It is hard to get more quintessentially LA than Gracias Madre. It’s not only a Mexican restaurant that serves ‘Mother Earth-friendly’ fare, it’s organic, vegan and located only a stone’s throw from the chi-chi boutiques of Melrose Place and a crystalarium. I kid you not.
It’s exactly the kind of haunt where you might expect to find a designer-clad woman with a Chanel bag in her manicured hands; a woman who looks like the absolute pinnacle of pampered privilege.
It could not be further away, in almost every sense, from a brightly lit west London community centre where I’m guessing there was not a single dish of ceviche or cashew queso in sight.This week, it was at these two locations, in California and the UK, that King Charles’s daughters-in-law stepped out, the former obviously Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex and the latter Kate, the Princess of Wales. Two royal brides, two lots of titles, two borrowed tiaras.
And two women who approach their public lives very differently.
But, only one of them seems to have gotten the hang of being a royal WAG.
And I’m not just talking about passion or zeal or commitment or how devoted Meghan and Kate might be to making the world a better place.Take the duchess, who was caught on Wednesday by the paparazzi leaving Gracias Madre, where she hosted a lunch in support of Harvest Home, an organisation that helps pregnant women facing homelessness. The duchess, for her International Women’s Day outing, chose $A977 ($1048) Valentino Rockstud mules, a $10,844 ($11,636) Chanel black and white purse, a $5975 ($6,411) Max Mara coat and $325 ($348) Valentino sunnies.
Later, shots appeared on the charity’s Instagram page and on the Sussexes’ Archewell website, taken on the same day, showing Meghan hugging someone in a Harvest Home T-shirt while wearing that expensive cashmere coat.Contrast that with Kate who, back in the UK, was wearing what appeared to be the exact same dark outfit (a Catherine Walker coat and a $3642 Alexander McQueen dress) as she wore during an outing after Queen Elizabeth’s death last year, with the addition of a dupatta (a traditional headscarf) that she first wore during a tour of Pakistan in 2019. Rounding out the look was a $130 pair of pearl earrings she has busted out repeatedly of late.
So one hand here we have a member of the King’s family whose look screamed ‘money’ while out helping women who cannot afford a roof over their heads, while the other donned a recycled look that could not have been more unremarkable.
Ironically, their financial situations are diametrically opposite.
When Kate’s husband Prince William became the Prince of Wales last year, he not only picked up a 14th-century title and the responsibility of keeping an entire duchy’s worth of hedgerows in tip-top condition but an estate worth just shy of about $2 billion. Which is to say, the Waleses are today stratospherically rich, pocketing about $39 million ($41 million) every year that they can spend willy-nilly.
If Kate wanted to fly to Paris monthly to be fitted in head-to-toe couture while poutily sipping on Perrier kept at exactly her preferred temperature she could; if she fancied buying rare emeralds as regularly as she stocks up on Yoplait it would be no biggie; or if she wanted to start emptying out portions of Harvey Nichols when the whim took her, she could and still have change left over for a Cadbury Creme Egg on the way home.
She and William are much, much wealthier than Meghan and her fella, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, a man who has been busily acquainting himself with the various indignities of paid work in recent years.
However, you would never know it based on looking at our two royal women.
What sets them apart is that one seems astutely aware of the sensitivities of her personal circumstances versus her role as someone busily trying to big up charities, community organisations and the good-hearted sorts helping those on the margins of society.
The other is Meghan.
Meghan at the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Ripple of Hope Awards Gala in her Louis Vuitton dress. Photo / Getty Images