From the moment we heard the story about 11-year-old Meghan Markle’s campaign to get Proctor & Gamble to stop running ads that depicted dishwashing as women’s work, we wanted our kids to look up to her. Little did we know that we would also wind up looking up to this actor-turned-duchess ourselves. But here we are on the occasion of Markle’s 39th birthday, thinking, yep we should be mothers more like her.
Markle’s first year as a mother to baby Archie has been full of ups and a lot of downs. Sure, she had more luxuries than we could imagine — all those nannies! trips around the globe! But they came at the price of relentless tabloids targeting her for anything from using the wrong stroller to, well, being a Black American. Rumors of tension with Prince Harry’s family were only rivaled by the awfulness of her own — lovely mom Doria Ragland excepted. That’s a lot to deal with on top of all the hard new mom stuff like figuring out breastfeeding and sleep-training and wondering whether you are the same person you used to be now that you have this tiny human being depending on you.
When we were looking back to find Meghan Markle’s “best” mom moments for this, we couldn’t put together a collection of doting quotes and gauzy Instagram shots, the way we would for any other celebrity mom. Instead, we relived her roller-coaster year and came out of it admiring her as much for the tough decisions she had to make — in particular, leaving that royal life behind — as for the moments we saw her making dreamy eyes at Archie. She is a fierce mama bear protecting her child from the world, no matter the cost.
We keep going back to that moment during her Africa tour when ITV’s Tom Bradby asked Markle a seemingly simple question: How is she doing? She spoke of the pressures of motherhood in the spotlight, but came the closest to tears when she concluded by saying, “Thank you for asking, because not many people have asked if I’m OK.”
That right there is a strong mother — one who can show us that it is OK to admit when things suck, because only then can she start to make it better, for the sake of her son and herself.