As mentioned yesterday, Meghan Markle’s baby shower was actually Wednesday and not Tuesday in New York City at the famed penthouse at The Mark. It was originally thought that the event, attended by friends, was being co-hosted by Serena Williams and Amal Clooney. Amal was there, seen arriving in a red jumpsuit, but it was Genevieve Hillis, Meghan’s friend from college, who was Serena’s partner. Serena was the one who apparently fronted the cost and, according to Harper’s Bazaar, Serena’s wedding planner, Jennifer Zabinski, coordinated the details.  

Meghan's party included an "amazing" flower-arranging lesson led by Lewis Miller, with the resulting creations donated to Repeat Roses. The organization supplies previously-used floral arrangements to facilities like hospitals, hospices, nursing homes, cancer treatment centers, and domestic abuse and homeless shelters, and ensures the arrangements are composted once they can no longer be enjoyed.

Michelin-star chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten supplied the food for the party; his restaurant, The Mark, is located at the hotel.

Like I said yesterday, it was a NYC takeover. Royal Meghan’s presence in New York has been the biggest celebrity story of the week and, as I also said yesterday, she’s never really had a celebrity moment in America on this scale before. Before Prince Harry, Meghan Markle was more like the People’s Choice Awards and not the Oscars. Now? It doesn’t get much more A list than Royal Meghan and she leaned all the way into that this week in the biggest flex of her newly acquired media power we’ve seen so far. With some influential support. We’ll get to Beyoncé in the next post. 

For now, I’m talking about Amal Clooney. It’s been revealed that while Amal did not co-host the baby shower with Serena, she was the one who flew Royal Meghan from London to New York and back again. They left together in a private jet last night to return to England. Which of course is what the British press is making a big deal over – the extravagance of the trip, even though they would love to be able to pin it all on Meghan spending the money. But this is also how Meghan’s shown us that impressive PR play. Over the last few days, it’s been made clear from the get, strategically, that Serena was paying for the hotel, that her travel was taken care of by other people, money matters put right on the table to preemptively head off any criticism about who’s money was being spent. In the absence of that kind of blame, the only move left for the UK media is to double down on the fact that Royal Meghan has really wealthy friends and is accustomed to an exclusive lifestyle while all the rest of us peasants have to rough it in our day-to-day. 

True…but not new. She’s a member of the royal family. Since when has the royal family not lived an exclusive lifestyle? When Prince William and Kate go to Mustique, that too is on the generosity of wealthy friends. (You can’t get to Mustique without an elevated baseline. There are no all-inclusives in Mustique.) And they too have been criticised in the past by the British media for their alleged excess and this is what the press is fomenting now around Meghan – it’s a familiar play that will certainly have consequences, their next bullet if you will. My point though is that Royal Meghan is not the ONLY member of the royal family who has access to luxury, but she is definitely the sole target of that criticism right now, even though Will and Kate happen to be on a ski holiday right now with the kids in the Alps and they too took a private jet to get there. With Meghan’s entry into the family though, the UK British media’s narrative has been to shift Kate over to the perfect angel position and characterise Meghan as the devil. So it’ll be interesting to see, with all of these headlines about Meghan’s trip, most of which she did not have to go out of pocket for, whether or not Will and Kate will get the same treatment for theirs. If security costs are the issue, the Cambridges are also spending on security on their holiday too, non? So if the situations are similar, and the biggest difference being that Will and Kate’s rich friends and associates are of the European establishment (read: much less American and “acceptably tasteful” because their money has been around longer) and Meghan’s rich friends are celebrities themselves with higher profiles, why the disparity in the coverage?