Opinion

Prince Philip’s funeral: Let’s leave Meghan Markle out of it, shall we?

Toni Jaye Singer weighs in on the debate about the Duchess of Sussex missing out on this solemn event

16 April 2021 - 08:43 By Toni Jaye Singer
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, is expecting her second child, a daughter, with husband Prince Harry.
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, is expecting her second child, a daughter, with husband Prince Harry.
Image: Daniel Leal-Olivas/WPA Pool/Getty Images

“Oh, I see Meghan ‘conveniently’ got a sick note for Prince Philip’s funeral,” a colleague remarked when it was revealed the Duchess of Sussex would not be attending the sombre occasion this Saturday.

This was a reference to the fact it would have been the first time Meghan and hubby, Prince Harry, who are now based in California, would have come face-to-face with the British royal family since their explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey in March. Awkward.

Seriously awkward given that the pair spoke about everything from how Meghan’s requests for help after having suicidal thoughts were ignored by The Firm to “concerns” that were expressed about how dark their then unborn child, Archie’s, skin tone might be.

A Buckingham Palace spokesperson confirmed only Harry would be making the long-haul flight to attend the funeral in England because “the Duchess of Sussex has been advised by her physician not to travel”.

This seems entirely reasonable considering Meghan has a toddler to look after, is due to give birth to her second child in the next few months, and suffered the “almost unbearable grief” of having miscarriage last year. And don’t forget there’s a deadly global pandemic going on.

Of course, the news that Harry would be going solo spurred a load of stories in the press.

A source told People magazine Meghan had expressed her condolences to Queen Elizabeth, who “understands why she can’t travel at the moment”.

An insider told E! News the duchess “wishes” she could have been there and would have “put all the family tension aside” to support her husband had it not been for her doctor’s orders.

They said Harry wanted to “make sure” his wife and unborn daughter wouldn’t be “involved in stressful situations” for the sake of their health.

The Daily Mail quoted Meghan’s friends who said one of the reasons she wouldn’t be in attendance was that she didn’t “want to be the centre of attention”.

This comment has sparked controversy online.

If, like some of the duchess’s supporters, you believe  she said this, but did it with the best of intentions, let’s respect her wishes and say no more.

If, like some critics, you believe this statement was in itself a ploy to steal the spotlight, why are we even talking about Meghan? Aren’t we helping to make her the “centre of attention”?

Either way, let’s leave her out of Philip’s funeral, shall we?

Philip's funeral will take place on April 17 at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. Due to the pandemic, it will be an intimate affair in line with the British government’s Covid-19 regulations.