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Meghan Markle's critics place more importance on her profile than her pregnancy

‘Just get on with it.’

FROM TOUCHING THE bump without permission to passing comment on various aspects of the mother’s appearance, approach or attitude, there’s little doubt that pregnancy often results in the eschewing of standard social etiquette.

preg1 Source: Shutterstock

While we know that invading personal space or offering unsolicited advice is considered taboo in polite company, the same rules don’t seem to apply when a woman is carrying a child.

Pregnancy isn’t synonymous with public property, and yet women have, for years, lamented the nine months they spent under scrutiny from wider society.

This week, Meghan Markle, who announced her pregnancy earlier this month, was unable to attend some scheduled events on her 16-day tour of Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga.

Royal tour of Australia - Day Five Source: Ian Vogler/PA images

The Duchess of Sussex’s decision to curtail her schedule was met with instant backlash from members of the public, who made reference to Meghan’s privilege as a royal when deriding her decision to take a step back from duties during the tour.

Some of the criticism has been rooted firmly in the disparity between Meghan and the countless women who aren’t in a position to eschew work commitments while pregnant, while others are implying that coverage of her cancellation creates a narrative that pregnancy and illness are synonymous.

As a member of the British Royal Family, Meghan will never be fortunate enough to avoid criticism, and to think otherwise would be naive.

Derision comes with the territory – as a celebrity and a royal – both of which are positions Meghan has held.

But perhaps it’s worth remembering that Meghan is a pregnant woman first and foremost, and there will be occasion when her status as the Duchess of Sussex will have to take second place.

Meghan is in the relatively early stages of her pregnancy when nausea and exhaustion are commonplace, and yet she is expected to meet with foreign dignitaries, engage with audiences, and navigate public opinion, all under the glare of international flashbulbs.

Throughout the course of her pregnancy, details of her progress will make news headlines and global bulletins, and in the days leading up to her labour, she will have her every move tracked by a clamouring media.

Mere hours after giving birth next year, she will be required to stand on the steps of a hospital ward, looking impossibly groomed in order to fulfill royal tradition and royalist expectation.

It might be worth considering this before denying her a brief break on an international press tour.

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About the author:

Niamh McClelland

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