Meghan Markle has been burned – and not by the candles on her birthday cake.
The Duchess of Sussex has taken a roasting for her 40x40 initiative, which saw her and actress Melissa McCarthy appear in a video where Meghan asks 40 of her friends to donate 40 minutes of their time to help a woman reentering the workforce after the disaster of lockdown.
“Over 2 million women in the US alone and tens of millions around the world have lost their jobs due to Covid, and I think if we all do it and all commit 40 minutes to some sort of act of service, we can create a ripple effect,” the duchess says.
Meghan Markle has teamed up with Melissa McCarthy to promote a special initiative on her 40th birthday. #MeghanMarkle40 pic.twitter.com/tbPqmJlJqM— HARRY AND MEGHAN (@HMSussexSquad) August 4, 2021
Yet, as with everything Meghan does, there has been a backlash. The hosts of Australia’s Today show, Sophie Walsh and Karl Stefanovic, didn’t hold their tongues.
“I love that she's lecturing people about getting back to the workplace and she quit her job as a royal after less than two years,” Sophie said.
Karl added that Meghan and her husband, Prince Harry, were making millions “working from home,” thanks to their deals with Netflix and Spotify.
In Meghan’s birthday video, released on the Archewell Foundation website, the duchess giggles as she chats to funnywoman Melissa about the campaign.
“Because I'm turning 40, I’m asking 40 friends to donate 40 minutes of their time to help mentor a woman who’s mobilising back into the workforce,” Meghan says.
READ MORE| Prince Harry and Meghan Markle want their daughter Lilibet christened at Windsor Castle
Melissa, wearing floral prints, pearls and a variety of headgear, and sipping a cup of tea repeatedly interrupts Meghan with suggestions of tea parties, yacht parties or even a Suits reunion to celebrate her birthday instead.
Royal biographer Angela Levin was scathing about the video. “Anyone else think that Meghan and her friend Melissa McCartney [sic] were mocking the queen in the birthday video?” she tweeted. “Both holding old-fashioned cup and saucer like Meg used in her blog after her first meeting with queen. Melissa sipping from the cup wearing fancy hat and gloves?
“The mockery shows what [Meghan] thinks of the royal family. She's got what she wanted and is confident she can outsmart us all. We just have to wait for Harry's outpouring in his memoir.”
The online peanut gallery didn’t hold back either, with comments like, “Maybe one day she might have the heart to give her dad 40 minutes of her precious time” and “cringeworthy”.
One commentator remarked that the initiative could be a money-making scheme for the Sussexes. “I figured out what is probably her plan. All 40 of her mentors have to sign her contract to video their mentoring session with the approved "sessionee". These will be turned over to Spotify or Netflix as part fulfillment of their contract. Win-win as the money comes in!”
Anyone else think that Meghan and her friend Melissa McCartney were mocking the Queen in the birthday video? Both holding old fashioned cup and saucer like Meg used in her blog after 1st meeting with queen. Melissa sipping from the cup wearing fancy hat and gloves?— Angela Levin (@angelalevin1) August 5, 2021
Sources: DailyMail, PEOPLE, T&C, Express UK, Independent