Meghan and Harry have released a beautiful new photo of little Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, but the story behind the picture speaks volumes.
Look, let’s get one – no, two things straight right now: Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor is absolutely adorable, and those red Spencer genes should be the biological equivalent of tungsten.
Early Tuesday morning, Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, posted a portrait of their daughter Lily taken on her first birthday on Saturday during a “laid-back, intimate backyard picnic at Frogmore Cottage” when the family returned to the UK. Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. A second black-and-white shot of a group of people, including Meghan and Lily, was also released. (Nothing says more about an “intimate” gathering than the subsequent release of pictures!)
Now these pictures of Lily are a kind of heartbreaking images and memories, whose parents value the world more than a treasure. And these are the kind of touching images and memories that parents all over the world are happy to keep in photo albums or perhaps share with loved ones.
But when did the Sussexes stick to the usual course?
The most obvious question to ask yourself here is why?
Harry and Meghan are no longer working members of the royal family, having long escaped from the royal cage, where it is hoped they will regularly share closely monitored snippets of their children’s lives with the public.
While they posted a video of Meghan reading a story to Archie on her first birthday in 2020 to raise money for charity, they’ve taken it their own way since then. For the little boy’s second birthday last year, they only released a photo of him holding balloons, taken from his back. (The same applies to their Christmas card from that year, which features them all as illustrations.)
By his third birthday last month, the Sussexes had released absolutely nothing. They also didn’t release any image when Lily was born last year.
Last December, they did share a Christmas picture of the family, but none of the children’s faces were visible in it.
It turns out that the Duke and Duchess made an eminently sensible decision to protect the privacy of their little ones and decided not to let prying media interfere with their children’s lives. Clever.
And now these photos of Lily.
The timing of their release is key to understanding this surprising change of tactics on the part of the Sussexes: the footage was taken just 24 hours after the family returned to the US after their icy journey home. (And it curiously resurfaced just hours after William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, posted a series of touching behind-the-scenes snaps of their children during the anniversary.)
Aside from Lily’s birthday, the four-day stay in the UK was nothing short of a PR disaster for the couple, who were sidelined by the royal family in the most humiliating and egregious way.
During Trooping the Color, the only Windsors they were seen with were Princess Anne’s grandchildren and the 86-year-old Duke of Kent. One report said that they were not invited to the ensuing family dinner, however, given the queen’s unfailingly polite nature, this is hard to believe.
When the couple arrived for a Thanksgiving service at St. Paul’s Cathedral the next day, the crowd outside cheered (there was applause). The situation really took an awkward turn when they got inside. The Queen could have offered to make a concession to their former lofty positions, allowing them to arrive in her own car instead of the bus given to her other grandchildren, and give them her own individual procession to their seats, but then all kindness abruptly ceased. .
The images of being led into the second row seats in the midst of a group of Class B and C Windsors, with Harry’s cousins Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie and their husbands having to get up to make way for them, were as shameful as they were shameful. they come.
Live cameras recorded that the couple literally and figuratively faded into the background.
They, like the rest of the parishioners, had to wait about 20 minutes for the first royal players to appear. When Prince Charles, as well as William and Kate, arrived, there were no reports suggesting that there was eye contact between them and the Sussexes. The ghost of Oprah Winfrey loomed inside a church designed by Christopher Wren.
Meghan may have kept a smile on her face from start to finish, and there may have been a few images of Harry laughing with his York cousins, but the couple’s tension and discomfort were as clear as daylight.
And then? Harry and Meghan disappeared from view. They did not attend any other commemorative events, although the courtiers would no doubt have been willing to coordinate so that they could attend without coming within close range of the Cambridges.
Then on Sunday, as tens of thousands gathered to line the route of the platinum pageant and the rest of the Queen’s family basked in the warm anniversary glow of the cheering crowd and the hiss of national pride, the Sussex family flew for the exit. countries.
Details that have surfaced since then only paint Sussex’s trip in a darker light.
They traveled, of course, in a private jet, a trip that would have cost them about $278,000. Sun. It turns out that they spent (assuming they personally paid the bill and it wasn’t a loan from a fellow billionaire) an estimated $69,500 a day to be publicly cold-blooded.
Then came another message from Sunclaiming that the Queen “forbade” the couple from taking the snapper with them when the 96-year-old first met her tiny namesake during a visit.
“Harry and Meghan wanted their photographer to capture the moment Lilibet met the Queen,” the insider said. “But they were told there was no chance. It was a personal family meeting.”
In short, it is very difficult to see how the Sussexes’ Great British Return can be viewed otherwise than as a disaster. No PR wins, family bonding, or unmissable Netflix shots at the bank (they didn’t bring any cameras with them), and all at the expense of their ego and possibly their bank account.
Which brings us to Tuesday’s images of Lily, which, given the events of previous days, are beginning to look like a fairly transparent attempt to fix the advertising ship and change the prevailing Sussex narrative from a shameful failure to “Oooh! BABY!’
Would we see these images if Harry and Meghan’s trip to the UK was an absolute success, all the rave coverage and flattering opinions? Had they come out looking like bigger people, ready to overlook the palace’s alleged multiple sins of institutional racism and cruelty, to celebrate his grandmother’s big moment?
At the very least, both Lilibets looked like they were having an amazing time the last few days. Although when, if ever, they will again find themselves in the same country is a completely different question …
Daniela Elser is a royal expert and writer with over 15 years of experience working with a range of leading Australian media outlets.