After much speculation as to when they would fly back to the UK, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are officially back on The Queen’s turf. But their grand return hasn’t exactly been what they expected.
On Monday night, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex took the stage at the One Young World summit at Bridgewater Hall in Manchester where she addressed 2,000 people about gender equality.
The speech, however, received plenty of backlash from royal observers, with many deeming the address self-serving.
For the occasion, Meghan spoke about her own experience being young and ambitious, while referring to herself as “the girl from Suits” (her old TV show) who eventually earned a “seat at the table” with world leaders and activists.
She also mused about how drastically her life had changed in recent years, and told the audience that they are the future.
At the end of the speech, critics pointed out that the duchess had made one brief anecdote about a woman other than herself, while referencing herself 54 times.
“I can’t visualise or comprehend how the 2,000 young people understood a word of what she was talking about,” Ingrid Seward, editor-in-chief of Majesty Magazine, said to The Sun.
“It made no sense. It was all about her and related everything to herself.
“I don’t think she knew what she was talking about. It was just ‘me, me, me’ and praising herself.”
Meanwhile, royal author Phil Dampier said the duchess was “using her acting skills” when she told the crowd it was “very nice” to be back in the UK.
WATCH: Meghan Markle launches Archetypes podcast. Article continues after video
“She clearly launched a PR offensive having received hostility from the British press,” he told the Mail Online.
“If she met most members of the public in the UK she wouldn’t get good reception, but on stage with an audience that tends to be on her side – or is inclined to support her – she could get away saying very little and being applauded for it.”
Indeed, Meghan and Harry’s reception in the UK wasn’t ideal, with many even protesting by holding signs that told the couple to “get lost”.
Appearing on Today Extra, royal editor Russell Myers from the Daily Mirror told Sylvia Jeffreys and David Campbell that Meghan and Harry did not get “the great welcome that they expected”.
He referenced the backlash surrounding Meghan’s One Young World speech, as well as the criticism of her profile with The Cut and her new podcast, Archetypes.
“This looks like trying to rebrand themselves in the UK, but it is not going well,” he said.
“They are trying to launch themselves into the stratosphere by still sort of giving it to the Royal Family by sort of sticking it to them. A lot of people, certainly in the UK and now across the world, we have seen headlines in America that I don’t think they would even have dreamed of saying, ‘why on earth are they still savaging the Royal Family?’ We know they didn’t like their time when they were royals for a very, very brief period.
“Harry looked very, very awkward to be there. He is probably as sick of it as the rest of us are at the moment.”