Princess Diana-style PR will backfire on Meghan Markle and it's not worth the gamble
By all accounts the Duchess of Sussex has taken it upon herself to brief several of her “close friends” to blab to a US gossip magazine about how hurtful she has found the whole saga, and that — contrary to what everyone thinks — she has been in touch with her father Thomas.
Crucially, she had her pals spill the beans without the knowledge and approval of the official royal PR machine, and I reckon they will take a pretty dim view of such behaviour.
The timing is baffling and I’m really not sure why Meghan has chosen to highlight this painful part of her life and put it back in the public eye.
She has had so many opportunities since her wedding last May to put her side of the story.
She’s made speeches and appeared in public on numerous occasions, and could have said her piece in her own words without resorting to having friends approach People magazine.
We are now told by these friends that Meghan wrote a letter to her dad after the wedding, which he famously did not attend due to health problems.
She apparently begged him to stop “victimising” her by giving interviews and said she wanted to repair their relationship.
He wrote a warm letter in reply but she was upset when he signed off by saying he wanted to do a photoshoot with his daughter.
There has been no contact from her since.
On the surface his suggestion of a photoshoot does seem extremely odd, but perhaps Thomas felt that the only way to show the world he was back on speaking terms with his daughter was to have some sort of formal photos in the world’s media.
This is not the way the royals do things.
But Thomas wouldn’t have a clue about protocol because no one bothered to sit down with him and explain the complexities of life as an extended member of The Firm.
His letter was a clumsy and unfortunate way for him to try to build bridges which resulted in only widening the rift.
Thomas has repeatedly said all he wants is for Meghan to get in touch.
But her friends say he is the one who refused to answer her calls after he was exposed for colluding with the paparazzi and having staged photographs in return for cash.
Only Meghan and her dad know the truth.
What is really sad is the effect all of this is having on them both.
Thomas looked heartbroken during his recent interview with Good Morning Britain, and Meghan’s friends are worried about her health and that of her unborn baby because of the stress.
I sincerely hope that isn’t the case and fair play to Meghan, because for a woman under such emotional strain, she does a really good job of painting on a smile and getting on with her duties.
I happen to think she was ill-advised to go down this particular path.
It might be a well-trodden one for famous celebrities to ensure potentially damaging stories are spun in their favour, with carefully released quotes from “friends” (usually their publicists or agents).
Princess Diana used to phone reporters she could count on to talk about her miserable marriage, but it’s a dangerous game and can backfire horribly.
As I said, we had all but forgotten Meghan’s fraught relationship with her dad and instead were wishing her well for the birth of her baby, and smiling wryly at how she has tamed party-loving Harry into a teetotal yoga devotee.
I just don’t think she needed to get her friends to speak up on her behalf, especially as it looks as though these revelations will effectively put an end to any attempt at a reconciliation with her dad.
This ongoing family rift will inevitably have taken the shine off Meghan’s first year as a royal and the joy of pregnancy, and you can’t help but think it could all have been easily avoided.
Thomas should have been welcomed into the Royal Family even before the engagement announcement, and then he could not have been manipulated by the paparazzi.
He should never have suggested a “photoshoot” to his daughter in reply to her heartfelt letter, but her silence since then means he feels the only way to reach her is by talking to the media.
It’s a mess that looks as though it will never be fixed and Meghan gushing that Harry will be “the best dad” could be construed as a pointed criticism of Thomas.
Time is running out and if father and daughter aren’t reconciled by the time the baby arrives then it may sadly never ever happen.
Frankie's honesty will help others
AS you scroll through Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and see all those flawless, happy, smiling faces living the good life without a care in the world, please don’t ever forget that it’s all a load of baloney.
The images are oh-so-carefully chosen to show people looking at their very best, and then the use of filters makes them appear thinner and younger.
It’s worth remembering that the couple looking adoringly into each other’s eyes in the loved-up selfie probably had a raging argument five minutes later.
And those glamorous girls posing with cocktails by the pool most likely woke up the next day with raging hangovers in a puddle of their own puke.
As for the stars of stage, screen and the music world, while they might appear to have it all, in reality so many are dealing with crippling anxiety and depression.
Frankie Bridge, was one of those golden youngsters who found success as a teenager in S Club Juniors then went on to join girl band The Saturdays.
She was living the dream, but her anxiety was so acute she ended up in hospital and often had to be coaxed onstage and propped up by her bandmates.
I spoke to her this week about Time To Talk Day, which is encouraging young people in particular to put down their phones, come off social media and open up about their worries before they snowball into something more serious.
It’s brave of Frankie to open up about her own problems and she will definitely help others in the same boat.
She should be very proud of herself.
I'M GLAD to see that US actor Kyle MacLachlan has ditched the hair dye and revealed himself to be a silver fox.
The star of Twin Peaks and Sex And The City looks so much younger with his natural grey hair.
I only wish more men would realise that blue-black “assisted” hair makes the more mature male look like a waxen-faced vampire.
Liam might have done some good
I DON’T think Liam Neeson is a racist.
I do, however, believe he failed miserably in trying to articulate his appalling behaviour from 40 years ago.
He claims to have roamed the streets in a blind fury looking to kill a random black man, in revenge for the rape of his friend.
It’s no wonder so many of us, and black men and women in particular, were angry, upset and disappointed by his words.
It’s beyond belief to even contemplate seeking vengeance for the vile crime of rape by wanting to go out and commit murder just because of someone’s skin colour.
It’s like the plot of a particularly repellent movie from the bad old days when black people were routinely treated like s**t.
Of course there is still disgusting racism, especially in the US under the current administration, and equality can feel further away than ever.
Neeson said he was ashamed of himself and also sought help for his “primal hatred”.
Although he was globally condemned, he did receive praise from ex-footballer John Barnes who said the actor deserved a medal for his honesty.
And his long-term friend Whoopi Goldberg stated he wasn’t a bigot.
I don’t believe Neeson should be edited out of his next movies, banned from the Oscars and shunned as a pariah.
I think it is important to talk about and try to explain the dangerous and destructive rage that can consume people and potentially turn them into monsters.
Neeson might have acted like an eejit but he has uncovered something very dark indeed that needs to be exposed to the light and tackled head on.
Strange as it may seem right now, in the long run he might actually have done some good.
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