Now that Meghan Markle is (mostly) safe tucked away in Los Angeles with Prince Harry and baby Archie, it’s easy to forget just how bad her treatment really was at the hands of UK media in the thick of it. But it was bad, y’all — and new Harry and Meghan biography Finding Freedom reminds us just how bad with a particularly heartbreaking anecdote from early in their relationship. While Harry was away and Meghan was in Canada, she wanted to get something small that would show Harry she was thinking of him, and settled on a sweet and simple gold necklace with the initials “M” and “H.” But when paparazzi tracked her down and photographed her in the necklace, the palace called Meghan up and suggested she stop “encouraging” the media by flaunting signs of their relationship.
Royal reporters Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, authors of Finding Freedom, describe the necklace in detail, a “newly purchased $300 Maya Brenner necklace” with “a delicate fourteen-carat-gold chain.” Notice the word “delicate” (which all Meghan’s jewelry tends to be!) — in other words, it would have been hard for her to flaunt even if she wanted to. How Scobie and Durand describe what happens next made our hearts hurt for the Duchess.
— SheKnows (@SheKnows) August 11, 2020
“Two days after Meghan was photographed buying flowers at her usual florist, wearing her new initial necklace, she received a phone call from a senior Kensington Palace aide,” the book recounts. “She was advised that wearing such a necklace only served to encourage the photographers to keep pursuing such images — and new headlines.”
Meghan hung up feeling “frustrated and emotional,” and quickly called a close friend.
“I can’t win,” she said. “They make out like I’m to blame for these pictures, that it looks like I’m encouraging them, that me even acknowledging the cameras may not be sending the right message.”
The day before, Meghan notes, she was being criticized for frowning in paparazzi photos — leaving her with truly no idea what was expected of her. And we can’t blame her! Meghan’s gesture in buying the necklace had certainly been warmly received by Harry, who flew directly from his Caribbean tour to come see her in one of his first romantic and royal protocol-breaking grand gestures. But the palace wasn’t tasked with keeping Harry happy; it was tasked with keeping his name out of the press.
It wasn’t ever Meghan’s fault that the media treated her as it did, and she should never have been shamed for their actions. If buying a tiny gold necklace is flaunting one’s relationship with a new royal, we’re sure we would have been guilty of “flaunting” it too.
Click here to see Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s complete relationship timeline.