Meghan’s lavish party and the message she is sending with her baby shower


The American photographers probably couldn’t believe their luck, as the steady stream of baby gifts and celebrity friends just kept on coming outside the glitzy Mark Hotel in New York. 

The Duchess of Sussex was in town for her baby shower – and her friends had pulled out all the stops.

Every avid royal watcher has been lapping up the pictures and devouring details of the eye watering estimates of how much the event and her travel plans cost.

With a penthouse suite at “New York’s most boldly lavish hotel”, private jets and travel suitcases as party bags for the guests, money was no object when it came to this party.

I can already hear people saying “leave Meghan alone”, “it’s her money, it’s her friends’ money and they can spend it however they want”.

And they can.

But I’ve followed the Royal Family for four years and the scenes we saw in New York were unusual, and worthy of reflection, another way that Meghan is shaking things up and doing things her way.

It is an event that summed up the difference between Meghan’s previous showbiz life and her new reality as a member of the Royal Family.

If royals want to do things privately away from the cameras then they can.

They have security teams and advisers who can make that happen.

But this was the most public of private parties, with her friends, or some of those organising the event, leaking little tit-bits about the party to journalists.

The leaks were inevitably seen as an invitation to the press. With the Duchess back on home turf the US media didn’t pass up the invite and were having a field day.

What is interesting is that American television channels have criticised the British press for hounding Meghan, but in the UK there has never been a private event like this, where dozens of photographers and journalists have in essence “door stepped” the Duchess and her friends.

The accredited UK royal press pack has stuck to its allocated “fixed points” at well-publicised public engagements.

I have no doubt it will have raised a few eyebrows in the royal household, not least because of the reported cost.

Yes the Royal Family live a life of immense privilege, but they are careful not to appear ostentatious and are known to be pretty frugal.

We have a Queen who is often photographed with an ancient looking electric fire in her audience rooms, and a Prince of Wales who I was once told was reluctant to have his sofa re-covered when I found a rip in the side of one of the cushions at Clarence House.

While the cost of the baby shower was covered privately, do not forget how the Royal Family are funded and the cost to the British taxpayer is often part of the argument for getting rid of them.

It is not an argument that flows across the Atlantic because the American public do not pay for them.

They are simply admired as a high profile family with considerable showbiz sparkle.

We are looking at a clash of cultures when it comes to money. There are parts of British society who are rather squeamish about appearing to look flashy.

But for the American public this party was about Meghan and her largely self-made female friends, celebrating her pregnancy.

They have money and why not spend it on their friend.

Meghan has her own money, why not treat her friends for standing by her. Maybe that is something we should be celebrating?

As I head off to Morocco to cover their three-day visit this weekend, this is a pivotal time for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, with their baby due in just a matter of weeks.

As the Duchess of Sussex was repeatedly photographed coming and going from a hotel in New York it felt like she was sending a message.

Nine months after she got married she still wants the freedoms of her old life.

The perceived restrictions of being a member of this very British institution are not going to hold her back.

(c) Sky News 2019: Meghan’s lavish party and the message she is sending with her baby shower

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