Meghan Guest-Edited British Vogue’s September Issue (+ a Few Thoughts on the Recent Privacy Issues)

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Yesterday the Palace confirmed a rumor that’s been circulating for weeks – the Duchess of Sussex guest-edited British Vogue’s September Issue, using the platform to highlight causes she’s passionate about. According to the Sussexes’ Instagram post, the issue is called “Forces for Change” and includes such features as an interview between Meghan and former U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama, a conversation between the Duke of Sussex and Dr. Jane Goodall, and essays from people like Brené Brown and Jameela Jamil.

Getting royal women on the covers of fashion magazines is a coup for editors – Diana, Princess of Wales and the Princess Royal graced multiple covers during their heyday. More recently, to mark British Vogue’s centenary, the Duchess of Cambridge posted for a cover shoot in 2016.

Guest editing is a more recent tactic, but a tried and true one for the Windsors. Just last year, the Prince of Wales took the helm of an issue of Country Life to commemorate his 70th birthday, Kate took over for a day at Huffington Post in 2016, and Harry did so at BBC Radio 4 in 2017. It’s a solid way for both the royals and the publication to reach a fresh audience and use the royals’ profile to gain more exposure for their charitable endeavors.

What Meghan is doing definitely sounds a bit more involved – or at least more along the lines of what Charles did last year. Given that it’s British Vogue – and their September issue, no less – this may well be the most high-profile example of this sort of partnership. There’s been rumors circulating that Meghan may take on a standing gig with Vogue and pen a regular column, but TBD on that. If she did, it would certainly be an extension of her pre-royal work. She clearly enjoys writing as evidenced by her former lifestyle blog The Tig, and she has authored a few op-eds over the years on causes she’s passionate about.

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The Instagram announcement included a quote from Meghan:

“Guest editing the September issue of British Vogue has been rewarding, educational and inspiring. To deep dive into this process, working quietly behind the scenes for so many months, I am happy to now be able to share what we have created. A huge thanks to all of the friends who supported me in this endeavor, lending their time and energy to help within these pages and on the cover. Thank you for saying ‘Yes!’ – and to Edward [British Vogue Editor Edward Enniful], thank you for this wonderful opportunity.”

It’s been a rough couple of months of PR for Harry and Meghan, so this return to work I think will go a long way in dampening the negativity. In addition to the nonsense surrounding Archie Mountbatten-Windsor’s christening, there was a kerfuffle earlier this month about whether Meghan’s protection officers stopped people from taking photos of her while attending Wimbledon in a private capacity. Then, over this past weekend, news came out that staff told residents on the Windsor estate not to speak to the Sussexes or attempt to engage their son or dogs if they encountered them out and about.

All of this has played into a narrative that Harry and Meghan are being a bit weird about their privacy, and perhaps attempting too much to have their cake and eat it too. I have a few thoughts on this, but I’ll be honest that I’ve gone back and forth on the matter. The crux of the issue, I think, is that Harry and Meghan are new parents and they’re still finding their footing. Like I said at the time of the christening, William and Kate received this same criticism when Prince George and Princess Charlotte were young, and they’ve definitely established a better balance of late. Harry and Meghan will most likely get there too.

The Wimbledon issue was a weird one – it is, of course, rather ridiculous to attend Wimbledon as a member of the RF and demand privacy, however I don’t think that’s exactly what happened. From the looks of it, two individuals in close proximity were spoken to by protection officers, and though neither were actually taking photos of Meghan (one was taking a selfie), it looked aggressive and the officers intervened. They probably shouldn’t have, but we don’t necessarily know how that decision went down. There are also multiple pictures that show members of the public taking photos on their phones, and plenty of Meghan engaging with people sitting around her. So, frankly it was a weird story and remains a little murky.

The directive from the Palace re: the Windsor grounds is another snafu, but the Palace also confirmed that Harry and Meghan had no knowledge of the rules beforehand. People living and working on the estate are certainly used to seeing the royals and know better than to offer to babysit Archie (one of the points raised), but this could also be a case of staff being a tad too over-zealous.

From where I’m sitting, it sounds like the Sussexes and their staff need to have a state of the union talk because there’s only so much deniability the couple can have in these situations.

And I don’t know about you, but I’m hoping for a quick August and a return to normalcy in the autumn!

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