The Duchess of Sussex’s lavish $500,000 New York baby shower last February left palace aids horrified, new biography Finding Freedom claims.
Meghan Markle, 39, who celebrated the impending birth of her firstborn son with Prince Harry, 35, by flying to the Big Apple by private jet last year, apparently left senior courtiers ‘spitting out their morning tea’ when pictures of the luxurious affair emerged.
Last year Meghan provoked an outcry when she flew by private jet to the US for a five-day baby shower celebration. Around 20 friends attended, including Serena Williams and Amal Clooney.
And an extract in the new book released today, written by British journalists Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durant, reveals just how palace insiders reacted.
It reads: ‘While the trip had been a hit with Meghan, senior courtiers back in the UK were spitting out their morning tea when they saw her lavish baby shower thrown by friends turn into a media circus with what looked like carefully stage-managed paparazzi walks of the duchess in big black sunglasses from her hotel to her car and a laundry list of insider party details reported by US press.
‘It’s fair to say that the optics of the somewhat flashy shower did not go down well with certain individuals at the Palace,’ a senior aide revealed.
It continues: ‘Meghan was often criticized for being too Hollywood, meaning too flashy. Especially for the reserved aesthetic of the monarchy.’
A source told the authors: ‘I think a few people that had defended her over the months felt a little disappointed. But sometimes in this role you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
‘Ultimately, the trip was just Meghan’s friends celebrating a really exciting moment in her life.’
Last February Meghan and her closest friends partied at The Mark hotel in Manhattan, in one of the world’s most expensive suites.
Markle and Spencer grabbed lunch together before being joined by the rest of the group for dinner at The Polo Bar, the swank New York eatery owned by designer Ralph Lauren.
Then, on the day of, she welcomed even newer friends to her party at The Mark, including human rights lawyer Amal Clooney and King, who scored an invitation despite being kept off the guest list at Markle’s wedding.
Her mother’s absence also meant that Markle had not one family member at the party, including new sister-in-law Kate Middleton, though baby showers have never been a British tradition.
The shower was hosted by Serena Williams, Jessica Mulroney and Genevieve Hillis, who has been Markle’s best friend since the age of 17 when they met at Northwestern.
‘It was a small, private affair, and a special time for her,’ said CBS presenter, Gayle King.
‘Having a baby is a great thing.’
A video, which emerged on social media after the shower, appeared to give a glimpse of the very lavish set up.
Royal fan account harry_meghan_updates, run by Instagram user Francesca, shared a video on its Story, claiming that the short clip was actually captured inside the star-studded baby shower.
It captures the dessert buffet on offer to guests which was designed by illustrator Darcy Miller, and featured four macaron towers from Laduree, which cost a total of $460.
The Duchess’ close pals were also treated to stork-shaped cake pops and miniature slices of carrot cake, as well as multiple cupcakes iced in pink and green frosting.
The crowing glory was a two tiered cake which featured a miniature paper cut out of Harry and Meghan stood next to a pram – believed to be the work of event designer Darcy Miller, who has been credited with putting together the lavish dessert buffet at the event.
Guests at Meghan Markle’s lavish baby shower in New York City left the intimate gathering with high-end gift bags filled with luxe leather tote bags filled with the royal’s favorite products.
High-profile guests were seen leaving the Mark Hotel’s incredible Grand Penthouse Suite, which costs a staggering $75,000 per night.
According to People, guests were gifted Cuyana leather totes that were filled to the brim with products, much like Oscars swag bags.
The totes, which retail for $175-$195 depending on style, included $67 Jo Malone Green Tomato Leaf scented candles, $65 Tatcha Rice Enzyme Powder, and $81 Susanne Kaufmann Body Butter.
They also reportedly featured products from Rodin and Jessica Alba’s company Honest Beauty.
Brands often send celebrities free gifts in the hopes of getting press, and with Meghan’s shower making headlines around the world, it’s likely that companies were more than willing to offer up products for the guests’ gift bags.
On the day of Meghan’s shower, about 17 Away suitcases were delivered to The Mark Hotel, each of which cost $225.