The Duchess of Sussex has today faced a backlash for featuring the 15 ‘women she admires’ on the September issue of British Vogue.
The line-up of women she admires includes celebrities, politicians and activists known for championing issues such as diversity, body positivity, transgender rights and climate change.
But the 37-year-old, who gave birth to son Archie in May, has been slammed by critics for failing to include the Queen in the magazine and for ignoring nurses, doctors, lawyers and teachers on the cover.
Brexit MEP Ann Widdecombe told the Sun: ‘Royals have not only got to keep out of politics but they have got to be seen to keep out of politics.’
Critics have also hit out at Meghan for ‘involving herself in politics’ and ‘considering herself more of an A lister than a member of the royal family’.
Ingrid Seward of Majesty magazine told the Sun: ‘The Duchess of Sussex has done a huge favour for the House of Conde Naste and rather less for the House of Windsor’.
The duchess, a former actress and avowed feminist, had initially been asked to appear on the cover herself. But Vogue’s editor-in-chief Edward Enninful said Meghan refused as she thought it would appear too ‘boastful’.
The Duchess of Sussex is the guest editor on the September issue of British Vogue (Pictured: Jacinda Ardern, Salma Hayek Pinault, Laverne Cox, Jameela Jamil, Yara Shahidi and Gemma Chan, Christy Turlington Burns, Adwoa Aboah, Adut Akech, Ramla Ali, Sinead Burke, Francesca Hayward, Jane Fonda, Greta Thunberg and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie)
In a video posted to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s Instagram (pictured), she appears alongside editor Vogue’s editor-in-chief Edward Enninful picking the line-up of women she admires
One critic slammed the Duchess for failing to include the Queen on the cover – while another said she should have picked a nurse, teacher or doctor
Meghan Markle told photographer ‘I want to see freckles’ and gave ‘clear instructions’ for her 15 Vogue cover stars to look natural
The photographer who captured portraits for Meghan Markle‘s edition of Vogue has revealed the royal phoned him with ‘clear instructions’ for the magazine’s 15 cover shots.
Peter Lindbergh said Meghan phoned him on the morning of a photoshoot in New York, telling Vogue: ‘My instructions from the Duchess were clear: ‘I want to see freckles!’. Well, that was like running through open doors for me. I love freckles.’
A close-up of model Adwoa Aboah on the cover, showing her freckled skin, proves the photographer followed Meghan’s instructions to the letter.
The photographer was personally chosen by the duchess and editor-in-chief Edward Enninful, after he worked with Meghan for her 2016 Vanity Fair cover story, in which she spoke about her romance with Prince Harry for the first time.
Enninful revealed that he and Meghan had ‘exactly the same idea at exactly the same time’ to select the German photographer to help create the cover of the September issue.
The images were shot over three continents and several days in June, with separate shoots happening in New York, Sweden and London.
It was shortly before the New York shoot that Meghan phoned Peter and explicitly told him she wanted to see ‘freckles’ in the photographs.
He also revealed that ‘natural’ was a word that repeatedly came up in cover conversations, saying: ’I hate retouching, I hate make-up. I always say, ‘Take the make-up off!’
The Duchess becomes the first royal to guest-edit the fashion bible, bringing together 15 ‘trailblazers’ and ‘changemakers’ for a special ‘Forces for Change’ issue.
Meghan’s edition includes actress Jane Fonda, 81, and climate change campaigner Greta Thunberg, 16 among other famous faces.
One online commenter tweeted it was ‘vacuous rubbish’ and another called the magazine ‘absolutely awful’.
Royal commentator Rob Jobson told Sky News Meghan’s cover was ‘right on and ticks all the boxes’, but warned against getting involved in politics by asking the New Zealand Prime Minister to take part.
He also commented on Meghan working on the guest edit while on maternity leave – when she did not meet the US President.
He added: ‘She picked a conversation she had with Michelle Obama, this was done while she was on maternity leave, but she wasn’t around for when Donald Trump was here for the state visit.
‘You have got to be quite careful, if you want a voice, that is great. That is perfect if you are not necessarily a member of the Royal Family.
‘But, she has got to be very careful not to be partisan and I think that whilst you are using this for a force of good, you have just got to be a little bit careful on the politics side.’
Author and broadcaster Bobby Friedman claims Meghan sees herself ‘more of an A-lister celebrity rather than a member of the Royal Family.’
Mr Friedman told Sky News: ‘The difficulty that Meghan has is that this comes on the back of a very few difficult months for her.
‘Where the impression, probably unfairly, that people are getting is that Meghan sees her self as an A-lister, as a Taylor Swift or Beyonce, not as a member of the Royal Family.
‘You have to remember that for the Royal Family in this country we have a social contract, they give us and in return, we support them, financially and emotionally.
‘What the impression you get with Meghan Markle at the moment, unfortunately, is that she doesn’t want to do the hard yard.
‘She is happy turning up at London fashion week, she is happy going on the stage of Hamilton.
‘Can she do it in the provinces on a wet Wednesday in November? You get the impression that she doesn’t really want to.
‘It is that kind of LA, behind high gates home keep to keep the public out. You had it with Archie’s Christening, that not being made public and with the Godparents not being made public.
‘You have the debacle at Wimbledon where she had to ask her security guards to tell people to not take photographs of her.
‘The discussion last week from Palace staff about not approaching her and Harry or petting their dog when they are out and about in Windsor.
‘All of this gives a sense, a bit unfairly, that she is in it for the celebrity, that she sees herself as an A-lister.
‘So choosing at this moment to edit a fashion magazine is a mistake and choosing to do it this way, as Robert mentioned before she is choosing political figures.
‘She is politicising the Royal Family and I think that goes too far and is unwise.’
A candid photograph released alongside the September cover pictures the duchess in the workroom of the Smart Works office in London
In a video posted to the Sussex’s Instagram page today, a visibly pregnant Meghan appears alongside Enninful as they put the finishing touches to the magazine.
The post says the Duchess spent the last seven months creating ‘an issue of inclusivity and inspiration, focusing on what connects us rather than what divides us.’
She said she wanted to focus on the ‘women she admires’ from the ‘frontline of fashion, film, tech and wellness’. Meghan has also selected content for the issue which, according to Mr Enninful, shows she is willing to wade into issues of ‘female empowerment, mental health, race or privilege’.
Meghan’s trailblazers include actress Jane Fonda, mental health campaigner and model Adwoa Aboah, transgender Orange Is the New Black actress Laverne Cox, climate change campaigner Greta Thunberg and New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern.
It represents one of the most radical moves in Vogue’s 100-year history, with the magazine saying it considers the new September issue to be its most important edition of the year.
The Duchess beams as she stands alongside Vogue’s editor-in-chief Edward Enninful
The 16th image on the cover is a mirror to ‘include the reader and encourage them to use their own platforms to effect change’ – the duchess’s idea. Prince Charles, Prince Harry and the Duchess of Cambridge have all tried their hand at being journalists in recent years to plug causes close to their hearts.
Kate was also the cover star of the Vogue centenary issue in 2016. However, rarely has a collaboration been so ‘woke’ – a political term for being socially aware over issues such as race and sexual equality.
It makes clear that Meghan is determined not to give up the level of activism she enjoyed when working as an actress before she met the Queen’s grandson.
In 2015 she addressed the United Nations on the issue of female empowerment, highlighting how at the age of 11 she was so outraged by a sexist washing detergent advertisement on TV that she wrote to the manufacturers who agreed to pull it.
Royal commentator Dickie Arbiter told MailOnline royals had to ‘tread carefully’ when involving themselves in politics.
Mr Arbiter said: ‘It’s a very fine line, it seems everything today has a political connotation. I think [Meghan] has taken note of what she can do and can’t say.
‘Vogue is a vehicle for royals to put forward their views in terms of their favourite charities – it’s a vehicle to get the charity out there to a wider circle – a circle that has got the money to contribute. This will get people sitting up and putting their hands in their pockets.’
Take style tips from the Duchess of Sussex in a tweed dress by Gucci
The Duchess of Sussex has joined forces with Edward Enninful to guest edit the September issue of British Vogue.
Whilst she doesn’t appear on the cover of the magazine, Meghan is pictured looking impossibly chic in the workroom of the Smart Works office in London.
She’s wearing a cream sleeveless dress by Gucci in the photo, which features a check print tweed fabric and a pretty rose and ribbon bow brooch. Chanel might be known as the boucle experts, but Gucci has its fair share of perfect tweed pieces, and we’re in love with this one!
It hails from the Resort ’19 collection and is available to buy now at NET-A-PORTER, so click (right) to invest in a classic.
Or if you’re feeling the need for tweed after seeing Meghan looking so glowing, how about one of the more affordable alternatives from our edit below instead? SHEIN, River Island, Mango and SilkFred have all got options that will do the trick.
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Some royal fans expressed concern at the edition with a number of Twitter users commenting that it is ‘absolutely awful’
Meghan’s royal engagements during pregnancy
October 15: Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced Meghan was pregnant with her first child
October 16-October 31: Meghan and Harry undertook official royal visit to Australia, Fiji, the Kingdom of Tonga, and New Zealand
November 2: Returned to England
November 13: Pair attended a Commemorative Dinner for the African Parks Network – of which Harry is president – at Kensington Palace
November 15: Duke and Duchess visited BBC Broadcasting House in London with members of the Royal Foundation Taskforce on the Prevention of Cyberbullying.
Also attended a Mental Health Innovation volunteers’ workshop at BBC Studioworks
Then joined the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for an official dinner at Victoria House, Bloomsbury Square
November 19: Meghan and Harry attended the Royal Variety Performance
November 21: Duchess of Sussex opened the Hubb Community Kitchen in London
December 6: Attended a board meeting for the Royal Foundation alongside her husband and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
December 10: Attended British Fashion Council Awards at the Royal Albert Hall
December 11: Duke and and Duchess of Sussex attended board meeting in London for The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust
December 12: Duchess hosted Rufus Norris, Artistic Director of the National Theatre, at Clarence House
December 18: Attended a Reception at Buckingham Palace for the Royal Foundation alongside the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and her husband
Earlier in the day, she visited the Royal Variety Charity in Twickenham
December 20: Visited the Hubb Community Kitchen
January 10: Visited Smart Works, St. Charles Hospital, London
January 14: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex visited Birkenhead
January 16: The Duchess of Sussex, Patron, visited Mayhew, Trenmar Gardens, London
In the evening, the couple attended the Première of Cirque du Soleil ‘Totem’ at the Royal Albert Hall
January 21: Duchess received Jacinda Ardern MP, Prime Minister of New Zealand
January 23: Attended the judging of the Endeavour Fund Awards at Kensington Palace with her husband and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
January 30: Visited the Royal National Theatre, South Bank
January 31: Attended reception by the Association of Commonwealth Universities at City, University of London
February 1: Duke and Duchess of Sussex re-opened renovated theatre foyer at Bristol Old Vic
February 7: Attended the Endeavour Fund Awards at Drapers’ Hall, London
February 24-26: Duke and Duchess touched down for three-day visit in Morocco
March 8: Attended Queen’s Commonwealth Trust Panel Meeting to mark International Women’s Day at King’s College London
March 12: Received Dr. Joanna Newman, Chief Executive and Secretary General of the Association of Commonwealth Universities
March 22: Meeting at Smart Works, St. Charles Hospital, London
July 6: Baptism of baby Archie
Mr Arbiter told MailOnline members of the royal family have previously used Vogue as a platform to promote their favourite charitable causes.
He added: ‘This is not the first time a member of the royal family has done it – it’s a good vehicle.
‘I think the list of people that she’s going to be editing is an interesting list – I don’t think many people will know anything about them. Of course, everyone knows Jacinda Ardern, who has done a wonderful job. Jane Fonda is well known.
‘The rest of them are relatively unknown but until once they got in Vogue, you’ll know them. Vogue has a very faithful audience.
‘[The Duchess] has set herself an interesting list of people so I am curious to know who put the list together – I’m sure the Duchess had help with the input – these women come from far and wide; from Nigeria, south Sudan, Somalia.
‘It will make for an interesting read and I wish her the best of luck with it. I’m not sure what editing involves, but I doubt she’ll be writing pieces on the contributors.’
When asked for his thoughts on the Duchess working through her pregnancy, Mr Arbiter added: ‘People who fall pregnant don’t stop living, contributing, or thinking. It doesn’t mean you can’t make good use of your time.’
Insiders insist the duchess was not just a figurehead for the British Vogue project but a hands-on collaborator, involving herself in everything including artwork and layout.
There is a ‘candid conversation’ between Meghan and former US First Lady Michelle Obama.
Meghan has also chosen to feature an interview between Prince Harry and primatologist Dr Jane Goodall.
The duchess posed for just one image inside the magazine – an arty black and white shot in the London office of charity Smart Works, which helps get women from disadvantaged backgrounds ready for job interviews.
On the Sussex’s Instagram page a caption alongside the video reads: ‘Fifteen women were chosen for the cover including New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who generously lent her time to support The Duchess in this important issue.
‘The women first met last autumn during Their Royal Highness’ official tour of New Zealand.
‘Above, PM Ardern says: ‘One change that I’ve noticed over the course of my career, is just how polarised the world is now. I do think there is a solution to that though, and that’s ultimately us coming back to the humanity that we all share.’
‘Thank you PM Ardern for being an amazing force for change. For more details on this special project, please see previous post and stay tuned for more updates throughout the week.’
It is understood that discussions between Meghan and Vogue began in January and she has been working with the team for months.
A source told the Mail: ‘The duchess and Edward first met in January. She had already been approached by a huge number of publications. It wasn’t something she was actively looking to do but she had heard a lot about Edward and, as the patron of Smart Works, she thought that Vogue could be a good link-up. So actually initially she reached out to him.
‘Edward pitched for her to be on the front cover but this was something she wasn’t keen on…so the duchess just asked him ‘Would you consider me guest-editing?’ The September issue is a major deal in the fashion industry and no one has ever been allowed to guest-edit before.’
The source said Meghan had been ‘totally hands-on’ throughout her pregnancy with her new baby Archie.
‘The team met with her at Kensington Palace and her Frogmore Cottage home and there were ‘hundreds of emails and phone calls’.
The insider added: ‘This was a real project of passion for her throughout her pregnancy and Archie’s arrival.
‘It’s been a massive labour of love. It’s been a very collaborative process. But the levels of secrecy have been insane!’
In a statement, Meghan said: ‘These last seven months have been a rewarding process, curating and collaborating with Edward Enninful to take the year’s most-read fashion issue and steer its focus to the values, causes and people making impact in the world today.
‘Through this lens I hope you’ll feel the strength of the collective in the diverse selection of women chosen for the cover as well as the team of support I called upon within the issue to help bring this to light.
‘I hope readers feel as inspired as I do, by the forces for change they’ll find within these pages.’
Edward Enniful, the magazine’s editor, said: ‘To have the country’s most influential beacon of change guest edit British Vogue at this time has been an honour, a pleasure and a wonderful surprise.
‘As you will see from her selections throughout this magazine, she is also willing to wade into more complex and nuanced areas, whether they concern female empowerment, mental health, race or privilege.
‘From the very beginning, we talked about the cover – whether she would be on it or not.
‘In the end, she felt that it would be in some ways a ‘boastful’ thing to do for this particular project.
Meghan Markle’s Super Sixteen: Duchess of Sussex has handpicked the women she admires most for the cover of Vogue magazine, and the list includes YOU
Handpicked for her Vogue cover, they’re the women the Duchess admires most.
But she’s left one box blank to show YOU can be a game-changer, too.
1: FROM CHILD REFUGEE TO CHANEL SUPERMODEL
Adut Akech, 19. Model.
Adut Akech, 19. Model
As a child refugee, Akech moved from South Sudan to Kenya, where her family was too poor to send her to school. Aged seven, her parents emigrated to Adelaide, Australia. She became a model at 16 and calls Naomi Campbell her ‘second mum’.
CLAIM TO FAME: In 2018, she became only the second black model ever to close the Chanel haute couture show.
WISE WORDS: ‘I promised that I was going to make something out of myself; something really good that would make people proud of me, especially my mother. And that is exactly what I have done.’
ROYAL TIES: At last December’s British Fashion Awards, Meghan presented an award and Akech was nominated for Model of the Year.
Gemma Chan, 36. Actress and campaigner
2: RISING STAR WANTING TO END RACIAL PREJUDICE
Gemma Chan, 36. Actress and campaigner.
The UK-born Oxford law graduate turned her back on the legal profession for showbiz. She made her breakthrough in the romantic comedy Crazy Rich Asians and played Minn-Erva in this year’s superhero film Captain Marvel.
CLAIM TO FAME: Pole dancing with singer Celine Dion after this year’s Met Gala: ‘It was the best half an hour of my life.’
WISE WORDS: ‘You’re going to have moments of s**t, but pick yourself up, have a drink and carry on.’
ROYAL TIES: Dated posh comic Jack Whitehall for six years — he once poked fun at Harry’s ginger hair. She and Meghan share a passion for stamping out racial prejudice in the acting world.
Both made Vogue magazine’s best-dressed list last year, and use make-up artist Daniel Martin, who did Meghan’s wedding look.
3: TEEN WHO HOPES TO SAVE THE WORLD
Greta Thunberg, 16. Swedish climate change activist.
She visited the UK in April, and addressed MPs at Westminster. Sparked a ‘school strike for the climate’ among students from 112 countries. Only travels by train and in March made the cover of Time magazine.
CLAIM TO FAME: Nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize this year.
WISE WORDS: ‘Our house is falling apart and our leaders need to start acting accordingly.’
ROYAL TIES: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex used their Instagram account to follow Thunberg this month, as part of their ‘monthly social awareness approach’ to their favourite causes.
Greta Thunberg, 16. Swedish climate change activist
Jameela Jamil, 33
4: DJ WHO’S AT WAR WITH FAT SHAMING
Jameela Jamil, 33.
The Hampstead-born children’s TV presenter turned actor and activist advocates ‘body positivity’ through her I Weigh campaign.
CLAIM TO FAME: First solo female presenter of the BBC Radio 1 Chart show in 60 years.
WISE WORDS: ‘The next generation is f*****g done being excluded and looking up to a white straight thin version of what we are supposed to be. We’re done with the dinosaurs . . . and I’m here to kill the last of them.’
ROYAL TIES: Jamil’s I Weigh campaign was a cause the Sussexes chose to support on Instagram. Both women fell out with TV’s Piers Morgan, who accused Meghan of abandoning her friendship with him after she met Harry. Jamil described Morgan as ‘England’s biggest s**t stain’.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, 31. Nigerian novelist whose 2012 TEDx talk ‘We should all be feminists’ has been viewed more than five million times
5: WRITER FIGHTING GENDER INJUSTICE
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, 31. Nigerian novelist whose 2012 TEDx talk ‘We should all be feminists’ has been viewed more than five million times.
She’s collaborated with Dior on a ‘We Should All Be Feminists’ T-shirt, and in 2016 became the face of Boots No7 make-up. Splits her time between Nigeria and the U.S. and designs clothes with local tailors.
CLAIM TO FAME: Her novel Americanah, about race and identity, won the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction in 2013.
WISE WORDS: ‘I am angry. Gender as it functions today is a grave injustice. We should all be angry.’
ROYAL TIES: Both were invited to a private discussion with Michelle Obama at London’s Southbank Centre. She has said Meghan should be the next Head of the Commonwealth after the Queen, not Prince Charles.
6: MODEL & MENTAL HEALTH CAMPAIGNER
Adwoa Aboah, 27. Aristocratic supermodel and descendant of the Earl of Lonsdale, whose mother Camilla founded an artist management agency.
Developed depression as a teenager, when she started taking drugs. After an overdose and stay in a psychiatric hospital, she is now a passionate advocate for the promotion of mental health.
CLAIM TO FAME: The chosen cover star for new editor Edward Enninful’s first edition of Vogue in December 2017.
WISE WORDS: ‘When you’re that unhappy, it’s scary, it’s dark and horrible.’
ROYAL TIES: Supports Heads Together — the charity Meghan and Harry spearheaded with William and Kate until recently.
Adwoa Aboah, 27. Aristocratic supermodel and descendant of the Earl of Lonsdale, whose mother Camilla founded an artist management agency
Meghan says this image — a mirrored panel — represents ‘a mirror to include the reader
Meghan says this image — a mirrored panel — represents ‘a mirror to include the reader and encourage them to use their own platforms to effect change’. Whatever cards life has dealt you, the Duchess believes you are a force for change and are every bit as important as her chosen cover stars.
8: PM WHO HELPED HEAL NEW ZEALAND
Jacinda Ardern, 39.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister garnered widespread praise for her sensitive reaction, which included wearing a headscarf, to the mosque shootings in Christchurch in March by a white supremacist, when 51 were killed.
CLAIM TO FAME: Became the world’s youngest female head of government in October 2017 and only the second world leader to give birth while in office. Her TV presenter partner became a stay-at-home dad.
WISE WORDS: ‘I never, ever grew up as a young woman believing that my gender would stand in the way of doing anything I wanted.’
ROYAL TIES: Met the Duchess last October on the Sussexes’ first royal tour and has said: ‘I think it’s wonderful to have a woman in her position talk so strongly about issues of women’s representation and empowerment.’
Jacinda Ardern, 39, New Zealand Prime Minister
Francesca Hayward, 27. The ballerina was born in Nairobi and moved to Sussex aged two to live with her British grand-parents
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