The Biggest Sign Meghan Markle Has Learned Her Lesson

Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex and wife to Prince Harry, is no stranger to controversy. Her entire time with the royal family has been filled with scandalous headlines that pick apart the way the duchess dresses, her friends from her days as an American celebrity, and her tendency to keep her newborn son out of the spotlight.

Duchess Meghan is constantly compared to Kate Middleton, and judged as coming up short. Whereas the Duchess of Cambridge follows the rules and sticks to royal traditions, the Duchess of Sussex seems to cast them off at every turn, making her the subject of public scorn and gossip. 

Markle is not alone in facing the criticism. Prince Harry, too, has been placed squarely in the hot seat. Recently, the negative attention has focused on the family’s travel arrangements. Have these criticisms gotten to Markle, and has she learned a valuable lesson from them? Her recent trip to America suggests that may be the case. 

The travel controversy has the duke and duchess framed as hypocrites

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry | VICTORIA JONES/AFP/Getty Images

The recent controversy that has engulfed Markle and Prince Harry have to do with their travel habits. The duo has been vocal supporters of conservation efforts in the face of climate change threats, so it was seen as glaring hypocrisy when they traveled via private airplane multiple times over the summer. While Prince Harry defended the practice as a measure of family safety, critics were undeterred. 

Attempts to explain away the controversy have only made things worse. Prince Harry claimed that he travels by commercial air “90 percent” of the time, but critics are now picking apart that number and trying to prove that he chooses the more ecological-friendly travel option far less than that. 

Meghan Markle has changed her behavior in response to criticism

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Last month, The Duchess of Sussex surprised Smart Works clients during the capsule collection shoot in west London…Today, The Duchess, alongside @SmartWorksCharity – in partnership with @InsideJigsaw, @JohnLewisandPartners, @MarksandSpencer and @MishaNonoo – are incredibly proud to reveal to everyone, #TheSmartSet – a five piece capsule collection that will equip the Smart Works clients with the classic wardrobe pieces to help them feel confident as they mobilise back into the work space. • “Since moving to the UK, it has been deeply important to me to meet with communities and organisations on the ground doing meaningful work and to try to do whatever I can to help them amplify their impact. It was just last September that we launched the ‘Together’ cookbook with the women of the Hubb Kitchen in Grenfell. Today, a year later, I am excited to celebrate the launch of another initiative of women supporting women, and communities working together for the greater good. Thank you to the four brands who came together in supporting Smart Works on this special project – placing purpose over profit and community over competition. In convening several companies rather than one, we’ve demonstrated how we can work collectively to empower each other – another layer to this communal success story, that I am so proud to be a part of” – The Duchess of Sussex The collection – which features a shirt, trousers, blazer, dress and tote bag – will be on sale for two weeks starting today, with the objective of selling enough units to give Smart Works the essentials they need to help dress clients for the coming year! For every item bought during the sale of the collection, one will be donated to Smart Works, this 1:1 model allows customers to directly support the Smart Works women by playing a part in their success story – how they look and more importantly, how they feel. Photo © @JennyZarins

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Of course, the controversy of travel is going to impact Markle, who makes frequent overseas trips to the U.S. Recently, she traveled to New York to watch her close friend Serena Williams perform at the US Open finals. When news hit that she would be making the trip, critics were watching closely to see if she would continue the use of extravagant private travel options. 

Instead, Markle made the trip as low-key as possible. She not only took a commercial flight from London to New York City, but she made sure that all of her other choices reflected a more reserved and less flashy attitude as well. She was dressed in a simple and inexpensive denim dress. On top of that, sources say that she stayed in a private residence rather than paying for an expensive hotel. 

Meghan Markle used the time to catch up with friends

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Spotlight on: Smart Works We are proud to be supporting a very special initiative this autumn for @SmartWorksCharity! After quiet visits to Smartworks over the last year, The Duchess was moved by the impactful work being done by this non profit organisation that helps women into the workforce, equipping them with both the skills and clothes they need to feel job-ready. Throughout her visits she noticed that while the donations were plentiful, they were also notably a combination of mismatched items and colours which weren’t always the right stylistic choices or sizes that didn’t necessarily “suit” the job at hand: to make a woman feel confident and inspired as she walked into her job interview. As a result, launching this autumn, The Duchess will be supporting a collective to help equip the women of Smart Works with the key workwear essentials they need as they enter into the workplace. This initiative is supported by four generous brands who share the vision to empower the women of Smart Works to look and feel as they bravely venture in to what can often be a daunting environment for those who have been out of the job market. The brands have come together to work towards this united force for good, “[reframing] the idea of charity as community,” as The Duchess writes in a piece for this month’s British Vogue. They will follow the 1:1 model where an item from the collection purchased is an item shared with a woman of Smart Works because “not only does this allow us to be part of each other’s story; it reminds us we are in it together.” For more information on how you can be part of another woman’s success story visit @smartworkscharity. Special thanks to: @JohnLewisandPartners, @MarksandSpencer, @MishaNonoo, @InsideJigsaw for supporting this very special organisation. And to find out more, read the September issue of @BritishVogue and stay tuned for more exciting updates this autumn. Photo©️SussexRoyal

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While many of Markle’s movements are under the watchful eye of paparazzi, the duchess seems to have used the trip to be as connected as she could with her friends. Her activities included a visit to a yoga class and watching Williams’ performance from the family box next to Williams’ husband, mother, and sister. She also made time to visit some of her other friends including designer Misha Nonoo and makeup artist Daniel Martin.

While there will inevitably be some who continue to criticize Markle for nearly every action she takes, it is clear that she has taken the harsh lessons from the past to heart. Her recent trip to New York demonstrates that she is working hard to tone down her over-the-top celebrity image.

Instead, Duchess Meghan made an obvious effort to travel discreetly and enjoy her friends and downtime with class and grace. Hopefully, the critics will take note and give the duchess some positive press that would surely be welcome in the sea of negative headlines and harsh words.