Tina Brown: Duchess Meghan’s ‘Waterloo’ was the 2019 Vogue guest-editorship

God, remember the British media’s meltdown in 2019, when the Duchess of Sussex was the guest-editor of British Vogue? That was a month-long melodrama as seemingly every British journalist, royal commentator and magazine editor came out of the woodwork to blast Meghan for… you know, guest-editing a magazine and trying to put the spotlight on women and girls who would ordinarily not be highlighted by Vogue. Like, there were some minor things to criticize about Meghan’s guest-editorship, but the British media made it seem like Meghan had personally slapped the Queen and spit on a corgi. At that point, though, the British media had been smearing Meghan for nearly a year, and I imagine Meghan was pretty f–king numb to most of the overreaction. But according to Tina Brown, the British Vogue guest-editorship was Meghan’s “Waterloo.”

“At the core of the difficulties,” Brown writes, “was determining whether the Sussexes were celebrity royals or royal celebrities, two very different states of being.” She continued that, “the summer of 2019 confirmed to the media that the Sussexes had made the decisive and deadly pivot to the meretricious side of the equation.”

“It was the Vogue project” says Brown of the duchess’s guest editorship of Britain’s leading fashion magazine, “that was Meghan’s Waterloo.” A reference to Napoleon’s defeat in the famous battle of 1815. Many royals have guest-edited publications, radio programs and online news platforms with little tabloid commentary or criticism. “Celebrity guest editing is usually a risk-free media suck-up. Prince Charles has thrice done it for Country Life magazine. Harry received approving reviews when he took over an episode of Radio 4’s prestigious Today show in 2017, the same year Kate’s digital foray at Huffington Post UK was lauded for its championing of early-childhood mental health.”

To begin with, Meghan decided not to put herself on the cover of the magazine. In his editor’s letter for the issue, Enninful wrote: “From the very beginning, we talked about the cover—whether she would be on it or not… In the end, she felt that it would be in some ways a ‘boastful’ thing to do for this particular project… She wanted, instead, to focus on the women she admires.” This was seized upon in the press as a veiled criticism of the Duchess of Cambridge—Kate Middleton, the wife of Meghan’s brother-in-law Prince William—who had appeared on the magazine’s centenary issue cover in 2016.

Though it became the biggest-selling issue of British Vogue in its 103-year history, the reaction in the press was scathing. “The glossy package was seen as snotty piffle by the tabloids,” Brown writes, “a pious fluff package by upscale columnists, and a mystifying bore by traditional Vogue readers who would have preferred solutions for more immediate problems like where to find the best camel hair coat with a kimono tie.”

The environmental aspects of the magazine’s content such as the inclusion of Thunberg and the revelation in Harry’s Goodall interview that he and Meghan would only be having two children “maximum” due to the environmental impacts of large families, were criticized given the couple’s numerous summer private jet trips. “That went over in the media like a flatulent blast of methane, given that the duke had just loaded up his carbon footprint flying private to the Google camp,” Brown highlights.

Brown expresses her belief that the reaction was just an example of “renegade British sensibility, and the national inclination to laugh at earnest intent,” something she implies that the American-born duchess may have misjudged.

[From Newsweek]

Ah, so the unhinged media freakout was just part and parcel of “renegade British sensibility, and the national inclination to laugh at earnest intent,” which Meghan should have known. Like, it’s her fault that the media’s ludicrous overreaction was just the British sensibility to make fun of anyone who is upfront, honest and straight-forward? Ah, I see. Personally, while I don’t think the Vogue insanity helped matters whatsoever, I suspect that when the royals and the media tried to drive Meghan to suicide while she was pregnant was probably more of a breaking point. I suspect that Brown’s reference to “Meghan’s Waterloo” is more like… that was the point where the British media fully realized how much they could profit from hating on every single Meghan does and says.

Also, weird that Tina doesn’t mention that the whole point of Meghan’s guest-editorship was that she was highlighting her Smart Set capsule collection. Which sold out and was amazing for SmartWorks, her patronage.

Photos courtesy of Backgrid.

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