Some of Meghan Markle’s friends sat down with “CBS This Morning” co-host Gayle King for rare and close-up look at the famous couple and their newborn boy — Archie.
It was just last May that Meghan and Harry’s wedding at Windsor made worldwide news. Now, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are “mom and dad.” Their baby boy has already followed their example by making headlines of his own.
A WHIRLWIND FIRST YEAR
The news came in waves. First:
NEWS REPORT: Buckingham Palace has announced that the Duchess of Sussex has gone into labor.
Then came the Instagram.
NEWS REPORT: We now know they’ve had a baby boy.
Followed by a surprise appearance by the very proud and giddy Prince Harry.
PRINCE HARRY: I haven’t been to many births [laughs]. This is definitely my first birth. Uh, it was amazing … I’m so incredibly proud of my wife and … this little thing is absolutely to die for so I’m just over the moon.
INGRID SEWARD| Editor-in-Chief “Majesty Magazine” There’s huge excitement of the arrival of the baby. … And we love a royal baby.
And finally, the main attraction. Two days after his birth,r — seventh in line to the throne — made his public debut: all 7 pounds 3 ounces of him.
And he’s already breaking new ground as the first half-American royal baby.
INGRID SEWARD: I think Archie will definitely have dual nationality.
And that’s not all, says Meghan’s close friend actor Janina Gavankar. She says this baby reflects the world as it is.
JANINA GAVANKAR: There are still a lot of us who didn’t even grow up with dolls that look like us. [laughs].
GAYLE KING: I was one of those little girls. Yeah. Yeah.
JANINA GAVANKAR: Yeah. So, to have the — the royal family bring a child of color into the world, it’s pretty awesome.
It’s the latest act in an ongoing royal love story that from the start has played to rave reviews.
From that first blind date:
MEGHAN MARKLE [Nov. 2017 BBC interview]: We went and met for a drink then, I think, very quickly into that we said, “What are we doing tomorrow? We should meet again.”
To Harry’s proposal over a home-cooked chicken dinner:
[Nov. 2017 BBC interview]
MEGHAN MARKLE: He got on one knee.
PRINCE HARRY: Of course.
INTERVIEWER: Was it an instant yes from you?
MEGHAN MARKLE: Yes, as a matter of fact I could barely let you finish proposing. I said, “Can I say yes now?”
PRINCE HARRY: She didn’t even let me finish. She said, “Can I say yes? Can I say yes?” and then there were hugs and I had the ring in my finger, and I said, “Can I, can I give you the ring?” She goes, “Oh yes, the ring!”
The storyline was irresistible. A divorced, bi-racial American actor captured the heart of Princess Diana’s much-adored second son — the fun-loving, kind-hearted, helicopter-flying Prince Harry.
On a picture-perfect day last May, Meghan Markle took her place in the house of Windsor.
GAYLE KING: If you could describe the wedding in one word?
INGRID SEWARD: Pure Hollywood. … It was like a wedding in a movie. With all the celebrities … sitting next to sort of frightfully horsy English people. And it was just brilliant … They were [laughs] loving it.
DANIEL MARTIN: It didn’t hit us until we were in the car.
Meghan’s longtime makeup artist and dear friend, Daniel Martin, was in the second car behind Meghan and her mother Doria as they drove up the Long Walk to Windsor Castle.
DANIEL MARTIN: And as we got closer, the crowds got bigger. And we were just, like, shocked.
GAYLE KING: What were you shocked about?
DANIEL MARTIN: Just the enormity of how many people really wanted to witness this … that’s the moment that I was, like, “Ok, the world is watching this.”
Throngs of well-wishers packed the streets of Windsor, and scores of TV personalities adorned with fascinators – me too – perched ourselves on balconies to watch the spectacle unfold. And it did not disappoint.
INGRID SEWARD: I think what stands out for me is seeing Meghan walk up the steps of St. George’s Chapel, wearing that pristine white Givenchy dress.
Noticeably absent was her father, Thomas Markle. About a week before the wedding he was accused of posing for staged paparazzi photos… then reportedly fell ill… and was unable to attend.
Meghan began her walk down the aisle alone.
DANIEL MARTIN: The doors open up and … I’m standing in the back. And I just see her come down. I mean, I just– I just saw how strong that she was and how poised. And just [in tears] sorry. But she kept her cool … and then she walked, and he intercepted her.
did the honors.
DANIEL MARTIN: And it was like… “We got you. You’re — you’re one of us now.” … for me it was, like, ok, she’s — she’s home.
GAYLE KING: She’s home. Yeah.
JANINA GAVANKAR: I just got to watch my friend look into the eyes of her soulmate and — and, you know, be blissfully happy.
THE MOST REV. MICHAEL CURRY: …we must discover the power of love.
American Bishop Michael Curry spoke of love as Meghan’s mom looked on.
And a gospel choir raised the rafters of the 14th-century chapel, a place of worship for kings and queens through the ages.
GAYLE KING: It was reported that the royal family, the royals had never seen anything like that before.
DANIEL MARTIN: Yeah. You literally felt like the whole place was vibrating. It was almost like the most perfect concert anyone had ever been to.
DANIEL MARTIN: They love each other so much. It’s so sincere. … the love is real.
And, as the British people were about to find out, so is their sense of duty.
INGRID SEWARD: She said she’d hit the ground running, but nobody knew she’d be running this fast.
Just four months after saying “I do,” Meghan launched her first solo philanthropic endeavor as duchess.
Mom Doria joined Meghan and Harry for the official presentation of “Together – Our Community Cookbook … a compilation of recipes by the victims of London’s devastating Grenfell apartment tower fire in 2017.
VANESSA GRIGORIADIS | Contributing Editor, Vanity Fair: And a lot of those women were Muslim. … she knew that those images would go all around the world … and so the fact that she chose to do that … she decided to do something that would spotlight Muslim women.
Less than a month later, another picture of Meghan Markle would again make headlines. This time it was the Duchess at Princess Eugenie’s wedding wearing a noticeably loose-fitting coat dress.
INGRID SEWARD: Harry, you know, has said himself he can’t wait to start a family. So, he didn’t wait.
Three days later, they touched down in Sydney, Australia, and the rumors were confirmed. The Palace announced Harry and Meghan were
YOUNG GIRL: I hope it’s a boy.
INTERVIEWER: Why is that?
YOUNG GIRL [points at her twin sister]: So Grace can marry him.
It was the start of a 16-day tour of Australia, New Zealand,and the kingdom of Tonga — all part of the British Commonwealth, an association of 53 nations.
INGRID SEWARD: The Queen’s big baby is the Commonwealth and … she’s really dedicated a lot of love and time … now Harry and Meghan are the figurehead … for the young Commonwealth, which is the future.
The newlyweds quickly won the hearts of the Aussies.
ROYA NIKKHAH: Royal Correspondent, The Sunday Times: Harry and Meghan went to the drought-stricken town of Dubbo.
PRINCE HARRY [speaking in the rain, with Meghan holding an umbrella over him]: You have just lived through two years of drought, and despite recent welcome rain, it is going to take a lot more and a long time to recover. …We are all in this together.
A sentiment Meghan drove home with a simple, kind gesture. She presented a family of farmers with banana bread she had baked herself.
ROYA NIKKHAH: And I think that said an awful lot about the kind of character she is and the way she wants to go about doing those official royal duties.
With speeches about women’s rights:
MEGHAN MARKLE: Women’s suffrage is about feminism, but feminism is about fairness …
MEGHAN MARKLE: Everyone should be afforded the opportunity to receive education that they want … and for women and girls in developing countries, this is vital.
Meghan was warmly received wherever she went.
But the pendulum was about to swing. Meghan Markle, the perfect royal, would soon be dubbed “Meghan Markle,” “Duchess Difficult.”
VANESSA GRIGORIADIS: The British tabloids have never had a better time.
This past year has been a joyous one for Meghan Markle.
GAYLE KING: What do you think she likes most about her new life?
DANIEL MARTIN: I think the people that she’s meeting …
ARTHUR EDWARDS | Royal Photographer, The Sun: I feel that she is giving 100%, maybe 110% percent. With the children … she was very engaging. She’s always smiling. She’s a great ambassador for our country.
There’s little doubt that Prince Charles is a fan and Meghan also seems to have captured the heart of Queen Elizabeth. Shortly after the wedding, the new Duchess of Sussex accompanied her on an overnight royal train trip.
GAYLE KING: Do you have a sense of what Meghan’s relationship is like with the Queen?
INGRID SEWARD | Editor-in-Chief, Majesty Magazine: ” I think that Meghan does have a nice relationship with the Queen … The Queen would be amused by Meghan, she’s bright and funny.
But not everyone in the United Kingdom has embraced the new royal.
INGRID SEWARD: She could have never have imagined that she would have so much criticism.
Marrying into the royal family has never been easy.
INGRID SEWARD: People criticized Diana too in the early days.
GAYLE KING: Did they?
INGRID SEWARD: They did. … Kate came in for criticism, you know, for being too middle class, too ordinary. And it’s a rite of passage, it appears.
Yet a year after joining the royal family, some of the criticism is still going strong.
COLLEEN HARRIS | Former Press Secretary for Prince Charles: I don’t think there’s been anything quite that vicious about any member of the royal family before.
LUCIE GREENE | Trend Analyst, Wunderman Thompson: Everything … from the sublime to the ridiculous. Like, even talking about clutching her bump too enthusiastically.
INGRID SEWARD: I’ve tried to work it out, what it is about her that irritates people.
GAYLE KING: And what have you come up with?
INGRID SEWARD: I think maybe it’s because she’s American and maybe we feel that Harry should have married — an English rose.
In fact, a few months after the wedding, the tabloids reported that Meghan had made Kate Middleton cry during Princess Charlotte’s dress fitting and caused a scene when told she couldn’t wear a certain tiara.
DANIEL MARTIN | Meghan’s Friend: And that’s what’s so frustrating, is that you hear these stories and there’s no truth to them.
GAYLE KING: What do you think when you hear people describe her as “diva, difficult and demanding?”
DANIEL MARTIN: It’s not the same person. In the years I’ve known her, the years I’ve worked with her, she’s never had a diva fit. Never.
In an effort to celebrate what should have been the happiest time in Meghan’s life, Daniel helped plan a party for the mother-to-be.
GAYLE KING: Let’s talk aboutbecause reliable sources say the baby shower was your idea.
DANIEL MARTIN: Aww … I mean, it kinda was.
GAYLE KING: Uh-huh.
GAYLE KING: Daniel and friends, including Serena Williams, invited 15 people … and I was one of them. Over the last few months, Meghan and I have become friends. We all gathered at The Mark Hotel in New York City. As part of the festivities, we created floral arrangements
DANIEL MARTIN: It was a really fun activity for all of us to kinda get to know each other.
Meghan came up with the idea after learning about Repeat Roses, a business that repurposes floral arrangements and gives them to places like hospitals and homeless shelters.
DANIEL MARTIN: She … reached out to them, called them herself.
JENNIFER GROVE: Founder, Repeat Roses: “Hi, Jennifer, this is Meghan Markle!”
GAYLE KING: Did you know instantly who Meghan Markle was?
JENNIFER GROVE: I recognized her voice because I’m a fan of “Suits.” So, I just knew that voice. And I thought — it took me a few seconds. But I was, like, “This is the Duchess of Sussex!” … “I thought, “Here’s somebody who has — all the access in the world. And she has taken the time to pick up the phone and personally call me” … I called my parents. We all broke down in tears.
Some of Meghan’s bouquets found a home with pediatric cancer patients staying at the
Ronald McDonald House of New York.
JENNIFER GROVE: She wants to give back to the New York community. I just thought that was so lovely … It’s a true pay it forward moment.
But that’s not how the shower was seen in the U.K. Meghan returned to a nasty backlash.
INGRID SEWARD: The baby shower here was seen as a bit of a display of ostentation, which, of course, it’s very not British upper lip. You don’t show all your glamorous, showbiz friends. And you don’t show all the super presents you’re getting.”
JESSICA MATLIN | Beauty Director, Harper’s Bazaar: She’s got famous friends and she’s got a great network of people that wanted to do something for her. And unfortunately, people saw that as a Marie Antoinette moment.
The unflattering comparisons and characterizations have continuously plagued Meghan. She was nicknamed “Duchess Difficult” after reports surfaced she was hard to work for — sending off emails to her staff at 5 a.m.
VANESSA GRIGORIADIS | Contributing Editor, Vanity Fair: The number of people who have left her staff is extraordinary … She’s a go-getter. … She wants to do so much in the world … And she has a lot of ideas.
MEGHAN MARKLE: This is my first project, so I appreciate your support in the vision that I had for this.
Many believe the critical press coverage is rooted in anti-feminism, and even racism.
MAIYSHA KAI | Managing Editor, “The Glow Up” TheRoot.com: Whether it’s saying she’s difficult, or challenging, or demanding — there is a subtext there that reads very much into this angry black woman stereotype — that leads into a domineering woman stereotype. That doesn’t just allow her to be a human being who has agency … who wants to do the best that she can.
Last week it was more than a subtext. A British broadcaster was fired after making a racist tweet about baby Archie.
Through it all, Prince Harry has been at Meghan’s side, but their dynamic has come under scrutiny as well.
ANGELA LEVIN | Author, “Harry: A Biography of a Prince”: I think she’s not popular in a lot of circles often because they adore Harry. And they seem to think that … she’s running the show.
Meghan has even been accused of changing Harry — from the way he dresses to influencing his speeches.
PRINCE HARRY [at event]: As my wife often reminds me [cheers from audience]… one of her favorite quotes by Martin Luther King Jr, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that.”
PRINCE HARRY: I’m now going to try and drag my wife up on the stage [crowd cheers].
MAIYSHA KAI: I think that any criticism that infers that Harry has somehow been manipulated by Meghan is … not just un-feminist, but it’s unfair to him as well.
But Meghan and Harry’s comfort with being in the spotlight is worrisome to some royal observers.
ANNA WHITELOCK, PH.D. | Royal Historian: Before very long, William and Kate will be Prince and Princess of Wales. Harry and Meghan sort of undermining, challenging that, their popularity and their status just might be a little bit too much.
SARAH BAXTER | Deputy Editor, Sunday Times: That the United Kingdom isn’t quite big enough for both households.
A Sunday Times piece reported that the Palace was contemplating sending Harry and Meghan to Africa, fearing their star power might be too bright.
SARAH BAXTER: We’ve definitely been told that the palace does fear a repeat of the Diana celebrity situation.
This comes after weeks of headlines about the alleged continuing tension between Meghan and Kate. But reports suggest the real conflict may be between Prince Harry and Prince William.
ANNA WHITELOCK: And inevitably, what we will see and have seen, is Meghan being scapegoated as the one who is pulling the brothers apart, disrupting this happy trio that was, you know, Kate, William and Harry.
SARAH BAXTER: And she’s getting the Yoko Ono treatment [laughs]. You know, when the Beatles broke up everyone’s like, “Oh yeah, that’s Yoko.”
she avoids all the press coverage.
JANINA GAVANKAR | Meghan’s Friend: And she doesn’t read the bad or the good. Because she knows … the metrics that you have for your own life cannot be based on a headline that somebody else wrote.
But the rumors are frustrating.
GAYLE KING: What are the tears about for you?
DANIEL MARTIN: I think ’cause I know her so well. [In tears] And I know she doesn’t deserve all this negative press.
And friend George Clooney has also come out in Meghan’s defense on “Good Morning Britain:”
GEORGE CLOONEY: It seemed to be unjust since she hadn’t really done anything except just happen to live her life. She’s a really kind and smart intelligent young woman.
But it’s not just her friends showing support. There’s a group of professional women — many of whom have never met the Duchess — that have Meghan’s back. Meet the “Meyhive.”
LUCIE GREENE: Trend Analyst, Wunderman Thompson: So, the “Meyhive” is the term that I gave to this trend or shift among women … Women who … are outspoken on Meghan’s defense and who feel quite a close affinity for what she represents. They are fans of Meghan Markle.
JESSICA MATLIN | Beauty Director, Harper’s Bazaar: I am a proud card-carrying member of the “Meyhive” … She’s somebody who carved her own path. … She was somebody who came in, had her own career, her own ambitions and her own life before moving on to royal life.
The “Meyhive” plays off Beyonce’s fan base known as the “Beyhive.” In fact, the “Queen Bee” herself, alongside hubby Jay Z, paid tribute to Meghan Markle while accepting an award via video this past February:
BEYONCE AND JAY Z STANDING IN FRONT OF A PORTRAIT OF MEGHAN: Thank you so much to the Brit awards for this incredible honor. You guys have always been so supportive. Everything is love. Thank you.
GAYLE KING: You saw Beyoncé and Jay-Z at the Brit Awards?
DANIEL MARTIN: Oh, my God [laughs]. …I sent her a pic — I think it was a screengrab of … two of them in front of the — in front of the portrait … I think all I wrote was, “‘Girl’…Like, hello?”
And she wrote me back like the big eye emoji.
In recent weeks, the wave of support has continued and some of the clanging chatter of negativity has given way to cheers as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were bestowed another title: Mom and Dad.
WHAT KIND OF PARENTS WILL MEGHAN AND HARRY BE?
She may have been the most famous, most glamorous, most photographed woman in the world. But to little Harry Wales, Princess Diana was simply, “Mummy.”
INGRID SEWARD: Harry’s mother was very hands on with him. She –she was very, very, very nurturing of Prince Harry.
And that’s exactly how Harry and Meghan will be with their own child, says Meghan’s longtime friend, makeup artist Daniel Martin.
DANIEL MARTIN: Parenting is difficult in the beginning, but I feel like they got this. They’re ready for this. … there’s just gonna be so much love for that baby.
Safely tucked away on the grounds of the Windsor Estate in their new eco-friendly home, Frogmore Cottage, they can strive to give this little boy something hard to come by: privacy. And privacy is something very important to Meghan, says Daniel. Even at her wedding — though he was doing her makeup — Meghan kept some things private.
GAYLE KING: I’m interested in this cloak-and-dagger move before the wedding, that you didn’t know who was doing the hair … you didn’t know the dress.
DANIEL MARTIN: Yeah.
GAYLE KING: She was keeping it that much of a secret? … Why? …no leaks?
DANIEL MARTIN: No leaks. No press. No nothing … and she trusted all the elements. So, she’s like … “I know this is gonna work. Just trust me.”
She treated the birth of Archie in a similar way, keeping everybody guessing as she dodged the press with a reported secret late-night trip to the hospital. Since then, we’ve only gotten a glimpse of baby Archie.
DANIEL MARTIN: I feel like Meghan and H are really going to keep this kid real.
With lots of healthy home-cooked meals, no doubt, says Daniel.
DANIEL MARTIN: I’m sure the baby’s gonna be raised, like … definitely clean and green.
GAYLE KING: Clean and green?
DANIEL MARTIN: Clean and green for the baby.
GAYLE KING: Oh. Wow.
DANIEL MARTIN: She loves to cook … eating organic whenever she can.
GAYLE KING: Will she be out there making her own baby food?
DANIEL MARTIN: Oh, I totally see her making her own food.
GAYLE: You do? [laughs]
DANIEL MARTIN: Yeah.
GAYLE KING: I was kidding.
DANIEL MARTIN: Yeah. No, she loves —
GAYLE KING: You can see her making her own baby food?
DANIEL MARTIN: Oh, yeah. totally.
JANINA GAVANKAR | Meghan’s friend: Meghan and I have talked about her being a mother for over a decade. She’s always wanted to be a mom.
GAYLE KING: Has she?
JANINA GAVANKAR: Yeah, she’s gonna be such a good mother [laughs].
GAYLE KING: I know. Why do you think she’s going to be such a good mom? I agree with you. but why do you think it?
JANINA GAVANKAR: I think it will be — I think she’ll be very low maintenance. I — I think that she will be very hands-on. The way she would have been if she hadn’t married into the royal family.
That does not mean she’ll be a pushover, says Janina.
JANINA GAVANKAR: I think Meghan’s gonna be strict.
GAYLE KING: You do?
JANINA GAVANKAR: Yeah … and not in some sort of, you know, intense way. But I think she’s gonna — she’s an incredibly practical person … she’s gonna run a tight ship.
And as for Harry?
DANIEL MARTIN: He’s so good with kids … even when they were doin’ the family portrait after the wedding with everybody, he was on the floor, just playing with the kids. And that’s when I knew, like, he’s gonna be the coolest dad.
And strive to be just like his mom, says Harry’s biographer, Angela Levin.
ANGELA LEVIN | Author, “Harry: A Biography of a Prince”: The most important thing for him about his mother was that she kept him safe. … we talked about … how she sparkled and laughed. And he thought that she was the best mother in the world.
With her outings to amusement parks, days at the beach and trips to homeless shelters to show her boys the other side of life, Diana broke all the rules of traditional royal child-rearing… even dropping her boys off at school herself. That was unheard of in Prince Charles’s day.
ANNA WHITELOCK, PH.D. | Royal Historian: In the past of course, it really was a case of royal children being seen and not heard. … the household of a young royal baby would be separate to that of their parents … They would be essentially brought up by nannies.
As much as Diana didn’t want nannies, her schedule made that impossible and it’s a reality that Harry and Meghan may also face. Many upper crust Brits choose Norland Nannies: part Mary Poppins, part James Bond.
INGRID SEWARD: Norland is a famous nanny school and they teach the best nannies. They are now taught to deal with terrorism. They can do Judo. … they are the top-notch nannies. And William and Kate have … a Norland nanny.
Ultimately, Meghan and Harry will choose what’s best for them. But they’ve already got a delighted team in place: Archie’s great grandmother, the Queen, his grandfather, Prince Charles, and first-time grandmother Doria Ragland. She arrived at Frogmore before Archie was born.
JANINA GAVANKAR: I love Doria … I can’t wait to see her with her first grandchild. … She is effervescent and free-spirited … And I personally think that’s how Meghan learned to shine from within.
Just like Diana, Doria taught her daughter compassion by exposing her to suffering.
DANIEL MARTIN: When Meghan was a child, her mom took her to Skid Row, fed the homeless.
JANINA GAVANKAR: She has a very solid sense of what her true north is. She has a priority to find ways to bring light to global issues. But, she’s not in it alone — she is with her soulmate. The two of them together are very powerful.
They are already ramping up their next big campaign — erasing the stigma around mental illness..
OPRAH WINFREY [on “CBS This Morning”]: So, It’s a passion of his … Our hope is that it will have an impact on reducing the stigma and allowing people to know that they’re not alone.
Meghan and Harry are using their Instagram to raise awareness.
Their official Instagram – @SussexRoyal – has proved to be a very powerful tool. Less than six hours after launching it, they hit one million followers. They seized the moment and asked well-wishers to donate to four charities in lieu of sending them baby gifts.
JESSICA ALBA: It really raised awareness on global scale.
One of them was Baby2Baby, an L.A.-based charity that donates diapers and supplies to families in need across the country. Actor Jessica Alba is on the board.
JESSICA ALBA: So many people literally, like that day, were like, “How do I volunteer? … How do I get involved?” … And then a lot of people donated as well … so it’s been a game changer for us.
And it’s not the only game Meghan Markle is changing. Just ask her many fans.
JADA WATSON, 12: If she can be in the royal family, I can do that, too, because hey, she’s just a normal girl.
THE MEGHAN MARKLE EFFECT
One morning in New York City, not long before Archie was born, we gathered a group of Meghan Markle fans for tea at Ladurée, the same spot the Duchess had visited just days before her baby shower.
GAYLE KING: So, what does it mean coming here to have a proper tea?
TYLER NEWMAN, 17: We are like breathing in the same space that Meghan was [laughs]. So, it’s awesome.
JADA WATSON: She might have used the same bathroom! [Laughs from the group]
GAYLE KING: Sophia? What do you admire most about Meghan Markle?
SOPHIA WATSON, 7: That she doesn’t care what other people think about her. She just likes to be herself, like kind of free.
Last May,to celebrate the royal wedding.
GAYLE KING: A lot has happened to Meghan Markle in the past year. She got married. … She moved and she had a baby. All in one year! Wow! What do you think when you think about that?
TYLER NEWMAN, 17: I feel like she’s really brave. … She is the face of new change and a new time in the monarchy.
But on this day, everyone was talking about the baby.
NATALIE PEMBERTON, 17: The fact that we would have a biracial baby in the royal family … and he … will be part American and part British, which is just something that we haven’t heard of before. And I think that both nations, and the entire world are just so excited to see what’s gonna happen with that.
To welcome the new baby, they donated to each of Meghan’s charities. They even put together a book for the new parents.
GAYLE KING [reads from the baby book]: “To the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, from your favorite royal watchers …”
It includes some inspiring quotes and lists of their favorite children’s books.
Meghan is a hero to these young girls. They don’t just admire what she stands for — they want to emulate her in every way possible.
CHLOE MASON, 16: I mean my Instagram feed is like, Meghan Markle’s new outfit. [Laughter] … “Oh, can I get that jacket? That looks a little expensive. Maybe not.” But I think people are just fascinated with her as a whole.
GAYLE KING: You touched on something about her fashion style. Are you following it?
CHLOE MASON [laughs]: I’m in LOVE with it.
COOKIE MASON | CHLOE’S MOM [laughs]: That’s my daughter!
GAYLE KING: You’re in love with it?
CHLOE MASON: I’m in love with it.
CHLOE MASON: All of it [laughter].
CHLOE MASON: It’s very authentic to who she is and it’s very modern. And not traditional which I appreciate it. … But it doesn’t conform to what people expect her to wear.
JESSICA MATLIN | Beauty Director, Harper’s Bazaar: There is no bigger influencer than Meghan Markle. … She’s really got the golden touch because everyone … is interested in her.
And all the interest to be like Meghan has been a windfall for the British economy …and has made careers for fashion designers…says New York Times Fashion Director Vanessa Friedman. The phenomenon has a name.
VANESSA FRIEDMAN: So, the “Meghan Markle Effect” is the fact that once she wears a garment, interest in that designer and that product will spike at least 200 percent on average across the Internet in terms of search. And it will probably sell out. The designer’s website will crash. And it could change the fortunes of a brand.
Hard to imagine, but not that long ago, before Harry was in her life, the fashion industry wasn’t interested in her.
DANIEL MARTIN, MEGHAN’S FRIEND: There were times when no designers would send her anything. …Because was wasn’t an A-list actress or she wasn’t doing movies.
GAYLE KING: Is it amusing to you that now she is a fashion icon?
DANIEL MARTIN: Yeah. She always has had an innate sense of her own style. So, I’m happy that people can see that. She doesn’t have a stylist. Everything that she wears she picks herself.
GAYLE KING: She has no stylist?
DANIEL MARTIN: No stylist.
GAYLE KING: Even now?
DANIEL MARTIN: No. I mean it’s pretty incredible she can manage this.
And she often doesn’t wear what people expect — like the simple cut of her Givenchy wedding dress.
VANESSA FRIEDMAN: That dress was not — it wasn’t a costume. … It wasn’t a fairy-tale. …If you think of Princess Diana, it was a full-on fairy-tale. And Meghan’s was a real modernization of that idea. And then she changed into the Stella McCartney. You know, very chic, biased cut, halter neck, backless dress to, you know, jump into this kinda James Bond-esqe convertible to drive to the after party.
Once she became a royal, the Meghan Markle effect went into overdrive.
VANESSA FRIEDMAN: After she wore Outland Denim when she was in Australia, their global sales increased 2,374 percent within two weeks. …And her particular style of jeans sold out also within a day.
But for Meghan, wearing the jeans was more than a fashion statement. Outland Denim is a sustainable brand that provides jobs for survivors of human trafficking and sexual abuse. On that tour, she also wore Rothy’s flats, shoes made from recycled water bottles.
MAIYSHA KAI | Managing Editor, “The Glow Up” TheRoot.com: I think Meghan’s incredibly deliberate about her clothing and her choices. And I think that … ever since she kind of rose to this level of prominence and attention, she’s been very, very strategic about what she wears, who she wears.
And she’s mixed aspirational pieces with affordable ones — even during pregnancy.
JESSICA MATLIN: She’s gotten bespoke Dior made for her, gorgeous Stella McCartney. I mean this is every woman’s wish. But at the same time we see her in one of my favorite outfits of hers … just a little H&M dress.
And that H&M dress cost just $34.99.
JESSICA MATLIN: The fact that Meghan combines high and low shows that she has an awareness that spans classes.
Now that the baby is here, get ready for “The Archie Effect.” Just 24 hours after Meghan and Harry introduced him to the world, online traffic for the G.H. Hurt and Son shawl he was wrapped in surged 190%. And Vanessa Friedman thinks he may be the biggest influencer of all. She says this royal baby is expected to fuel around $1.5 billion in spending over a two-year period.
NATALIE PEMBERTON: I’m just excited to see how she would dress the baby in and how she would teach the baby how to live in the world that we live in today.
JADA WATSON: Well, I think that she’s gonna teach her child the same values that she has of respecting people and staying true to who you are.
NATALIE PEMBERTON: I saw a video of her running over to hug a young girl when she was doing a procession down the street. … I was like, “that’s exactly how she’s gonna be as a mother.” She’s gonna be there for her child through whatever happens in life.
A BRIGHT FUTURE
You know, maybe it was never going to be easy— living up to the age-old expectations with the eyes of a nation glued to their every single move and the churning, the endless tabloids, turning their lives into a royal fishbowl.
The intrigues of kings and queens, dukes and duchesses are older than the thousand year walls of Windsor.
From Shakespeare to “Game of Thrones,” the lives of royalty entertain and somehow challenge us across the ages.
This magic couple will always be center stage, always be in the spotlight.
The issues they care about could not be more real. Equality, the environment and mental health — all will be championed, and talked about, wherever they go.
They are parents now. Their child will have as great an influence on them, as they do on the world.
As they move forward, we’ll all be watching. Because we think, this story – it’s just getting started.