mattel has launched the first ever Down’s syndrome Barbie doll. I’m not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, the two girls with Down’s I know — one of whom was in my daughter’s class at school — would have been thrilled, I think.
On the other, this rebranding of Barbie as inclusive and empowering (the Barbie movie also comes out in July) sits awkwardly with the history of a doll that, more than any other, perpetrated stereotypes of slim, white blondes with perky breasts and pointy toes. I remain to be convinced.