Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Meghan's First Year: the Summer Season!

As the Duchess of Sussex enjoys the first weeks of motherhood with three-week-old Archie, I thought it the perfect time to reflect on Meghan's first year as a member of the royal family. In a new series of posts, we'll be discussing several areas from how she's used her role as a Duchess to bear a spotlight on causes close to her heart, to personal highlights and memorable fashion moments. The royal summer season is firmly underway, and with the Queen's garden parties and a host of calendar favourites coming up, we're stepping back to this time last year: Meghan's first summer season as a duchess.


Just three days after the royal wedding, the newly married Duke and Duchess of Sussex were determined to attend one very special event before jetting off on their honeymoon - the Prince of Wales' 70th birthday patronage celebration in the gardens of Buckingham Palace. Following Charles' invaluable support, particularly in the days leading up to the wedding, the couple wanted to join the future King in marking his life's work with those representing his patronages from all over the UK.


Meghan was elegant in the GOAT Flavia dress, a soft pink Philip Treacy hat and Tamara Mellon pumps.


The couple's first official appearance after their honeymoon was Trooping The Colour, the Queen's annual birthday parade. It's a glorious display of pomp and pageantry at its finest. It heralded the beginning of a new annual tradition for Meghan. The Duchess chose a soft pink Caroline Herrera number and Philip Treacy hat. When Archie is older he'll join his parents on the balcony.


Meghan wore a flowing Oscar de la Renta dress and Marks & Spencer hat for the wedding of Harry's cousin Celia McCorquodale and George Woodhouse at St Andrew and St Mary's Church in Stoke Rochford, Lincolnshire. During the engagement interview, Harry and Meghan spoke of the importance of getting to know Diana's family and by all accounts, they have been incredibly supportive. Diana's sister Jane was one of the first visitors to Frogmore Cottage following Archie's birth.


One of my favourite royal days last year came in June when the Duchess joined Her Majesty for a day of engagements in Chester. The pair travelled on the Royal Train the night before, the Queen's preferred mode of transport. They shared breakfast before arriving and both looked to be in excellent spirits; HM in gorgeous green and Meghan regal in a fabulous understated Givenchy dress with cape detail and a pair of earrings gifted by the Queen. At the time, royal author Ingrid Seward told People “This is happening at triple speed, She has jumped in straightaway.”


The itinerary offered a wonderful mix of engagements including a visit to Mersey Gateway Bridge. The Queen and the Duchess viewed the bridge before watching a performance by local school children called Bringing Communities Together: Halton’s river crossings over the ages. They also visited Storyhouse - a library, theatre and cinema. It is one of the country’s most successful cultural buildings, with one million customers in its first year. The engagement fitted in nicely with Meghan's former career as an actress.


During the visit, they participated in a moment of silence marking the one year anniversary of the Grenfell Fire. We didn't know then, but Meghan was quietly working on creating Together with the women of the Hubb community kitchen.


Nothing quite epitomises the royal summer season like a day at Royal Ascot. It conjures images of My Fair Lady, exquisite hats and timeless designs... To the delight of royal watchers, the newlyweds were in attendance arriving in style.


The Duchess selected a bespoke Givenchy white dress featuring an asymmetric midi hemline and white lace detailing. Once again, milliner Philip Treacy was on hand with the perfect accompanying hat.


It was a splendid afternoon, and we were treated to an array of shots of the couple mingling with family and friends. 


In late June, Harry and Meghan accompanied the Queen for a reception at Buckingham Palace to present awards to the Queen's Young Leaders for 2018. It was a very fitting engagement for the couple and the early stages of their work on behalf of the Commonwealth. During a speech Harry said: "I am committed to supporting the legacy of The Queen's Young Leaders and the 1.4 billion Commonwealth youth. I guess you can say you're stuck with me. I, together with my wife Meghan, look forward to convening young people from around The Commonwealth to hear your ideas, work with you to build platforms for you to collaborate and form partnerships, and continue to meet with many of you as we travel around in our work on behalf of The Royal Family." The Duchess was in Prada for the evening.


Another summer staple for the royals is polo. Harry and Meghan were joined by Serena Williams and her husband Alexis Ohanian for a sunny Saturday afternoon at the Audi Polo. Meghan was summer chic in a Shoshanna gingham print dress, Madewell Panama hat and Sarah Flint Grear sandals.


Meghan cheered her prince on once again the following day.


It was a sartorial smash hit when Meghan arrived for the ‘Your Commonwealth’ Youth Challenge Reception at Marlborough House in a vibrant yellow Brandon Maxwell design. 


The Duchess opted for olive green Ralph Lauren for the christening of Prince Louis at the Chapel Royal, St James's Palace in July. Months before the royal wedding, Meghan was baptised there.


Before travelling to Dublin for a two-day visit (we'll be covering the couple's overseas trips in a separate post), the Duke and Duchess of Sussex joined the Queen and members of the royal family for events marking the centenary of the Royal Air Force. Meghan wore a stylish 1950s inspired Dior dress and a Stephen Jones hat for the occasion.


The centrepiece of RAF100 was a magnificent flypast.


It was a very royal girls days out as the Duchesses enjoyed an afternoon of stellar tennis at Wimbledon. 


It was a natural joint event for Kate and Meghan. They both adore the sport and attended the tournament before they were married. Kate's patron of the AELTC and Meghan's close friend Serena Williams was in the final. Meghan opted for a Ralph Lauren ensemble featuring a blue stripe shirt and crisp white trousers.


Harry and Meghan officially opened the Nelson Mandela Centenary Exhibition at Southbank Centre's Queen Elizabeth Hall on 17 July. The Duke and Duchess also met Nelson Mandela’s granddaughter Zamaswazi Dlamini-Mandela. Speaking about the couple, she said: "Today's event is hugely significant - not only because we are here to celebrate the life of a great man in history, but also because we are able to educate the next generation, that we must never repeat the mistakes of the past. The visit of Their Royal Highnesses Harry and Meghan is a great honour. I hope by being here today they can be huge advocates for the exhibition so that as many people as possible can learn about what my grandfather was about." Meghan wore a sleeveless trench dress by Canadian brand House of Nonie.


As hoped for Meghan joined Harry for a charity fundraising polo match in aid of Sentebale at the Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club. Meghan channeled 1950s elegance in the Carolina Herrera V-Neck Faux Wrap Midi Dress. The midnight navy denim piece features cap sleeves, a surplice neckline and a pleated midi length skirt with front pockets. The silhouette of the dress was very much reminiscent of Grace Kelly's style.


A kiss for her Prince!


On her 37th birthday, Duchess Meghan celebrated the day in Surrey with Prince Harry and attended the wedding of Charlie van Straubenzee and Daisy Jenks. 


Prince Harry served as Best Man at the wedding of his childhood friend and joined his wife straight after the ceremony. Meghan chose the Club Monaco Shoanah dress (it's available in an updated colour scheme here) and a Philip Treacy hat. 


Fresh from August break, the Duke and Duchess returned to duties for a special performance of Hamilton in support of Sentebale. Meghan is a huge fan of the musical, it was the third time she had seen it. In 2016, she joined her friend Priyanka Chopra in New York and in February 2018 she and Harry enjoyed a showing in London. Meghan selected a chic tuxedo dress by Judith & Charles for the night. Fundraising to support and extend the work of Sentebale has been a cornerstone of Harry and Meghan's work over the past year. Indeed, Harry attended the polo cup in Rome last week and is set to attend a fundraising concert on June 11th for his charity. As you may have heard, there's growing speculation the Sussexes plan to undertake a two-week tour to Southern Africa in October. I imagine launching Sentebale in new countries will be a key element of that itinerary.


As for this summer, the Duchess is on maternity leave, however there's a very good chance we'll see her at Trooping The Colour on 8 June. The Times reports she hopes to attend several "big moments" over the season. 

50 comments:

  1. She truly jumped into the whirlwind without a backward glance last summer. I like most of her dresses so much. I hope Meghan feels well enough to attend Trooping the Colour on June 9th.

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    1. Agreed! It's amazing to look back at this and just see how much did took on - and so quickly.

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  2. memory lane....it's amazing how much was done in 1 year

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  3. Becca H in Colorado29 May 2019 at 22:15

    What a year! I remember how so many of us voiced our hope that Meghan would follow through on her promise to hit the ground running, and man did she ever! She had so many looks that I loved, my 2 most favorites being the 1950's-esque Dior and the Club Monaco she wore for the Straubenzee wedding.

    I'm sure we'll see Meghan for Trooping and Ascot and possibly many more. She's always treating us to surprise appearances.

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  4. I had forgotten some of these great looks! I love the Dior inspired one. Sometimes in my fantasy "if I were a princess" life I imagine having gorgeous vintage inspired looks

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  5. If Meghan were to attend trooping the color, the Queen's Young Leaders and RAF outfits would make great repeats. Meghan looked great in them, and I can't think of anything anyone could criticize about either of the outfits. I'd love to see the pink outfit styled with a hat.

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    1. She just had a baby.....talk about pressure

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    2. Even if Meghan miraculously looses all pregnancy weight in a month, none of those clothes would fit her current bust size. We’ll have to wait post-breastfeeding for those.
      Personally , I hope for a new dress and the Ascot hat at Trooping.

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  6. I want to start out by saying I think Meghan should take as much time as she feels she needs to recover and bond with her new son. That being said...I want my style muse and inspiration back right now, like today! While I loved her pregnancy style, I'm not going to be pregnant again in this lifetime but I can wear items that Meghan wore BA (before Archie) and am desperately needing some new summer style/fashion inspiration!! So Meghan if you're reading this, please take all the time you need but maybe make an appearance tomorrow :)

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    1. Exactly, Lauri. She did a lot of bonding before Archie was born! Maybe Harry could stay home and let us see Meghan -- I had forgotten how she looks nonpregnant.

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  7. Dear Charlotte
    Thank you for this refresher in Meghan’s stunning style. I love all these looks and I’m impressed at the variety of looks. Her style is so coolly elegant.
    Meghan (&Harry!) are a much needed respite!
    RG

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  8. On the fashion front, I am impressed with how well Meghan has done with the British custom of wearing hats. Before the wedding she wore two beret type hats and I was worried she was't going to branch out much. She surprised me in a very good and amazing way. I love her hats!

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  9. My favorites were the tuxedo dress by Judith & Charles and the Carolina Herrera V-Neck Faux Wrap Midi Dress. I think that's when she carried the J Crew rattan clutch I tried to find. :-) And of course the Ralph Lauren ensemble (which I hope she bought with the Blazer and we see it for an evening event).

    Can you imagine going from American actress to owning 6 hats - just like that? Wow.

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  10. Dear Charlotte,

    Thank you so much for assuaging our Meghan drought with these gorgeous photos and memories of her very busy first year as a Royal. Meghan and her Prince are so beautiful. It's great to feast my eyes on them again. I look forward to reliving her first year with you here while she is healing and bonding with baby Archie. I love Meghan's style. Thanks you again.

    R

    This is my third attempt at this. The system seems to lose it every time.

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  11. My head is spinning simply reading all the events Meghan attended in quite a short space of time. Lovely memories Charlotte and I look forward to many more from the Sussexes.

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  12. Thanks, Charlotte, for this review. I took a break from checking this blog (not because I don't love it, but because my attention was focused on non-royal things) after Harry and Meghan's wedding, so I missed all of these events. I only got back to reading shortly before Archie's birth! Therefore, I look forward to catching up (in a way) with all of your review posts! :-)

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  13. I have to say, Meghan did very well with the outfits I've seen in this post. I was immediately drawn to the yellow sleeveless dress. Wow! It looks amazing on her. I also really like the Carolina Herrera denim dress and again, it looks great on her. I can see myself wearing that dress, even though I tend not to like midi dresses because I have skinny lower legs and I feel the length makes the legs looks even skinnier. I can't wait to see what else I missed since Harry and Meghan's wedding, while I was on sabbatical from royal watching. ;-)

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  14. Love all of her choices except the blueand white dress for the wedding and the cream pants for Wimbeldon.

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    1. Anonymous at 14:10, I forgot to write about those pants when I commented earlier. Talk about wide-legged! I am not a fan of those types of pants, esp. white/cream ones, and Meghan is very slender, so I just did not like that look.

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    2. I agree with Anon. about the blue and white dress especially. Honestly, of all Meghan's looks since she became a royal-to-be and now a royal, that's the only one I feel was a mistake. The dress swallowed her, and the cheap fascinator was equally unsuccessful. Some cheap headgear is cute, but that one just looked bedraggled! And the wide-legged pants might look good on some CD ery tall women, but even with heels they didn't look good on Meghan.

      But that yellow dress is still one of my top 3 looks for her since she and Harry became, publicly, an item! The color makes her gorgeous skin glow and was just inches flattering on her.

      I still love her activities more than her wardrobe, though!

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  15. Rita in Florida30 May 2019 at 18:07

    Boy, jumping in with both feet she certainly did! First can we all just linger over how Prince Harry looks at her??

    The olive Ralph Lauren for the christening was my favorite! The white handkerchief dress was a disaster in every way.

    From a style perspective, I would like to see Meghan up her accessory game. I know she favors high fashion and perhaps believes too many accessories take away from the design. I like most of her fashion choices but believe many lack polish that a scarf/larger earring/necklace/bracelet would provide. Particularly when she wears her hair up.

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  16. With 3 exceptions, I actually liked all of these looks (and I don't usually say that about Meghan). If only she dressed like this more often.

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  17. What a great fashion retrospective! I particularly like the Duchess in v-neck dresses, like at polo and Hamilton. I also liked her Ascot look better now than at first glance. Hoping she's enjoying her maternity leave! Thanks, Charlotte, for giving us a Meghan-fix in the interim!

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  18. oh i must say i love the duchess meghan they way she dresses and the way she move around hmm looking forward on her second trooping colour as a royal family member i heard that they will be splitting again according to emily andrews the royal foundation will no longer fab 4 its true

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  19. Great work, Charlotte. Thank you.

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  20. The summer numbers work out like this: 17 days - 10 days being social at family and a friend's occasions and 7 days meeting the public in an official capacity.

    10 days – 2 family birthdays: garden party celebrating father-in-law birthday and a parade celebrating grandmother-in-law birthday, 2 weddings: a cousin and a best friend, a nephew’s christening, a day at the races, 3 polo events, and one tennis match.

    7 days – day out with the Queen, a UK national church service and 2 days in Ireland – same day, 2 awards ceremonies, 1 exhibit opening, 1 play

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    1. Not bad for two post-wedding months that included time off for a honeymoon. (August is the Royals' holiday month so that really shouldn't be part of the tally.) If there were too many more on the list, the trolls would be after her for trying to show up Catherine who started slowly and carefully so as not to create another Diana debacle.

      Also, let's not forget to count the numbers not on the list. Those days spent working on the Together cookbook as well as numerous behind the scenes meetings with organizations to determine which will best work as patronages and such.

      Then let's add the numbers of increased sales and job creation as a result of the clothes worn or ticket sales for the performances/exhibits on all of the media reported occasions. Whether they be of the social/family/friend level or national variety, the impact is the same.

      Very good numbers, I'd say.

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    2. Hi Philly,
      It's actually a 3 month tally (June, July, August) and of course August counts - it's a part of the calendar. There's a May event in there as well. I didn't offer judgement on the numbers - rather explained why she was so visible last summer and in what relationship according to the public record Charlotte so kindly provided. She was a guest at all these events - not a contributor to a cause. Charlotte mentioned she would cover Meghan's own work with causes in another post.

      I don't think anyone has any expectations of Meghan. She's the wife of a Prince who is Sixth in line to the throne. Who is worried about whether she's "working" or not? Sure you can tout her for contributing to the economy of the fashion industry by buying and wearing clothes - just like you can Jennifer Garner and Melania Trump and Hailey Baldwin/Bieber. I don't think Hamilton was having trouble selling tickets, nor Wimbledon.
      Nelson Mandela had a reputation and recognition before Meghan visited and the awards ceremonies were put together by the Queen's staff and are invitation only. Again, I focus on the coverage of this post, because that is the topic. Her first summer was very interesting and fun. She has a great life - she got to go on a honeymoon AND an August vacation and pick out clothes to wear and attend high profile events.



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    3. Florida Moxie, so...what's your point? I'm kind of thick. Spell it out for me.

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    4. I'm just writing a response to Florida Moxie. I think there is the expectation that Meghan will pull her weight with "The Firm." She is Harry's wife, and Harry is a key player in the royal family. She will have her own charities, two of them passed down from the Queen. The Sussexes plan to spend their lives as humanitarians and philanthropists. Harry and Meghan said that they want to be effective advocates of certain causes, and intend to use their "celebrity" to raise money and bring attention to them. The appearance at Hamilton
      was as a guest, but it was a fundraiser for Sentebale, so Hamilton was doing charity work, so to speak.

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    5. Sentebale is her husband's charity. Do you think you are doing charity work when you are your husband's date to his charity event? She watched him play polo for Sentebale as well. I would totally support my famous husband in his endeavors and his family's endeavors but I wouldn't take credit for it. I don't think Meghan does either. Is that a point?

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    6. Not sure of the point at all, but in my opinion, there are (at least) two functions of an RF member. The public wants to see members of the family present at ceremonies, at commemorative functions, at presentations -- the Queen has been known for 93 years. There is a continuity and sense of safety associated with her, especially knowing their presence during WWII. A second function would be to give back, which is what Meghan is interested in. She sought out the Hubb women on her own and found a solution to their problem. She didn't have to do that -- it was not expected, and I'm sure she enjoyed every moment. She made a great life for herself before she met Harry, and it's gotten even better. She is fulfilling the function of Prince Harry's wife and fulfilling her own need to assist in the world.

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    7. Florida Moxie: I was simply responding to your statement "I don't think anyone has any expectations of Meghan" by saying that she will be a working member of the Royal Family and as such she will be involved in humanitarian and philanthropic endeavors. Meghan has just passed the one year mark as a member of the Royal Family, so one would expect that her portfolio of charities and causes will grow with the years. As for Hamilton, I was just saying that it was the production that was helping Harry's Sentebale, so she wasn't attending to boost attendance at the play, as your remark seem to suggest she was seen as doing,("I don't think Hamilton was having trouble selling tickets"), unless I misunderstood you? I wasn't saying Meghan was taking credit for it. Sorry if I misunderstood your point.

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    8. very good Allison in US3 June 2019 at 14:25

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  21. Lovely to look back and smile but with that said I look forward to years of the wonderful inspiring work that is ahead for this wonderful family after Meghan has taken this precious time to herself with Archie and Harry.

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  22. I’m completely in love with her style. Every single look is elevated and appropriate, luxe yet relaxed, easy elegance, polished and perfectly proportioned in every way. She is a radiantly beautiful style Star and Harry looks like he stepped out of GQ. What a couple! I can’t WAIT to see Archie again!!!

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  23. Meghan has a lot of power. For someone who is not attending any event next week, she is all anyone is talking about.

    #teamNasty

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    1. Agree! She sure is the one they are all talking about.

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    2. You make a very good point! The real shame is that a reporter brought up Meghan's remarks, obviously to get a response out of his interviewee, which is always easy to do. The response by the interviewee included that she would make a wonderful duchess. I can't write more without stepping into the off-limits area of politics but I can heap criticism on the "journalist." I'm sure Meghan just rolled her eyes again and told Harry to never mind!

      If I may continue in the problem-with-the-news vein, I notice there is a technique being used to circumvent being accused of printing bad things about the RF. I'll make up an example -- they print a story about a princess, say, who looked beautiful and showed her svelte figure when in reality she is overweight. So it makes people read it and think, oh she's not thin. OK to be not thin but it puts out there something negative.

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    3. I absolutely think that reporter set trump up. And it worked.

      But that reporter should be ashamed of what he did. Whether shes British or not, shes a member of the royal family and should.not be trolled like that by a bloody British reporter! I'm very glad to see its backfired spectacularly.

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    4. bluhare, I so agree. I didn't realize when I read the report that it was a British reporter. Shame on him!

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  24. She looked incredible last summer! Every inch aduchess. What a accomplishement in such short time. Great post, thanks Charlotte

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    1. Poor Harry's face looked like a rain cloud today!

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  25. Thanks Charlotte, it's certainly been a crazy year and to see how much has happened. It's remarkable to think back just when you first started this blog how much of a "giddy Kipper" we all were with the first glimmers of the romance. I must say, and it's been well commented on, it's totally disheartening to hear the enormous amount of vile trolling, negativity and nastiness that's gone on against her - and for you too Charlotte to have to deal with. In a way, that's why I've long stopped looking at "comment" sections so much. I've continued to follow both blogs because your coverage is superb, and I just wanted to let you know you do an amazing job Charlotte, and hope that in the future you won't have to tolerate such negativity, as indeed Meghan won't. I still am hopeful that society will moderate this dark and ugly side and that kindness and tolerance will be the standard. "Love always wins" as they say. Looking forward to the next year and opportunities it will bring this new family.

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  26. a beautiful year and they kept their smiles despite so much bad press, racism and negativity they kept their heads above water. only more beautiful times ahead for this couple and their beautiful baby. wishing them the best. meghan is beautiful and they are a handsome couple

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  27. Okay, when are we going to see a new photo of baby Archie?? I thought we'd see him at 2 weeks, similar to the Cambridge baby schedule, but he's a month old now and still no photo :( I can understand why, perhaps, they didn't release a photo today so as to not draw attention away from D-Day events. And with the Trooping coming up they wouldn't want to draw attention away from the Queen, so I'm really hoping next week *fingers crossed*. Have you heard anything about the release of a new Archie photo Charoltte?

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    1. Hello Lauri,

      No word at all on Archie. I've been thinking perhaps Father's Day? I heard we'll definitely see Meghan at Trooping on Saturday :)

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    2. Lauri, thank you so much for the link. I *think* the photo was from a computer hack that happened to the photographer last year.

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    3. Well isn't that embarrassing! I'm sorry and thank you for not printing the link.

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    4. Not at all Lauri, I only found out about it recently. I think a number of photos circulated online some months ago.

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