Meghan Markle accused of ‘mocking the Queen’ in ‘publicity stunt’ 40th birthday video

'Feisty' Meghan Markle missed out on Royal Family success

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Meghan Markle celebrates her 41st birthday on Thursday and the Duchess of Sussex is expected to receive well-wishes from members of the Royal Family. Following Meghan and Prince Harry’s return to the UK for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, reports of tensions between the Sussexes and the Firm resurfaced as the Duke and Duchess were hardly seen throughout the four-day weekend. However, much like last year, the Royal Family are unlikely to want to encourage speculation on Meghan’s birthday.

Prince William and his wife Kate, Duchess of Cambridge have already wished “a happy birthday to the Duchess of Sussex,” through a post on their joint Twitter account. 

Ahead of the Duchess’ 40th birthday, royal expert Phil Dampier told Sun Online: “I think it is likely they will send a public message through gritted teeth.”

While the family is not “obliged to give her messages on her birthday” they did so as “they don’t want to make it worse”.

Indeed, members of the family did wish Meghan a happy birthday last year — Princess Eugenie shared a post on Instagram, Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall also took to Instagram Stories to post a birthday shout-out to their daughter-in-law across the pond and Queen Elizabeth II’s official social media accounts shared a collage of three images of Meghan. 

But while the monarch wished her granddaughter-in-law a happy birthday, Meghan was accused of “mocking the Queen” in her own birthday message. 

To mark her 40th birthday, the Duchess shared a video with actress and comedian Melissa McCarthy.

The main purpose of the two-minute-long clip was to launch Meghan’s latest initiative — 40×40 — which aimed to support women returning to the workplace by asking mentors to give 40 minutes of their time.

While no list of mentors was ever published, celebrity friends of the Duchess took to social media to post about their involvement. The pals in high places included influential US politician Stacey Abrams, British Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful and Prince Harry’s cousin Princess Eugenie. 

However, the video was quickly branded a “publicity stunt” and a royal expert blasted Meghan for “mocking” the monarch. 

Angela Levin, author of ‘Harry: A Biography of a Prince’, took issue with Melissa’s choice of outfit.

After first appearing in a silk dressing gown, the actress changed into a formal dress, complete with large pearls, white gloves and a fascinator — an outfit befitting of a Royal Wedding guest. 

Melissa then sips tea from a bone china cup and saucer. Meghan later joins the actress in sipping a cup of tea from a small cup.

Commenting on this, Ms Levin wrote on Twitter: “Anyone else think that Meghan and her friend Melissa McCartney [sic] were mocking the Queen in the birthday video?

“Both holding old fashioned cup and saucer like Meg used in her blog after 1st meeting with Queen. Melissa sipping from the cup wearing fancy hat and gloves?”

She continued: “​​The mockery shows what she thinks of the Royal Family. 

“She’s got what she wanted and is confident she can outsmart us all.”

Meanwhile, Hannah Martin from the Talented Ladies Club claimed the 40×40 idea was a “publicity stunt”.

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She told MailOnline: “I’m sad to say that this also feels a little like a publicity stunt to me. On the face of it it’s a great gesture, but beyond galvanising 40 of her friends to offer their time, there’s no structure or advice for how anyone can actually participate.

“If Meghan is genuinely passionate about helping two million women back to work, it would be good to see more insights shared on what specific problems these women face, and proposed, concrete solutions that are followed through with on-the-ground action from the right people. 

“That really would be something to celebrate.”

However, a year after Meghan launched the scheme, no further updates have been made. 

In May, Ms Levin told Sun Online that the initiative had been “quietly dropped”.

And this week, Kinsey Schofield, a royal commentator and founder of ToDiForDaily.com, claimed that Meghan had gone “radio silent” following the initial video, telling the Daily Star that the campaign was “a bit of a bust”. 

Now, as she marks her 41st birthday, Meghan could use the spotlight on her as a way to promote causes close to her heart. 

Brand and reputation management expert Eric Schiffer has claimed that the former Hollywood actress may use the occasion to channel public attention on a cause close to her heart.

The California-based commentator told Express.co.uk: “She wouldn’t be the first to want to shed attention from her birthday onto the plight of others and that’s right out of her textbook today, that’s in her playbook.

“That’s a tactic that goes back centuries for those in positions of power to bequeath their spotlight to raise up others.”

He added: “So yes, I can see Meghan executing in that way.”

And Ms Schofield said: “If there is not a new initiative launched for Meghan’s birthday this year then I think it’s a clear indication that she wasn’t pleased with the results of last year.”

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