Did Meghan try to upstage the Cambridges with this “unauthorized” photo of her and Archie?

It looks like the answer is yes.

It’s common practice that members of the British Royal Family release new or previously unseen photos of themselves the day before birthdays, big anniversaries, Mother’s/Father’s Day, etc. This is done the day before the actual day (usually the evening before) so that the UK papers have time to publish the photo on the front page of the next day’s paper. It gives the media and the public a nice photo to ooh and ahh over, and it gives members of the royal family a bit of control over how they share aspects of their personal life while still feeling accessible to the people.

April 23 was the third birthday of Prince Louis of Cambridge, Will and Kate’s third child. The evening before, as expected, Kensington Palace released a birthday portrait of Prince Louis:

It’s a very cute picture! It also reveals the detail that Prince Louis has just started nursery, which I believe is British-speak for preschool. Louis is riding a balance bike from Frog Bike, which is a British-made, environmentally friendly bicycle company. Balance bikes don’t have pedals and are used to teach children proper balance so they will be able to ride a real bike down the line. So, with not that much effort and not by saying anything out loud, this photo has given us the following information:

  • Prince Louis is cute (obvious).
  • Prince Louis just started nursery.
  • Will and Kate are helping Louis develop his balancing skills so that he’ll be able to ride a real bike soon.
  • Will and Kate support British-made companies and environmentally friendly companies, two things that are important to them, without bashing you over the head about it. (The day the photo was released, was World Earth Day, so the environmental focus is particularly poignant.)

Within the same 30 minutes of the Cambridges releasing Prince Louis’ birthday portrait, Page Six had posted a story with pictures of Meghan and Archie that had been taken that week:

The story was light on real details, but it said that the pictures were snapped while Meghan was taking Archie to “school” in Montecito earlier in the week. Let’s talk about these photos and the Page Six story, because there is a good amount to unpack here.

It seems like the photos were sanctioned/staged by Meghan or her people

The biggest proof we have that these photos, which clearly show Meghan and Archie walking down the street, are approved or arranged by Meghan or her team, is the simple fact that they are still up three days after being posted. Remember when one of Meghan’s friends posted a picture of Meghan and Archie in a Facebook post defending Meghan? It came out around the Oprah interview, and was immediately removed from the internet. It turns out that Meghan and Harry were NOT happy about the pic of Archie being out in the open, so Meghan and Harry bought the copyright to the photo from their friend, and then sent copyright infringement letters to any outlets still publishing it. That is how serious they are about photos of Archie being released, and that photo was accidentally shared by a friend.

Couple this with Harry and Meghan talking about moving from the UK to California for the sake of privacy. California has some of the US’s strictest laws on paparazzi shots and photographs of minors. So there would definitely be a legal avenue to take to remove these photos from the internet if Meghan and Harry wanted to. And yet, the photos remain up.

The third thing that should be pointed out is that the photographs were sold by Backgrid. If you’re not familiar, Backgrid is the photo agency that has taken if not every single photo of Harry and Meghan in North America post-Megxit, then the vast, vast majority of them. Backgrid has been on the tarmac while Meghan and Harry arrive from commercial flights. Backgrid was outside the restaurant where Meghan and Harry had dinner with David Foster and Katharine McPhee. Backgrid was outside the school as Meghan was walking with Archie a few days ago. Backgrid was in Montecito when Harry was on his electric bike. And no other photo agencies have sold similar shots. So either Backgrid is the world’s luckiest photo agency when it comes to Meghan and Harry, or it has a deal with them. It’s that simple.

And finally, the Meghan Markle style blog Meghan’s Mirror almost immediately posted all of the specific components of Meghan’s outfit, as well as the brand and type of Archie’s lunch box. I have a post on Meghan’s Mirror in the works. Here is what you need to know: the co-founder of Meghan’s Mirror has publicly admitted to working with Meghan’s team to get IDs on her clothing and home items for their blog. And then Meghan’s Mirror puts them on its website with affiliate links, which give the website a commission when people buy the items. Anyway:

Curiously, the Meghan’s Mirror tweet with the affiliate link to Archie’s lunchbox has since been removed, but luckily I’m a big fan of screenshotting:

As I said on Instagram, what are the chances that a fashion blog would immediately be able to ID a child’s lunch box and have an affiliate link about is posted within minutes? It just defies belief.

As former senior members of the BRF, Meghan and Harry knew that a portrait of Prince Louis would be released on the evening of April 22. They knew that there would be positive stories in the press about it. It’s the third birthday of a cute prince, for God’s sake. So Page Six somehow posted a picture of Meghan and Archie 20 minutes before the release of Prince Louis’ portrait, which everyone knew was coming, by total coincidence. Or Meghan orchestrated having the photo taken and then released when it would take away from the positive UK story of a three year old’s birthday. Some other small things about this to consider:

  • The Page Six story referenced Archie attending “school”. So did the Meghan’s Mirror posts. Archie is not yet three years old. It was likely a nursery (preschool), just like Prince Louis attends.
  • Why is Meghan carrying Archie down the street? For someone concerned about privacy (and with the money that Meghan has), wouldn’t you drive a car to the door of the preschool so as to not be seen? And wouldn’t a preschool that has Archie attending it be quite exclusive, and probably be all about security and privacy, for its famous clients’ children?
  • Why is Archie attending preschool when there is a global pandemic happening and Meghan is heavily pregnant? With the risk of COVID-19 transmission, wouldn’t you want to keep Archie at home until at least the birth of Harry and Meghan’s baby?
  • Why has the Sussexes’ press office not put out a scathing statement about innocent children’s right to privacy?
  • The day the pictures were released was Earth Day. In another since-deleted tweet from Meghan’s Mirror, it’s a feature of the Rothy’s mask that Meghan was wearing in the picture that it is environmentally friendly. What a crazy coincidence! Again, Meghan’s Mirror deleted the Tweet; again, I took a screenshot before they did.

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3 thoughts on “Did Meghan try to upstage the Cambridges with this “unauthorized” photo of her and Archie?

  1. So many thoughts on this.
    1.) How cute is Louis?! That grin! And how is he so big- wasn’t he born like last week?!
    2.) Archie wouldn’t even be in preschool yet: he’s not even 2. Preschool (Pre-K) generally starts the August/September you are 3 and ends right before you go to kindergarten. Before this, kids go to a daycare/parents-day-out place. Harry and Meghan definitely have a nanny so Archie would only be going to socialize with other kids, which is a valid reason but important to note.
    3.) One media outlet reported that this was them being spotted going to “school” in LA. Surely that’s a mistake. LA is two hours from them.
    4.) If this is a real pap shot, why are there only pictures of them walking and not of them going into the school itself? Guessing Meg wanted attention but not anyone to know where Archie is going.
    5.) What on earth are they doing? They have never been more interesting the past 6 weeks. Why are there no podcasts coming out, why is the only Netflix thing in production something, while supporting a good charity (although it seems Harry wants his charities to work for him instead of the other way round), completely unoriginal? Why are they back to staging pics to get attention?Considering that one of their top employees left and the things mentioned above, something is going wrong with their work. Either Netflix/Spotify has seen what do to employers who they fall out with and is renegotiating contracts, they don’t like what H/M are pitching, or the Charles/William summit didn’t go well for Harry.
    6.) I thought for sure that they were saving Archie’s face for a giant People spread for his birthday. People isn’t going to pay as much considering we have gotten several pics/videos of him the past months. Guessing Meg is hoping the new baby will bring in enough cash to cover that deficit.
    7.) I’ve been thinking this for a while but this just cements it: I think the interview has been worse for them than we know. It’s bad enough they’ve made this drama their entire public image (any work that’s not about it won’t get much attention) but since Philip died their actions seem despicable. (Re the Queen: grief tends to go two ways: either you want your family close, no matter what your beef is or you set boundaries and set them firmly because the last thing you need is drama) I think that things are happening behind the scenes that are very bad for Harry and Meghan, whether in Netflix/Spotify (see point 5) or with the RF. With UK elections coming up and the G7 summit, I doubt any titles will be taken for a while (if at all this year) but I think the royals have a timeline for this now. And the interview made it really easy, all they have to say is “We’re so sorry Harry felt trapped, let us help with that. Bye-bye to your HRH Haz.” The pics reek of desperation: she’s trying to cash in on their royal-ness while they can.
    8.) Meghan really miscalculated with these pics. 1- could stop them from taking down *real* pap pics of Archie. 2- Her critics won’t post them because they know she’s trying to overshadow Louis. Her stans won’t post them because they think it’s an infringement on her privacy by the evil press. I’ve only seen the pics on Page Six and like 2 other places on Twitter.
    And this is a literal novel- so sorry!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hi, there was certainly a lot to unpack here. I wish I had known earlier that the royal house publishes birthday and anniversary photos the day prior to the event they want to conmemorate so the British newspapers can include them in the printed editions, because when I commented about this photo in a royalty-themed Insta account some commentators pushed back questioning why the Palace had published Louis photo the day before the actual birthday, in the UK evening and after the M and Archie photo came out, their argument was that maybe it was the other way around and the Palace was trying to upstage M and Archie.
    So far I haven’t seen the M and Archie photo published in the Instagram accounts of the major entertainment news outlets like Enews, ET Online, the different Hello magazines, etc., only in individual Instagram accounts dedicated to royaly and royalty-related themes. It is intriguing, we don’t know if H and M people asked those news outlets not to publish the photo with the intention of arguing down the line it wasn’t authorized. It’s somewhat more likely that these outlets didn’t know where H and M stand about this photo and didn’t want to deal with potential lawsuits, I say this because it’s odd these companies accept to be one-upped by a competitor like Page Six, and also the photo remains in the Insta accounts of H and M fans, the royalty-themed accounts, etc. In fact it seems some H and M fans were also confused and tried to urge other fans not to share this photo to “respect Archie’s privacy and his parents’ wishes”. It could also be that the entertainment news outlet saw right through what H and M were trying to do, to upstage a 3 year old birthday, and decided not to cooperate by publishing the M and Archie photo, just like it could also be that they have realized that H and M related posts cause a lot of vitriol among commentators and because of that decided to skip this latest controversy. However, as noble as those 2 last options sound, they are also unlikely to be the reason why major media didn’t publish the photo, because again, it’s hard to believe they would be ok with Page Six keeping the exclusive.
    Some people also pushed back when I talked about how all the details of M’s outfit and Archie’s lunchbox were so quickly shared online, and the word school being used in the original post. Apparently in the US you can send your child to preschool / nursery / maternal when the child is only a few months old. None of those commentators even mentioned we are still in a pandemic, and they didn’t seem bothered about all the clothing details and the lunchbox detail being so quickly published online. I guess many if not all of the people that argued with me online were from the US, and this show why H and M seemed to be focused on the US market. Being a big market, many US people seem willing to believe in everything they do (there are also many in the US who disagree with H and M actions and behaviour so I’m not trying to generalize here).
    The whole Backgrid and Meghan’s Mirror thing seem to show this is an organized operation set up to constantly keep them in the news cycle. There is not a single week when we don’t hear about them. The feud with the royal family seems to follow that pattern too, and there is no true indication they really wish to end it, despite reports saying M wants to end it or that H spoke with Charles, William and the Queen. As a personal opinion, it was shocking to see all this unravel on Thursday afternoon, and M is looking more unscrupulous by the day.
    On a sort of lighter note, many were surprised to see Louis on a bike, even though some did point out it was a balancing bike. I myself didn’t know about them and I didn’t notice they don’t have pedals until others explained how it works, it looks others also didn’t know about them.

    Like

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