In a new profile of Meghan Markle, aka the Duchess of Sussex, The Cut writer Allison P. Davis details a day in the life of the princess who walked away from a fairy tale and found her own. The article was a glimpse into Markle’s new life in Montecito, California — where she and Prince Harry wound up after stepping down as working royals in early 2020 — and revealed some new information about the Sussexes’ home life, parenthood, and life in “The Firm.” Here are some of the most interesting takeaways Markle shared.
She may return to Instagram.
Markle left behind her personal social media account when she was preparing to join the royal family. She deleted her own accounts and joined Prince Harry, Prince William, and Kate Middleton on the @KensingtonRoyal account. The transition, she told The Cut, was jarring, especially after Archie was born. She told Davis, “There’s literally a structure by which if you want to release photos of your child, as a member of the family, you first have to give them to the Royal Rota (the UK media pool) ... Why would I give the very people that are calling my children the N-word a photo of my child before I can share it with the people that love my child? You tell me how that makes sense and then I’ll play that game.”
But several years later and a different kind of platform, the Duchess of Sussex may just make her social media return. “Do you want to know a secret?” Markle told Davis. “I’m getting back … on Instagram.”
Archie calls the palm trees in their yard “momma” and “papa.”
When looking for their new “castle” in Montecito, they kept being drawn to the same property over and over, but they resisted going to see it in person: They didn’t have jobs, had been cut off from the royal purse, and didn’t think they’d be able to afford the $14.65 million home. When they did see it, it was love at first sight... in no small part due to a particular aspect of the landscaping. “One of the first things my husband saw when we walked around the house was those two palm trees,” she told The Cut. “See how they’re connected at the bottom? He goes ‘My love, it’s us.’” And now, she reports, every day when Archie walks by them he says, “Hi, Momma. Hi, Papa.”
They are teaching Archie the importance of manners.
One thing that comes up throughout the article is that parents of two are striving to teach Archie that “manners make the man.” (Which is the kind of motto you’d expect from the son of a prince, right?) From esoteric table manners (“salt and pepper are always passed together”) to politeness (reminding him to say “please” and “thank you” at all times) to actively reminding him of his privilege and responsibility to others (they make and distribute care packages with food and water to give to unhoused people they pass by... though Archie sometimes snacks on the peanut butter crackers and granola bars while putting them together).
They go to birthday parties.
You’d think the Duke and Duchess of Sussex would skip the raucous birthday parties we all have to attend, but no! Recently, Markle shared with the magazine, they took Archie to a classmate’s birthday party. The adult attendees were surprised she showed up... and apparently didn’t know how to act. “I was in a bouncy castle and I saw this 1-year-old inside,” she recalls to Davis. “I was like ‘Where’s your mom?’ and this mom on the outside goes. ‘Oh hi! I’m here! I wasn’t sure if I should come in.’ I was like ‘Do you need your child? Of course you can come in.’” So... in case you were wondering, she’s apparently literally approachable.
She does preschool pickups.
Markle is no stranger to that absolutely amazing hug you get once school is dismissed. (Davis observed Archie excitedly repeating “Momma” over and over and running up to her.) It’s something Markle said she never would have been able to do had they not stepped back from their role as “working royals” lest it involve the press snapping pictures. “Sorry, I have a problem with that,” she told Davis. “That doesn’t make me obsessed with privacy. That makes me a strong and good parent protecting my child.”
(And, in case you were wondering: The other parents don’t appear to be used to it. Davis observed two other moms at pickup doing a double-take when they saw the duchess and, like, yeah, we get it.)
Her mother is over a lot.
Markle was born and raised in Los Angeles, a little more than 90 minutes up the Pacific Coast Highway from Montecito, where her mom is a social worker and her dad was a lighting director. While she has been estranged from her father since before her wedding, her mom, Doria Ragland, lives close enough that she’s over regularly, Markle shared with The Cut.
Markle has been open about how much her mother means to her in the past. In a 2014 post on her defunct lifestyle blog The Tig, she described Ragland as “Dreadlocks. Nose ring. Yoga instructor. Social worker. Free spirit. Lover of potato chips & lemon tarts. And if the DJ cues Al Green’s soul classic ‘Call Me,’ just forget it.” She went on, “She will swivel her hips into the sweetest little dance you’ve ever seen, swaying her head and snapping her fingers to the beat like she’s been dancing since the womb. And you will smile. You won’t be able to help it. You will look at her and you will feel joy.”
She and Prince Harry beatbox to make Lilibet smile.
In a particularly cute moment in the article, Markle and Archie are coming home from day care and Harry is just getting off a phone call. Davis describes an unsmiling Lilibet coming into the room with her nanny. “When there is a small person in the room not smiling,” Davis wrote, “it is a reflex to do anything to entertain them.” This apparently prompts Harry to start dancing to his own beatboxing, which prompts Markle (and Davis) to join in. We love the idea of a beatboxing prince and princess attempting to entertain a dour ginger baby. (Eventually, the baby smiles. Mission accomplished.)