JAN MOIR: Unlike Meghan Markle, our unambitious Queen never forgot that the show must go on

Mamma Mia, here we go again. My, my, how can I resist it? News that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have just adopted a rescue beagle named after the Abba hit is just the doggy boost the nation needs after the indulgent aural stodge of Meghan’s new podcast.

Listening to the first episode of Archetypes, which found the rich, famous and successful duchess discussing status issues and first-world struggles with her rich, famous and successful pal Serena Williams, could make anyone long for the slobbering embrace of an undemanding ball of goofy fluff. But more of Harry later.

The LA Times reports that the duchess personally rang Shannon Keith, an animal rights lawyer — I’d love to know who pays her bills; bet she doesn’t come cheep — who runs the dog rescue facility where Mamma Mia was kennelled.

‘She calls on my cell with no Caller ID and says: ‘Hey Shannon, this is Meghan.’ We talked for 30 minutes, and I thought: ‘Is this Megan Fox?’

‘Mamma Mia, here we go again. My, my, how can I resist it? News that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have just adopted a rescue beagle named after the Abba hit is just the doggy boost the nation needs after the indulgent aural stodge of Meghan’s (left) new podcast’

'Oh dear. It is charming that the duchess believes herself to be a no-introduction-needed, one-name ultra-celebrity in the same league as Oprah, Adele, Beyonce and Kermit, but the truth is that for many Americans, she stubbornly remains anonymous rather than mononymous'

‘Oh dear. It is charming that the duchess believes herself to be a no-introduction-needed, one-name ultra-celebrity in the same league as Oprah, Adele, Beyonce and Kermit, but the truth is that for many Americans, she stubbornly remains anonymous rather than mononymous’

Oh dear. It is charming that the duchess believes herself to be a no-introduction-needed, one-name ultra-celebrity in the same league as Oprah, Adele, Beyonce and Kermit, but the truth is that for many Americans, she stubbornly remains anonymous rather than mononymous.

Still, how lovely to open up her home to another dumb mutt with barking issues. Just imagine poor Mamma Mia, whimpering around the Montecito mansion, paws over her silky ears, as Meghan recounts one more bloody time how she wrote to Procter & Gamble about its sexist washing-up advert.

Or gets Serena to come over again for another kvetch about the pressures of being super-brilliant, as the pair of them ponder the perils of ambition like two shepreneurs having an executive vag steam at the Goop Spa.

Am I meant to feel inspired? If so, the mission has failed because it feels as though I am listening to a woman content to bathe in the mystery of her own achievement without clarifying or explaining to others how to overcome and triumph.

Like a dumpling bobbing around in a vapid broth of self-reverence, Meghan doesn’t really want to help others — she just wants to marinate and exult in her own triumph, and to be admired above all.

After the podcast was launched, the Duchess could have been forgiven for thinking: ‘Why do I bother?’ All she got for her efforts was a giant raspberry and a torrent of abuse from reviewers who called her podcast everything from ‘preposterous’ to ‘a parade of banalities’.

Even unofficial royal sources discreetly weighed in, insisting that, although recollections may vary, they did not recall a nursery actually being on fire.

Wait, what? There was a nursery on fire?! Meghan told Serena the terrifying tale of ‘a fire in the baby’s room’ during their South African tour in 2019, and how appalled she was at having to carry on with their royal schedule instead of cancelling everything in order to comfort Archie, who wasn’t in the room that may not have been on fire anyway.

Yes, there was an incident. Perhaps someone left their smalls out to dry on a radiator and a bit of a singe ensued? This left Meghan not with a smoking gun but with a smoking sock instead, although one can understand her initial fear and reaction.

Yet her horror at being expected to keep calm and carry on when no emergency occurred perfectly illustrates how Meghan fatally confused being royal with being famous.

If you are a rock star or a film star, you are very much the sun in your own orbit; everything revolves around you. Being a royal is almost the exact opposite.

You represent the monarchy, not yourself. You are a cipher, an emissary of the crown, serving your country and not your own needs. You facilitate diplomatic and trade links while fostering investment opportunities.

You also comfort the oppressed and recognise their suffering at every opportunity — because that is what duchesses do.

'Listening to the first episode of Archetypes, which found the rich, famous and successful duchess discussing status issues and first-world struggles with her rich, famous and successful pal Serena Williams, could make anyone long for the slobbering embrace of an undemanding ball of goofy fluff'

‘Listening to the first episode of Archetypes, which found the rich, famous and successful duchess discussing status issues and first-world struggles with her rich, famous and successful pal Serena Williams, could make anyone long for the slobbering embrace of an undemanding ball of goofy fluff. But more of Harry later’

If Meghan had got her way, the Sussexes’ trip to Cape Town’s historic District Six neighbourhood would have been axed following the fire scare.

The couple went to meet people who were forcibly relocated from there to the townships during the Apartheid era — black South Africans who were stripped of their land and homes, then dumped in racially segregated developments far from the city. Many still live in these areas, in houses made of corrugated tin and cardboard.

Imagine these people, who had lost and suffered so much, waiting with dignity in the afternoon heat for this long-planned meeting with the royal couple — only to be told at short notice that they weren’t coming after all because Meghan needed some post-stress me-time.

Can I just mention the attempted kidnap of Princess Anne in 1974? In the fracas outside Buckingham Palace, Anne’s bodyguard was shot three times, a policeman was shot and injured, and the Princess herself was lucky to escape with her life.

On the other side of the world, the Queen and Prince Philip were ‘horrified’ when they heard the news that a murderous madman had almost succeeded in kidnapping their only daughter. Yet they carried on with their tour of Indonesia — cancellation or deviation was unthinkable because duty always came first.

Of course, any criticism of Meghan seems to reinforce the gender-based injurious theme of her podcast, but we all know it is a nonsense to suggest that in Britain — and within the Royal Family — ambition is something that is repressed and discouraged in women.

In fact, it is downright insulting. How can any self-styled champion of women’s rights throw so many other women — up to and including the Queen — under the bus of her own cheap, point- scoring aspirations?

Nevertheless, Meghan is thrilled with the podcast. ‘I’m excited to be myself and be unfiltered,’ she said. I am guessing she means unfiltered as in candid and unvarnished, and not unfiltered as in raw sewage, although — Mamma Mia! — sometimes it is hard to tell.

Coleen Rooney never wanted to go to court over the Wagatha Christie case. Ever. She just wanted to unmask the culprit breaching her privacy and move on.

But Rebekah Vardy dragged her to the High Court in a demented attempt to show that she was innocent — that went well!

Now the victorious Coleen has sold the rights to her story to Disney+ of how her friend sold stories about her to downmarket newspapers.

Coleen is set to make millions in the process. There is a beautiful symmetry in there somewhere. And a lesson to be learned.

M&S fitting room plan is a terrible fit

Not Marks & Spencer, too? The High Street store has entered the great changing-room row by announcing that, in future, female changing rooms will be open to anyone.

‘While they are mainly used by customers of that gender, as an inclusive retailer and in line with most other retailers, we allow customers the choice of fitting room,’ they announced on Twitter this week.

Customers of that gender? Who they? Do they mean the female shoppers who have been the core of M&S’s success for nearly 140 years?

I am one of them and suspect that I speak for the majority of us when I say that most women do not want mixed changing rooms. Or men anywhere near women and girls taking their clothes off in a public space.

Why is it that men get a choice on this issue, but women somehow do not? It is internalising misogyny to the ridiculous point at which men’s comfort comes first — and not women’s safety.

Anyway, what modish nonsense in the desperate chase for the youth market. M&S, listen to me! Most 20-year-olds wouldn’t be seen dead inside your stores or in one of your lilac poly-knits.

So why don’t you just forget about them and focus on the needs and wants of your traditional and loyal customers instead?

Nicole Kidman has gone edgy and had The Jellyfish, on track to be the most eye-catching hairstyle of 2022. That is one way of putting it!

Nicole’s Jellyfish looks just like an old-fashioned 1980s mullet to me — all business at the front, party down the back. It doesn’t suit anyone, but according to fans the mullet is ‘the ‘do that won’t die’.

'Nicole Kidman (pictured) has gone edgy and had The Jellyfish, on track to be the most eye-catching hairstyle of 2022'

‘Nicole Kidman (pictured) has gone edgy and had The Jellyfish, on track to be the most eye-catching hairstyle of 2022’

Another popular new style is The Octopus, which I swear is what we called a good old ‘feather cut’ back in the mists of Extra Strength Elnett and time.

No one has mentioned The Squid, but I’ve had one for years. And this oceanic theme cannot continue without a mention of The Sea Anemone, last seen docked on the head of Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Whatever the hair prize is, Boris wins.

Sexism can work both ways, Taylor…

Taylor Swift on the red carpet at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards, at the Los Angeles Convention Center, in downtown Los Angeles

Taylor Swift on the red carpet at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards, at the Los Angeles Convention Center, in downtown Los Angeles

Yet more news from the front line of the sexism wars! Can’t get away from it this week.

Pop star Taylor Swift recently pointed out the sexism prevalent in the music industry.

‘There is a different vocabulary for men and women in the industry. A man does something, it is strategic. A woman does the same thing, it is calculated. A man is allowed to react; a woman can only overreact,’ she said.

Meghan would agree with her. No one is arguing that women don’t encounter a lot of nonsense — but sometimes it goes the other way, too.

If the Prime Minister of Finland had been a man, for example, would anyone have regarded her party-mad antics with the same indulgent affection?

Footage emerged of Sanna Marin dancing and drinking with friends at a private party, and then later at a Helsinki nightclub with a group of musicians, models and influencers.

After this, photographs of friends posing topless at her official residence appeared.

Eyebrows would have been raised about any male politician being caught in this rampage of revelry.

It might have been deemed a bit squalid but, because Sanna is a woman, it was seen as harmless instead.

Is that a victory? Or just more sexism?

One goal of Archetypes is to explore the stereotypes women are burdened with in popular culture — being labelled as anything from a ‘diva’ and ‘crazy’ to ‘b*tch’, ‘slut’ or worse.

Of course, there is one area where such misogyny flourishes unchecked — rap music. In a degrading dehumanisation of women, rappers routinely portray them as cheap sexual objects. Will Meghan be challenging famous rappers about their pernicious role in culture, I wonder?

Clip these tin-pot Top Guns’ wings

Red Arrows aerial display team taken at the Bristol balloon fiesta against a blue sky with coloured jet streams

Red Arrows aerial display team taken at the Bristol balloon fiesta against a blue sky with coloured jet streams

Many of us fondly imagined the Red Arrows were an elite unit, a centre of excellence, the best a man could be.

Now we discover many are little better than jet-propelled sexists, tin-pot Top Guns, who presided over a toxic work culture and graded their performances from a Meghan (top notch) to a Susan Boyle.

Hateful! I’ll never look at a plume of red smoke in the same way again.

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