Meghan Markle was spotted in Texas where 19 schoolchildren were murdered – but the photos raise some uncomfortable questions.
Anyone remember the forget-me-nots? It was September 1, 2020 when photos emerged of newly minted Californians Harry and Meghan, Duke and Duchess of Sussex, planting forget-me-not seeds at a preschool in Los Angeles to mark the anniversary of his mother Diana, Princess of Wales celebrate ‘death.
We know all of this because the couple posted touching images from the outing, which showed them surrounded by young children as they planted a garden bed of the tragic princess’ favorite flowers, in an outing that almost groaned at such ponderous symbolism and pathos .
The same coming together of Meghan, camera lenses and other people’s children is in the headlines again after the 40-year-old mother of two flew three and a half hours from her home to visit Uvalde, Texas, where 19 schoolchildren were murdered earlier this week from a shooter.
“Meghan made the journey personally as a mother to personally offer her condolences and support to a community experiencing unimaginable grief.” personswho has a sly knack for getting Sussex’s insider scoops has reported.
That’s a line that might have been easier to swallow if she hadn’t decided to “express her condolences” right in front of the horde of photographers and cameras posted at a memorial to the young victims, and if her presence hadn’t immediately bounced around social media and news outlets.
Let me say, I have no doubt that her heart aches, like millions of other people in the United States and around the world, at the thought of such an unspeakable loss. What’s not up for debate is how real or how strong her feelings might be here. Not in the slightest.
What is deeply problematic, however, is that this trip looks horribly like an attempt to cash in on an unimaginable tragedy for its own PR gain.
The biggest question here is what Meghan thought would happen when she showed up in Texas? She’s far from a baby in the woods when it comes to understanding how the press works, and surely she must have known that her appearance in a small Texas town would always cause a media storm and turn out to be a big one Distraction would turn out to be the bigger problems in the game.
So why go? What did she think she could achieve if she went there?
This was not a moment in which Meghan’s presence could help highlight an overlooked issue or bring national media attention to a forgotten community.
It’s worth noting that President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden and other prominent Texas socialites like Mathew McConaughy, who has contemplated leaning towards the governorship, stayed away from the city in the immediate aftermath of the heinous killings. (It was announced on Friday that the Bidens would be traveling to Texas next Sunday to “mourn with the community.”)
There are countless generous and savvy ways Meghan could have used her reach and wealth to support the Uvalde community that didn’t require her to become the star of the show.
How about using a portion of the reported $140 million Netflix could pay the couple to make a sizable donation to any number of charities and organizations working on gun control reform?
Everytown is a “movement of moms, dads, students, survivors, educators, gun owners and concerned citizens” trying to deal with the scourge of gun violence — why not just give them a check and urge their supporters to take it to emulate them?
The question also arises, why now? Where was the Duchess last week when ten people were murdered in a racially motivated massacre at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York?
Before the devastating events in Uvalde, there were 26 school shootings in the United States that year. At no other time has gun violence been a concern that the humanitarian Duke and Duchess have spoken out about.
Then there’s the Netflix question. With page six After revealing last week that Harry and Meghan have agreed on what sounds a lot like a reality series (sorry, the correct nomenclature here is a Home with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex style docuseries) ), did the TV cameras travel with Meghan too?
Months from now, will we see tearful close-ups of Meghan as she recounts her heartbreaking mission of mercy to Ulvade? (At the time of writing, the Daily Mail has reported that it is “unclear” if the Duchess was accompanied by a crew from the streaming giant.)
On the face of it, Meghan’s visit looks very similar to that of Kate, Duchess of Cambridge in March 2021 to pay her respects to murdered wife Sarah Everard at the memorial, but if you look a little further that argument falls apart.
Most glaringly, the only pictures we have of Kate were those taken by the people in the crowd at the memorial with their cellphones, showing her laying flowers with her head bowed and on purpose.
There is now a smorgasbord of high-resolution footage of Meghan in Uvalde, thanks to the fact that the world’s largest photo agencies and news outlets were already in effect at the memorial she visited.
A video posted to social media reveals just how close Snappers got to the Duchess. Given that their chief of security, Alberto Alvarez, was on hand Daily Mailand certainly could have intervened here, the most obvious conclusion was that she had no problem with photographers getting so close.
(Another difference – Sarah Everard was abducted from a neighborhood just 15 minutes’ drive from the Cambridges’ residence at Kensington Palace, so Kate found it literally close to home.)
Also while in Texas, Meghan visited a local community center that was conducting a blood drive and where she donated food. “She didn’t want anyone to know who she was,” said one volunteer there post.
How plausible is that? She is one of the most famous people on the planet. Did she really think she could stop by without being recognized? She could also have had pallets of food and water delivered to the community center without ever having to go near the press.
The Sussexes have quite a track record of making their supposedly private moments public. In August 2020, they volunteered at a Baby2Baby event in Los Angeles, distributing back-to-school supplies and taking their own photographer to capture them helping.
Then, in November of that year, they hosted their own DIY Memorial Day service by laying flowers on two Commonwealth War graves in Los Angeles, with a professional snapper in tow.
Her own husband opened up about the complexities of grief last year, after saying of the mass outbursts of anxiety surrounding his mother’s death: “[I have]shown a tenth of the emotion that everyone else has shown: That was my mother — you never.” even met her. I was so angry about what happened to her and that there was no justice at all. Nothing came of it.”
As the saying goes, charity begins at home. In this case it might have been better if the charity had stayed at home too.
Daniela Elser is a royal expert and writer with over 15 years’ experience working with a range of Australia’s leading media outlets.