Meghan Markle has been in New York City since Friday to see friends and for her baby shower. It was initially reported that the baby shower took place yesterday. According to Tatler though, the shower is happening today around lunchtime at the penthouse at The Mark, co-hosted by Amal Clooney and Serena Williams. That penthouse is apparently the largest hotel penthouse in the US and goes for $75K a night. Serena is supposedly paying for it. 

Is it all starting to line up? 

Remember, a few days after PEOPLE Magazine’s cover story featuring five of Meghan’s friends speaking up anonymously on her behalf, Serena was sipping tea. And when George Clooney defended Meghan at the Winter TCA last week, I wondered in that post if, given the rollout, it’s possible that Amal is one of the five too.

Amal has yet to be seen so far during Royal Meghan’s New York Takeover. Meghan went out for lunch yesterday with Abigail Spencer and then in the evening she was seen with several friends, including Serena, out for dinner. This has been, as you can imagine, a big story in NYC. And a big story for American media outlets and photographers. Since UK media outlets weren’t given a heads-up about the trip though, well, they don’t have very many of their own reporters on the ground there. Once again, then, where Meghan is concerned, they’ve been scooped by US coverage. And it’s not like this has been a low-key trip. 

Meghan does not go out in London the way she’s been going out this week in New York. And I’m not sure this is unintentional. The Mark is a f-cking heatscore. It’s been a spectacle outside the hotel all week with paps and fans waiting outside for Meghan to step out, just as big of a spectacle, or even more, than the first Monday in May, the night of the Met Gala, because The Mark is where so many celebrities stay to get ready for the event. 

Before Prince Harry though, Meghan Markle was never invited to the Met Gala. I mean, sure, some people knew her from Suits but let’s not pretend she was #1 or #2 on the call sheet. Meghan Markle, before she started dating Prince Harry, was never, ever, ever this kind of draw. So this week, really, is the first time she’s ever done a celebrity-style New York City pap walk, like Rihanna or Jennifer Lawrence or Beyoncé. A royal walkabout? Sure. But a proper movie star flashbulb moment like this? Hasn’t happened until now. Please. Who would have cared before this? 

She doesn’t look like she minds. She looks like she’s living for it. And let’s be real – back when she was an actor, like almost every actor in the business, the proper movie star flashbulb moment is what she was looking for. The best part of all this is that she was expected to give up that life when she became royal, because it isn’t elegant, or whatever, to be seen like this, at least according to the fusty-ass pearl-clutchers who want things done A Certain Way, Their Way. And for a while there, it seemed like she would comply. 

I’m not sure we’re seeing much compliance from Royal Meghan lately. Which is what we’ve been building to over the last couple of months and the message she may have thrown down with her extreme belly-cupping in December at the British Fashion Awards. This is what I wrote at the time

Royal Meghan is flexing. 

And if she’s flexing, is this a sign that she’s fighting? Game on? 

She’ll never win playing their game because their game was designed to keep out people like her or control people like her. They set the rules, they move the goalposts. Are we seeing some defiance then? The knock on Meghan has always been that she’s too Hollywood, she was an actress, she’s not of their world. So, maybe, she’s leaning into her old world and dropping it on their doorstep. This is a Hollywood style counter attack. It’s a mic drop moment. It’s a classic celebrity red carpet upstage. And she leaned all the way into it. 

That may have been just the beginning. Because we now know that she’s since followed up with a classic celebrity insider PEOPLE Magazine story and doubled down with a New York girls’ trip takeover supported by people who are well outside the British royal establishment when some of the criticism about her in the UK press has been that she doesn’t play well with others. Well. She’s definitely playing now. For weeks now, the British media has been sounding the alarm that Meghan has been “playing with fire like Princess Diana” in the PR game. What they haven’t been able to appreciate is that  Meghan came into this with a lot more training and she was trained in HOLLYWOOD strategy with Hollywood allies. Diana felt alone, even though she had an inner circle, because that circle was still based in England. Meghan’s bringing a whole different set of tools and troops to this party while they’re still pulling the same moves they’ve been pulling for decades. So what now? The Morocco trip is coming up. Will they all play nice?