Barely 10 days after King Charles III was crowned in London, his daughter-in-law is receiving an award in New York City.
Meghan Markle will be honored at Tuesday’s 2023 Women of Vision Awards, which celebrates “feminist changemakers” and “powerhouse grassroots leaders.” The Duchess of Sussex will receive her award from Gloria Steinem, who co-founded the Ms. Foundation, which runs the awards.
As the mother of two is being celebrated, several royal experts have taken issue with the award’s timing. On April 12, Buckingham Palace confirmed that the former American actress wouldn’t attend the king’s coronation in London. Instead, the 41-year-old remained at her California home with her two young children, Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet. Her husband Prince Harry, who has publicly sparred with his family, arrived to the ceremony alone. The 38-year-old bolted back to California with his Dior suit still on.
Christopher Andersen, author of “The King,” told Fox News Digital the timing couldn’t have been more wrong, considering that the duchess was noticeably absent from “the single most important moment in Charles’ life and a singular moment in world history.”
“What a slap in the face to the man who walked her down the aisle when her own father didn’t show up at her wedding, and to the country she adopted, for better or worse, as her own,” said Andersen.
“You know, charity begins at home,” he shared. “Much of the time Harry looks like a fish out of water, and you don’t have to be an expert to see he’s still hurting. If she is truly a sensitive and caring person, she would make it her top priority to help mend her husband’s relationship with his brother Prince William and the king. Marrying into the royal family, accepting a title, and then bailing to take advantage of your new global superstar status seems, well, tacky.”
In a profile announcing Markle as a winner in this year’s ceremony, the former “Suits” star was described as a “feminist, champion of human rights and gender equity and global role model.”
“Her lifelong advocacy for women and girls remains a constant thread she weaves through both humanitarian and business ventures,” the announcement revealed.
While former first lady Hilary Clinton was a past honoree, Andersen doesn’t believe the award is any inkling Markle will pursue a career in politics. For years, rumors persisted that the duchess had her eyes set on Washington, where she could continue her advocacy work concerning women and young girls.
“As I’ve said before, Meghan is aiming to be the next Oprah – a multimedia titan with real political clout,” said Andersen. “She won’t run for office because I think she is far too thin-skinned. But she does want to have an impact on the next election. Meghan is very outspoken about issues and candidates, so expect to see her on the campaign trail.”
But one thing Markle’s latest achievement is doing is sending a message to the British royal family, Andersen insisted.
“She’s making it clear that she has a life of her own, doing the things she thinks are important,” he noted. “She also seems to be saying that getting a trophy from Gloria Steinem is more important to her than seeing her husband’s dad crowned king of England. It’s an in-your-face gesture aimed at the royal family she just snubbed.”
“Funny, though, isn’t it – that she would essentially give up being a senior member of the royal family and all that goes with it, just to be another influencer,” he alleged. “Like so much else in Meghan’s life, this award is no accident. Not long after moving to Montecito, she made a point of befriending Steinem – as she has so many other movers and shakers.”
Markle became the Duchess of Sussex when she married the British prince in 2018. At the time, the duke and duchess were celebrated as the new, youthful face of the monarchy. The actress also brought a touch of Hollywood glamour to the royal family. Many observers hoped Markle would help the Windsors connect with younger people in an increasingly multicultural nation.
However, those dreams quickly crumbled when the couple made their royal exit in 2020. At the time, they alleged that palace officials were insensitive to Markle’s mental health struggles as she attempted to navigate royal life.
The couple also claimed that the duchess faced racist attitudes from the U.K. press, which contributed to their decision to leave the country.
Since moving to North America, the couple has repeatedly aired their grievances. They gave a televised interview to Oprah Winfrey in 2021 that was viewed by nearly 50 million people globally. After a six-part Netflix docuseries titled “Harry & Meghan” was launched in December 2022, which further detailed their struggles, Harry’s explosive memoir “Spare” was published in January of this year.
The acrimony between Harry and his family once again spilled into public view in April. At the time, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex confirmed that they had been asked to vacate Frogmore Cottage, their home in the U.K.
Kinsey Schofield, the host of the “To Di For Daily” podcast, told Fox News Digital that she believes the award is “a strategic partnership” to help elevate the Sussex brand in California and, in turn, have more doors opened for Markle.
“I believe she is trying to brand herself independently – away from Prince Harry,” Schofield claimed. “Meghan is allegedly working on Season 2 of her podcast [‘Archetypes’]… and could be planning a relaunch of her blog. I think because Harry and Meghan have been so outspoken about their grievances with Harry’s family, people either love them or they hate them and that’s a hard position to be in. She will get opportunities, but there will be intense criticism along the way.”
“Brand Sussex is in dire need of a bolster given their popularity in polls both sides of the pond have plummeted,” chimed British royals expert Hilary Fordwich. “Meghan Markle, marred by scandals related to erroneous claims, certainly needs to shore up her status post-public punches directed at the royal family.”
“Whether most things are positive or negative is often subjective, so the very description of this award is dubious at best,” she shared. “It’s given to those who have made a ‘significant positive impact.’ One wonders exactly which ‘positive’ impact they are referring to.”
“If the award is supposed to showcase her philanthropic efforts, there are millions who do more than one hour of work a week on behalf of charity, as detailed in their recent tax returns,” Fordwich continued. “As a business consultant who recently served as chair of Easter Seals Advocacy Awards, I can say that awards normally present a positive opportunity for brand improvement and projection of a positive image. However, such branding principles assume awardees aren’t hypocrites, one must ‘live one’s values,’ thereby not contradicting purported principles with contrasting actions.”
Charles became king upon the death of his mother, the queen, in September 2022 at age 96. As the 74-year-old officially begins his reign, the Sussexes will also need to embark on a new chapter in their lives, royal experts argued. And they insisted the couple has their work cut out for them.
“Is Meghan a changemaker, or more accurately, a disrupter? Certainly, as a ‘woman of vision,’ she must have known what she was getting into when she married Prince Harry,” said Andersen. “Once Megxit was underway, she must also have considered that their decision would have a devastating impact on Charles, William, and the late queen – attacks that struck at the very heart of the monarchy itself.”
“Then there was the fusillade of attacks against Harry’s relatives and the world in which they operated: charges of racism, infighting, and bullying so severe that Meghan was driven to thoughts of suicide – all served up to a gob-smacked Oprah, then in a cloying Netflix docuseries, and finally in the pages of Harry’s memoir,” Andersen shared. “It’s highly doubtful that this visionary woman just realized how it would all backfire – that the vast majority of Britons would condemn Harry for seemingly turning his back on this birthright, and that they would be even angrier at Meghan for allegedly convincing him to do so. Nor, I’m sure, did she predict how quickly support for the Sussexes would begin to erode in the U.S. as Americans watched Harry and Meghan strike deal after big money deal with Netflix, Spotify, Penguin Random House, and other corporate giants.”
“To the public at large, the Sussexes have been just a bit much,” he continued. “Would Meghan ever be getting the attention she has now if she hadn’t married Harry? Their fairytale romance and wedding propelled her from being one of the stars of a fairly minor TV series to a global entity – a potential Princess Diana. It’s a fine line she’s walking here. Strangely, all the drama between Harry and the rest of his family benefits her.”
“All those headlines – even the negative ones – at least keep both Sussexes in the public eye,” he added.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.