Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, is facing criticism over her recent 40th birthday video, which saw her launch a new initiative, with some calling it “fake and staged” and a brutal dig at the British royal family.
The initiative in question is called 40×40 and promotes supporting women who are trying to get back into the workforce after Covid-19. For her birthday, Meghan asked 40 of her closest friends to donate 40 minutes of their time towards the initiative.
However, the mother-of-two is now facing backlash for the comedic two-minute clip, which saw her sip tea and engage in light banter with American actress Melissa McCarthy while on video chat.
Royal biographer Angela Levin suggested that the video poked fun at Queen Elizabeth II and the royal family, writing on Twitter: “Anyone else think that Meghan and her friend Melissa McCarthy were mocking the Queen in the birthday video? Both holding old fashioned cup and saucer like Meghan used in her blog after first meeting with the Queen. Melissa sipping from the cup wearing fancy hat and gloves?
“The mockery shows what she thinks of the royal family. She’s got what she wanted and is confident she can outsmart us all. We just have to wait for Harry’s outpouring in his memoir.”
In the first 30 seconds, Melissa claims she’s working on her organic garden before realising her camera is actually on. “Hang on, I’ll be right back,” she says to the duchess, before coming back dressed in a floral dress, fascinator and gloves — a nod to Meghan’s former life as a royal.
Meanwhile, Australian journalist Sophie Walsh slammed the duchess’ initiative, saying on live television: “I love that she’s lecturing people about getting back to the workplace and she quit her job as a royal after less than two years.”
Twitter user @lexilex_26 agreed, commenting: “I just want to know what less of an hour of mentorship is going to do for these women in need.”
Meanwhile, @royal_analysis couldn’t help but point out how extra and staged the video looked, writing: “Everything about this is nuts. The million unsold copies of The Bench. The tea. The $1550 Hermes blanket displayed vertically on the desk. The informal tank dress and extremely formal pumps – at home! I could write a thesis.”
@AussieLacey agreed, commenting: “This is so fake and staged! Who has a home office like that without large desktop screens? The dog and the bed have clearly been plonked there, even he looks awks [awkward].”
However, others did enjoy the birthday clip, with Twitter user @PaganTrelawney writing: “There isn’t a single thing I don’t like about it. Simple, clean, luxury with a pop of colour….perfect!”