Inside Meghan Markle’s disastrous attempt to edit Vogue magazine – new book ‘Meghan, Harry and the war between the Windsors’
Meghan Markle apparently sparked a feud when she was guest editor of British Vogue. Photo/Getty
A new book about the Sussexes makes a series of explosive claims about the couple. This exclusive New Zealand clip details how Meghan fell out with the British editor of Vogue when she edited the magazine in 2019.
“I want to break the internet,” exclaimed Meghan Markle to the editorial staff, meaning that she would control her own image. Listening to the Duchess, the editorial team’s expressions showed silent exasperation.
Most of his contributions were superficial, without rhyme or reason. To avoid confrontation, he was never asked to explain himself.
The team incorrectly assumed that their comments were inspired by [her US PR consultants] Sun Sachs. These were his own ideas. Meghan’s description of these conversations was to “philosophize with Ed [editor in chief Edward Enninful] around a steaming cup of mint tea.
In the final weeks before publication, Meghan offered advice on publicity. She spoke of “lighting up the internet” inspired by leaks.
Enninful was unimpressed. Secrecy, Enninful repeated, was essential for a successful launch. Nonetheless, The Sun has regularly published news snippets on the matter. The editorial team suspected the source was a friend of Meghan’s, a publicist in London.
Those irritations came with the turf for Enninful. Fashioning an entire issue around the Duchess was a journalistic and commercial coup. Promoting Meghan as ‘the most influential beacon of change in the country’, he raved in his op-ed about this ‘brilliant, bi-racial American powerhouse’ which has a ‘positive influence everywhere’.
None of the Vogue staff saw Meghan stop to wonder if she had crossed the line in her relationship with Enninful.
She never seemed to consider the conflict of using her marriage to promote herself. Meghan was not interested in the boundary that Prince William identified in a 2017 TV documentary. In a measured way, William seized the nettle regarding a royal’s public opening with the media: I learned is that you never let them in too far, because it’s very hard to get them back. You have to maintain a barrier and a boundary, because if you cross it, a lot of pain and trouble can ensue.
Meghan dismissed that caveat. Enchanted by the opportunity, she would never have thrown it away.
Enninful and Meghan had selected 15 women identified as ‘game changers’ who are ‘radically and positively reshaping society’.
Among them were primatologist Dian Fossey, whose life was dedicated to saving Rwandan gorillas until her assassination in 1985; Jane Fonda, 82; NBC’s Bonnie Hammer, who cast Meghan in Suits; Joni Mitchell, singer-songwriter; and Toni Morrison, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature. There was also transgender actor Laverne Cox; Adwoa Aboah, model; Gemma Chan, an actress; Ramla Ali, a boxer; Adut Akech, model; and 16-year-old climate change activist Greta Thunberg.
The Swede had to wonder about her appointment among the energy-guzzling models who travel the globe to pose in exotic places.
In reciprocity for their nomination, the women hailed Meghan as “an ultimate force for change”. And in return, Meghan praised them for representing the unrepresented. The queen has been omitted.
That left the important decision of coverage. Meghan wanted to feature on the cover, just like Kate did in 2016 to mark Vogue’s centenary. But during many discussions, the editorial team persuaded her that it would be “boastful”. In public, Enninful would say it was Meghan’s decision not to appear on the cover because she wanted to remain “humble”. The staff remembers that the decision was imposed on them.
The cover was given to Salma Hayek, a Hollywood star married to François-Henri Pinault – a French billionaire who happened to be one of Vogue’s top advertisers.
“Forces for Change” was a thought-provoking title. In the magazine‘s introduction, Meghan wrote about her intention to highlight “the power of the collective” and focus on “positivity, kindness, humor and inclusivity…to shed light in a world filled with seemingly everyday darkness”. She added, “Through this lens, I hope you will feel the strength of the collective in the diverse selection of women chosen for the cover.” His language offered no philosophy. She also did not identify her destination. “Lens” was a recurring metaphor in Meghan’s lexicon.
Hours after the magazine’s scoop was announced, the phones in Vogue’s office kept ringing. The whole world wanted to read Meghan’s special issue. The magazine’s young readers spoke of Meghan, a woman with a successful independent career using her platform in the royal family to campaign for change.
To stay in the spotlight, the publisher blitzed a report every day. In regular calls, Meghan urged Enninful to offer more stories to the hungry media.
Finally, she had hit the ground running.
Buckingham Palace was caught off guard. Sara Latham (who ran the couple’s communications team before they left for the US) has been tasked by Meghan to lead her latest publicity launch. Her first task, Meghan said, was to demand that the official publication date in Britain be delayed by a day to let publication in the United States take the lead. The American reaction, she was certain, would be more positive than that of Britain.
Meghan’s order revealed that she was relying on her American advisers and hoped that a request from the Palace to Enninful would be obeyed. After Latham’s request was turned down, the relationship between Meghan and the Vogue staff soured. Their conflict was about control.
Keleigh Thomas Morgan called to tell Vogue that she, rather than Latham, would be representing Meghan’s interests, and therefore those of Vogue as well. Enninful denied that request. In the battle between Latham’s aggressive demands on behalf of the Palace and the Los Angeles publicist, Enninful sided with the local power, namely the Palace. Faced with the bribe, her decision was questioned by Meghan.
Within hours, their argument was drowned out by a wave of antagonistic comments published in the British media.
Damned by The Sun as ‘a Trump-hating Corbynista left winger’, Meghan’s ‘Vogue signaling virtue’ has been called an ‘epic misjudgment’.
REVENGE: Meghan, Harry and the war between the Windsors
By Tom Bower
Edited by Blink
RRP: Flashing, $39.99