Meghan Markle, You're Either A Royal Or You're Not -- You Can't Have It Both Ways
When Meghan Markle made the decision to marry Prince Harry, she paid a price. That price, was her privacy.
The 37-year-old may not have realised it at the beginning of her whirlwind relationship that quickly turned into a royal engagement and then a royal wedding. But I'd imagine she's realising it now.
Initially, the now Duchess of Sussex was happy to play along. She posed for royal photo calls, the earliest of which were her engagement photos where she smiled into the lens of the camera and held her new fiance close in her arms.
It didn't take long for Meghan to become loved and adored in a way she never had been before.
We pored over pictures of her and Harry.
We became swept up in their love story.
We were thrilled Harry was no longer the poor single Prince who was just looking for love. The engagement was followed by a string of royal commitments, again, all of which Meghan politely obliged to.
Meghan and Harry's wedding was then beamed into our living rooms. We were there, a part of the day and the spectacle as we drew parallels between our own special milestones and imagined how similar we must be to them.
That the royals are just like us.
Preachers talking a bit too much when you'd like them to get on with the formalities and page boys and flower girls acting silly and being pulled into line by their mother and minder, who just so happened to be the Duchess of Cambridge, Catherine.
A short time after, Harry and Meghan were in Australia for their royal tour. It was on this tour the speculation would begin that Meghan was pregnant and it wasn't long before it was confirmed as fact.
There was article after article marvelling at the way Meghan handled her royal duties so graciously. She spoke to people. She listened to their stories. She shook their hands. She posed for photos. Meghan was switched on. She was everything the public wanted her to be and more.
But then leading up to the the birth of her first child, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, the public tide began to turn. And if we've learned nothing from royals we've adored in the past, it's that it was bound to happen sooner or later.
It was earmarked by Meghan's decision to slowly but surely retreat from her now highly documented life. You might argue Meghan's life was always public and yes, of course it was. But being famous for being a Hollywood actress and being famous for being the Duchess of Sussex are two very different things.
These two beasts come with a different set of expectations and responsibilities.
And that's particularly true when you are being funded by the taxpayer dollar.
Yet despite this, suddenly, we didn't know every detail and decision made behind closed royal doors. Meghan would give birth in private and she would appear for a royal photo call after taking some time to get to know her newborn, an uncommon move for the royal family.
Rumbles of unrest were beginning and the public persona of Meghan was shifting. Yet much of it was pushed aside under the guise of her being a first-time mum. After all, she should be allowed to bond with her newborn in the way that she sees fit. That is still true.
Yet it was when Harry and Meghan made their most recent decision not to make the christening of their son a public affair that the mood completely flipped. In all honesty, the timing could not have been worse.
Harry and Meghan had only just used $3 million of taxpayer money to undertake an extensive renovation of Frogmore Cottage, the 19th-century estate they moved into last spring which is part of the royal family's Home Park in Windsor.
With that knowledge, the taxpayers were understandably not happy. A poll completed by the Daily Express newspaper found 82 per cent of respondents disagreed with the couple’s media blackout and their refusal to share who Archie's godparents are. And that's fair enough.
You can't expect the average tax payer to fund your home and lifestyle yet demand privacy when it comes to your family.
Part of a royal's job is to work in the areas of public and charitable service and help to strengthen national unity and stability.
Meghan's latest decision has become the real nail in the coffin. Last week, she made an appearance at Wimbledon to support her friend Serena Williams. Yet she was said to have made the request for the surrounding fans not to take pictures of her.
The no photo policy did not go down well, with fans calling her a "silly control freak" and noting that the officers expected to enforce the rule seemed "quite embarrassed" by the ban.
Meghan was swiftly criticised by Piers Morgan, a former friend of hers and host of Good Morning Britain. "A private capacity, at Wimbledon? This is so ridiculous," he said.
"It's rankly hypocritical and they're not private people, they're the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. We get to pay for their mansion, we get to do all of this."
He continued to scold her on Twitter, writing, "It's absurd for Ms Markle to demand privacy as she sits in the royal box on a publicly-funded jolly with her mates. If you want to be private, go back to America and live privately."
While Morgan's views are often shocking and a little off centre, in this instance I have to agree. And so do the British taxpayers who make up most of his audience.
Meghan is no longer a Hollywood actress on Suits. She can't hold up a metaphorical hand to her face, in the same way she might have when she a famous actress.
Her job is no longer to entertain behind the camera but to pander in front of it.
The Duchess of Sussex can put in as many protocols as she likes and demand all the privacy she wants. But it doesn't make this fact any less true: Meghan gave up her old life when she married Prince Harry. That means her privacy goes along with it.
Featured image: Getty