Where was Meghan Markle?
That’s the question nobody seems to want to ask after President Donald Trump’s week-long state visit to the UK.
So let me ask it again: where was Meghan Markle?
She’s the only American in the British royal family, and the leader of HER country was here in her adopted country as a guest of Her Majesty the Queen.
Yet as virtually every other senior royal, including her husband Prince Harry, was seen on parade to welcome President Trump, there was no sign at all of the Duchess of Sussex.
She missed the state banquet, she missed the palace photo-ops, she missed all the D-Day commemoration ceremonies.
Meghan missed the state banquet, top, and the dinner at Winfield House, which provided many formal photo opportunities for the Trumps to pose with the royals
Instead, Meghan went M.I.A. and stayed back at her lavishly redecorated – at British tax-payer expense – home, Frogmore Cottage in Windsor.
Officially, the line trotted out to the media was that she was taking care of her baby Archie, who arrived a month ago.
But then, the moment Trump had gone, Meghan suddenly popped up at the Trooping of the Colour, in an open-top carriage, looking in radiant good health and with a permanently beaming grin.
So call me suspicious, but I don’t think her absence from Trump’s visit had anything to do with her baby, and everything to do with her dislike of her President.
And that, I’m afraid, is unacceptable.
It’s not part of the deal.
The state visit also allowed for many informal photo opportunities – including Trump toasting Prince Charles at dinner (left) and even Meghan’s husband Harry stepping up to engage Ivanka Trump in conversation
When someone like Meghan or Kate Middleton, as with Sarah Ferguson and Diana Spencer before them, signs up through marriage to life in the Royal Family, their life immediately rockets up into a state of unimaginable wealth and privilege.
It’s all chauffeur-driven expensive limos, helicopters, private jets, palaces, servants and enough diamond-encrusted tiaras to fill a dozen museums.
They become global superstars, feted by the world’s media and public alike.
Every newspaper, magazine, radio and TV network blasts their name with breathless excitement on a continuous loop of what is often unctuous sycophancy.
Yes it can be very intrusive, and yes they effectively abrogate any conventional sense of anonymity and privacy.
But most people, especially B-list actresses, would swap that downside for the staggeringly large upside of being a Princess.
And all that is required in return is that they behave in a way that is expected of them as a member of the royal family.
Top of the list of behavioral requirements is that they rock up for big royal events, looking a million dollars, smiling at all and sundry, and flashing a regular royal wave at their adoring fans.
And royal events don’t get a lot bigger than a state visit by the President of the United States.
In fact, there have only ever been three of them – for George W. Bush, Barack Obama and now Trump.
So this was a very big deal for the royals and for the President.
More than that, given the fact it was to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day, it was a very big deal for Britain and America.
It was a trip specifically intended to remember the astonishing feats of valor carried out by our joint armed forces on the beaches of Normandy.
The moment Trump had gone, Meghan suddenly popped up at the Trooping of the Colour, in an open-top carriage, looking in radiant good health and with a permanently beaming grin
So, I’m sorry, but bunking off at home is simply not an option for ANY senior member of the Royal Family.
Yet that’s what Meghan did.
And we all know why she did it – she hates Trump with a passion, and views him, as she once said on TV, as a ‘divisive misogynist.’
It’s an opinion she shares with all her liberal celebrity friends who attended her wedding, from the Clooneys and Oprah to Sir Elton John, Serena Williams and James Corden.
And my firm guess is that she deliberately snubbed Trump because she was absolutely terrified of being photographed with him and looking like she may be enjoying his company – rather than clubbing him over the head with a giant hammer.
For Meghan, hanging out with Trump would have brand-ruinous. In her eyes, she would have betrayed her liberal mates, and everything they stand for.
Of course, that attitude is entirely her prerogative.
But what is NOT her prerogative is to use that personal dislike of him to snub the state visit.
By doing so, she was not just giving the metaphorical bird to Trump, as she would have most definitely wanted to do, she was giving it to his host the Queen, her country who he is representing and the country whom she now represents.
Even worse, she was also giving it to all those who fought for our freedom and democracy on D-Day, and especially those who lost their lives.
This may not have been Meghan’s intention, but that was the effect of her refusal to be involved.
It was like she just couldn’t be bothered about them – such is her antipathy towards Donald Trump.
Well, I’ve got news for you Ms Markle: you’re in the firm now, and that means doing your duty when it is required.
The Queen has hosted all manner of ghastly people on state visits to the UK – from Vladimir Putin and Robert Mugabe to communist Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and wartime Emperor Hirohito of Japan. Not to mention the heads of countries like Saudi Arabia and China, whose deplorable human rights records make Trump look like a choirboy.
The Queen has hosted all manner of ghastly people on state visits to the UK – from Vladimir Putin (top right) to Robert Mugabe (top left), and many more besides
I’m sure she viewed most of these visitors with private revulsion.
But she understood that her personal feelings were of secondary important to the national interest of her country.
So she held her regal nose, forced a fixed smile, shook the blood-stained hands, made the cordial speeches, and made them all feel welcome as guests in Britain.
The Queen will have been helped on every occasion by many of her family, all of who know and understand that this fundamental duty absolutely overrides any individual sentiment.
It’s part of the deal.
As the only American among the royals, Meghan Markle should have been there to greet the President and his family on behalf of her fellow Americans.
By staying at home, then turning up all bright and cheerful the moment Trump left, she displayed a woefully selfish disregard for royal duty.