FOLLOWING the duchess’ debut with Master Archie, writer and mummy blogger Susie Verrill, 31, tells us why it was a much-needed breath of fresh air for mums.
“I’ll admit it – I’m no royalist. However, I could sing Meghan’s praises all day long. Not only has the actress turned duchess managed to bring a new level of interest to a monarchy that often felt at odds with modern Britain, but at baby Archie’s first photocall she also showed the world the truth about being a Monarchy Mum – it’s just as bewildering as it is for the rest of us.
“Of course, in an age where everyone seems intent on clamouring for reality and honesty, we need to keep in mind that a royal would never be able to shuffle out in leggings and slippers. But Meghan certainly kept it all as unassuming as she could.
“Her white dress may have been a brave colour choice (because, let’s admit it, brick-sized maternity pads are every new mum’s BFF), but, most importantly, it allowed her postpartum tummy not to be restricted and that’s what I really love. In a world where so many celebs step from the maternity ward into our feeds looking Insta-perfect, having one of the most famous women in the world refuse to hide her still-swollen belly was a win for all mums. It sent the message loud and clear that it’s totally normal not to ping back into your pre-pregnancy jeans within hours of childbirth.
“Of course, there were other nods to the fact Meghan was embracing the realities of motherhood. There was her simple hairstyle and make-up, totally in tune with someone who’s spent the last two nights getting to grips with nappies and winding. And there was the decision to keep photography to a minimum rather than standing out for the world to see on the Lindo Wing steps. Everything seemed so natural.
“While we don’t get to see the Duchess of Sussex wincing about stitches, no one could deny the sincerity in her and Harry’s expressions. The flickers of overwhelmed emotion as they talk about their son; the tenderness between the two, knowing they’d created this amazing little being… the only difference was the excited guests weren’t Aunty Julie and Uncle Dave, but the world’s press.
“Before my partner Greg Rutherford and I had kids, I remember looking at the photos of Kate after she’d just had Prince George in 2013 without giving a second thought to what she might have been through. But since I’ve had Milo, four, and 22-month-old Rex, I recognise that mum feeling. You’re proud of your body no matter how the new life made its entrance, but you feel like an alien inside it.
“And the quiet hope bubbling inside that you’re “doing really well” and functioning as you should is what I saw in Meghan as she stood shyly next to Harry
in Windsor Castle. As they exchanged glances, it reminded me of how Greg and I spent the first few days of parenthood doing the same, whispering: “Can you believe we made him?”.
“People will inevitably pass comment on the fact these brand-new parents will have help, bypassing many struggles the rest of us face. But I think becoming a parent transcends everything. Let’s not forget being a new mum in the public eye brings its own pressures, and I couldn’t be happier that Meghan has been allowed to take the reins with her own announcement.
“After all, most women learning the ropes can do so at home without knowing the world is waiting to hear every detail. This woman will be taking on the gargantuan task of being someone’s mother while her every choice is under huge scrutiny. Forget leaky boobs – she has another kind of leak to contend with as she tries to ensure as normal a life as possible for Archie.
“She will have only just been recovering from birth while discussing plans to keep their privacy intact and being bundled into waiting cars. And that’s why, despite trolls already criticising her, I think Meghan and Harry’s family debut was a master stroke. By doing it their way, it was a reminder that when we strip it all back, this is just a woman who’s become a mum.”