celebrity

Meghan Markle has created her own royal court with the world's most powerful celebrities.

Being a royal comes with many privileges, but the ability to defend yourself to the public is not one of them.

It’s something Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, has been reminded repeatedly since she married Prince Harry in May 2018.

The new royal has been accused of being everything from a diva, to difficult and demanding; the most recent example being ‘forbidding’ the public to take photos of her at Wimbledon.

It must be frustrating for a 37-year-old woman such as Meghan – a formerly very independent being – to not be able to defend herself.

So, what’s a girl supposed to do? Take care of things herself.

After all, it’s what Meghan has been doing all her life.

Wonder woman we admire: Meghan Markle is most definitely one of them.

Video by MMC

You see, Meghan Markle was a queen before she met a prince. She’s been kicking ass her whole life. This is the woman who crawled out of the boot of her car to get to auditions (her car doors were jammed and she didn’t have the money to get them fixed). A biracial woman, raised by a single mother, who’s fought against countless moments of discrimination to succeed.

So, in the face of staunch Palace silence, Meghan has created her own royal court to do the talking for her, strategically filling it with the world’s most powerful celebrities.

And no, we don’t mean Meghan’s anonymous five ‘best friends’, who earlier this year gave an interview to People magazine, refuting the worst rumours about her.

Meghan’s personal power court involves the world’s biggest names, who are prepared to use their reputations to support her.

Oprah Winfrey. George and Amal Clooney. Serena Williams. Priyanka Chopra.

A group of advocates doesn’t get stronger – more powerful or currently relevant – than that.

It’s something Princess Diana’s biographer Andrew Morton has spoken about this month, theorising that even from the time of her wedding, Meghan carefully curated a group of high-profile people to surround her.

Speaking to news.com.au, Morton said that Meghan “populated the wedding with A-list Hollywood celebrities who over the last year have proved their worth to her by speaking out in public about the criticisms of her”.

The author claims the inclusion on the guest list of someone such as Oprah, who Morton believes Meghan hadn’t even met prior to the wedding, is evidence of the strategy.

ADVERTISEMENT

“She invited these people along and now she has her own court,” he said.

Certainly Oprah, whom Morton refers to as “the American equivalent to royalty herself”, was an unexpected guest at the royal wedding – and, as Morton observes, has not been hesitant in defending the Duchess in the press since.

For example, Oprah addressed the negative coverage of her friend on CBS This Morning earlier this year, when discussing the documentary she’s producing with the Sussexes.

“I think she’s being portrayed unfairly,” the media mogul said.

“I feel that if people really knew her, they would know that she is not only everything that we perceive for her as being graceful and dynamic and holding that position, but she just has a wonderful, warm, giving, loving heart.

“I see all the crazy press around her and I think it’s really unfair.”

Oprah arriving at Meghan Markle's wedding to Prince Harry. Image: Getty.

And of course, where there’s Oprah, there’s her best friend, media identity Gayle King. Although King wasn't invited to the royal wedding, she attended Meghan’s baby shower in February.

"She's very kind. She's very generous, and a really, really sweet person," she said of the Duchess.

Also at the wedding was one of India’s most successful actors, and one of the world’s most famous faces, Priyanka Chopra, who met Meghan at a party a few years ago.

“We bonded as actors. We just became friends, like two girls would,” Chopra explained.

When asked last month if the criticism of Meghan is racist, Chopra said she believed it is.

“Of course it has to do with racism, it’s an obvious reason,” she told The Times.

“But the beauty of Meg is that she’s been herself through all of this.

ADVERTISEMENT

“I knew her before, and she’s the same chick. Now that she’s got a real platform, she talks about the same things she always did.”

“I knew her before, and she’s the same chick. Now that she’s got a real platform, she talks about the same things she always did,” says Priyanka Chopra, attending Meghan's wedding with US actress Abigail Spencer. Image: Getty.

Another of the members of Meghan’s court is long-time friend, Serena Williams, whom many people didn’t realise would be at the wedding - even though Meghan once wrote about their bond on her former blog, The Tig.

Since the nuptials, the friendship has captured the world’s attention – most notably last month, when Meghan attended one of Williams’ Wimbledon matches.

Meghan’s presence at the match was the subject of much public scrutiny, with everything from where she was seated to what she wore commented negatively upon.

Speaking at a Wimbledon press conference afterwards, Williams was asked whether Meghan would watch her next match, considering the attention she had attracted.

Williams responded very strategically, saying: “You know I didn’t know there was negative media out there. Every time I see her name attached to anything I don’t read it.”

Serena Wiliams Meghan Markle
A photo of Meghan and Serena from the Duchess' long-deleted Instagram account. Image: Instagram: @meghanmarkle.
ADVERTISEMENT

Well, ahem, played.

The tennis champion added: “She couldn’t be a better friend to me. Low moments, high moments she’s always there and that’s all I want to be to her.”

Notable royal wedding attendees, power couple Amal and George Clooney, have also been friends with Harry and Meghan for a number of years. In fact, the Clooneys own a home in Berkshire, near Windsor, where the royal home of Frogmore Cottage is located.

Last month, Clooney told the Daily Mail: “We have dinners and stuff and we’re friends with them for all the reasons that you’re friends with anybody.

“They’re just really nice fun, kind people, they’re a very loving couple, and they’re going to be great parents.”

Earlier this year, Clooney also told Who magazine that Meghan is “a woman who is seven months pregnant and she has been pursued and vilified and chased in the same way the Diana was and it’s history repeating itself".

“We’ve seen how that ends," he added.

“I can’t tell you how frustrating that is… I think it’s irresponsible and I’m surprised by that.”

Amal and George Clooney attend the royal wedding. Image: Getty

Clooney is right, of course, about Meghan’s treatment. But by reminding us of what happened to Harry’s mother, and drawing that analogy, his words are also a powerful guilt trip, intended to take some heat off his friend.

We’re not sure whether Meghan has asked her court to speak publicly, or whether they’re simply fiercely loyal, but one thing is sure: Meghan’s court knows what they are saying, and they know what they are doing.

What do you think of Meghan Markle's select group of friends? Do you think she's trying to send a message with her friendship group?

Nama Winston has had a decade-long legal career (paid), and a decade-long parenting career (unpaid). Nama uses her past experience as a lawyer to discuss everything from politics, to parenting. You can follow her on Instagram: @namawinston and Facebook: @NamaWinston.

00:00 / ???