Friday 14 December 2018

'Don't be in a hurry to do anything' - Michelle Obama gives advice to Meghan Markle

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend Unveiling of The Queen's Commonwealth Canopy at Tupou College on October 26, 2018 in Nuku'alofa, Tonga
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend Unveiling of The Queen's Commonwealth Canopy at Tupou College on October 26, 2018 in Nuku'alofa, Tonga
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex talks with students during a visit to Tupou College in Tonga on October 26, 2018
Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, leave after the Royal Variety Performance in London, Britain November 19, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
Former First Lady and author Michelle Obama appears onstage at Becoming: An Intimate Conversation with Michelle Obama at the Forum on November 15, 2018 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
President Barack Obama meeting Prince George
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex during a walkabout on day four of the royal couple's tour of New Zealand on October 31, 2018 in Rotorua, New Zealand
Prince Harry interviews Barack Obama (The Obama Foundation/PA)
Prince Harry poses with former US President Barack Obama following a meeting at Kensington Palace
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge speaks with First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama on April 22, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama are greeted by Prince William, Kate, and Prince Harry, upon arrival for dinner at Kensington Palace. Reuters/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama pose with Britain's Prince William, Kate, and Prince Harry, upon arrival for dinner at Kensington Palace. Reuters/Kevin Lamarque
Barack Obama, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge as Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge plays with Prince George Credit: The White House
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Former US first lady Michelle Obama has issued some sage words of wisdom for Meghan Markle as she adjusts to her new role as one of the most well known women in the world.

Mrs Obama served as first lady for eight years and recognises that she is uniquely positioned to give Britain's new Duchess of Sussex advice as she was thrust into the international spotlight in 2009 when husband Barack Obama was elected US president, and knows how to handle public scrutiny with grace.

As Meghan is coming under fire from a number of palace sources, who have been unwavering in their off the record criticism of her, the mother-of-two urged her to take a step back and familiarise herself with her new role as much as possible.

"Like me, Meghan probably never dreamt that she’d have a life like this, and the pressure you feel, from yourself and from others, can sometimes feel like a lot," she tells the new issue of Good Housekeeping.

Prince Harry and Michelle Obama meet the USA Invictus Team ahead of the Opening Ceremony of the Invictus Games Orlando 2016 at ESPN Wide World of Sports on May 8, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images for Invictus)
Prince Harry and Michelle Obama meet the USA Invictus Team ahead of the Opening Ceremony of the Invictus Games Orlando 2016 at ESPN Wide World of Sports on May 8, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images for Invictus)

"So my biggest pieces of advice would be to take some time and be in a hurry to do anything. I spent the first few months in the White House mainly worrying about my daughters, making sure they were off to a good start at school and making new friends before I launched into any more ambitious work. I think it’s okay - it’s good, even - to do that.

"What I’d say is that there’s so much opportunity to do good with a platform like that and I think Meghan can maximise her impact for others, as well her own happiness, if she’s doing something that resonates with her personally."

The Obamas were invited to Meghan's May wedding to Prince Harry, but declined the initiation as it's believed they chose not to cause a potential bother with US president Donald Trump, who was not invited. They have a famously strong relationship with the British royal family, including Queen Elizabeth and Prince William and wife Kate Middleton - not to mention Prince George.

But it was her protocol-breaking hug with the monarch that still fascinates royal watchers years later, which Obama addressed in her new memoirs Becoming, revealing they bonded over the pain of high heels.

"I confessed then to the Queen that my feet were hurting. She confessed that hers hurt, too. We looked at each other then with identical expressions, like, When is all this standing around with world leaders going to finally wrap up? And with this, she busted out with a fully charming laugh," she wrote.

"Forget that she sometimes wore a diamond crown and that I’d flown to London on the presidential jet; we were just two tired ladies oppressed by our shoes."

"I then did what’s instinctive to me any time I feel connected to a new person, which is to express my feelings outwardly," she writes. "I laid a hand affectionately across her shoulder."

Meanwhile, it's reported that Meghan and Harry will spend Christmas at Sandringham Estate with the rest of the royals - and Meghan's mother Doria Ragland - amid consistent reports of "tension" between the brothers and their wives. The news cycle in recent weeks has been dominated by speculation about the foursome's personal relationship, in particular, how Meghan is shaking things up.

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex during a walkabout on day four of the royal couple's tour of New Zealand on October 31, 2018 in Rotorua, New Zealand
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex during a walkabout on day four of the royal couple's tour of New Zealand on October 31, 2018 in Rotorua, New Zealand

A source told Vanity Fair the expectant mother is doing her best to avoid the barrage of negative coverage, in contrast to her husband, who follows press coverage about him - good and bad.

"Meghan is a believer in karma and she doesn’t want to sit there reading negative online stories and comments about herself," an insider told the magazine. "She feels to a degree the British press is out to get her and while she’s aware of the news and what’s going on, she tries her best not to read all the stories about her."

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