#GlobalSussexBabyShower, A Good Home, Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan markle

A Royal Surprise – Part 4

I admire “purple turtles” — characters who are uniquely different from others around them, and whose difference gives them a special strength.

So it’s no surprise that I admire the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.  

Like the main character in my Myrtle the Purple Turtle books, Harry and Meghan are anomalies in their environments; becoming a couple has only made them more so, and stronger for it.

Blog Photo - Baby shower - Diana and sons
Credit: Kensington Palace

Born a redhead like many in his mother’s family, Harry stood out immediately from his parents, brother and the other Windsors.

Meghan, with an African American mother and a white American father, was also a distinctly different child from her much older, white half-siblings. At school, she says, she also didn’t quite fit into any group.

Feeling very different influences behaviour.  A child may deny her uniqueness to gain acceptance then discover later that she has lost herself.  Another child may rebel and misbehave. 

But if you’re lucky, you become driven to succeed at something while developing a strong empathy.

Perhaps these were two of the shared qualities that drew Meghan and Harry together. Despite their current wealth and privilege, both seem to deeply understand what it means to be vulnerable.  Their back-stories of pain, mistakes, learning and maturing has made them stronger.

Blog Photo - MM and PH applaud- Credit Kensington Palace
Credit: Kensington Palace

Taken together, it all makes them a royal duo unlike any the modern world has seen.

That strength has earned them detractors – in the media, and even, allegedly, among some royal staff. But it also attracted a global army of well-educated, media-literate supporters who believe the Sussexes’ power is transformative and far-reaching.

And if royal insiders and reporters attack them, their loyal army will fight right back.

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Since November 2016, fans of the couple have been fighting back at media with facts, angry rebuttals and the occasional F-word.

But the Global Sussex Baby Shower was a different undertaking, one requiring them to act with love and compassion. 

Like Mel, they wanted the couple to know that their supporters around the world “aren’t just fans, but partners willing to work alongside them on our world’s most persistent problems.”

Like Deesa, they hoped the shower would “take the focus off the ugliness and focus on the good that the DDoS want to do.”

Neri hoped it “made Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan proud, and they know they are loved! But more importantly, that their supporters are inspired by their example.”

Tola, from Durban, South Africa, is proud of the shower’s impact. It “refocused the group’s energy.”

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Blog Photo - Camfed donations from baby shower

Blog Photo - Baby Shower - Wellchild Baby
Credit: WellChild

As donations flooded in to charities that badly needed them, The Sussex Squad began to realize it had influence, even power.

Blog Photo - Baby shower - Baby Gifts

In mere days, their initiative had raised awareness and more than US$70,000 in small donations from around the world.

Blog Photo - baby shower list of countries
Credit: Magali

Blog Photo - Baby shower - Little Village image

So what now?

Sussex Squad members have called for fans to boycott articles and books by royal reporters who have persistently maligned the duke and duchess.

They’re also calling out American and British TV networks who engage these reporters for commentary on the royal family.

And, as I write, the Sussex Squad members are still fighting with royal reporters and trolls. Still fact-checking, still calling out unfair treatment. 

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Newspapers like The SUN now claim the Sussexes have “broken protocol” and “angered the nation”  — because they won’t pose for news photographers just hours after their baby’s birth, as Kate and William did.

“ROYAL RAGE 

Meghan you don’t get to claim ‘privacy’ after your star-studded baby shower and wedding that WE forked out £30m for – being a royal isn’t a part-time job.”

Sussex fans fired back that it was friends who paid for her baby shower. They  also asked: Did the queen, who birthed four children privately at home, break protocol too?

It’s exhausting. But Tina says to make the world kinder and more positive, the Sussex Squad must “push back forcefully against negativity and hatred from the media”.

How best to do that?

Some fans call out sexism and racism in unapologetically blunt, even harsh, language.

Anne and others advocate “that we be better than the trolls and focus on championing Meghan and Harry’s charities and message.”

Yet she quickly notes that the “vitriol coming from online trolls is very real and racist” and provocative, so many Sussex supporters feel they have to be fierce “to protect Meghan”.

Blog Photo - baby Shower - Sussexes
Credit: Kensington Palace

Brenda hopes that “with the new royal family social media guidelines, the new Sussex Instagram account, and the new Sussex baby, we will see so much positivity that it will turn us away from the negativity. Myself included.”

Mimi hopes that “we see that by staying positive and leading with love, we can all make a difference.”

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Everyone is looking forward to the birth of the Sussex baby, and the future beyond.

Portia, the education assessment officer in the UK, says: “This is an amazing time to be alive and to follow the works of the Royal family — especially the Sussexes. There is no equal to them, and no blueprint for them to follow.”

That causes hope and some anxiety.

Benedicta prays that “their love is strong enough to withstand all the negative things that are thrown at them and that they will continue to do wonderful work as they’re doing now.”

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#GlobalSussexBabyShower, Prince Harry and Meghan markle, Royal Family

A Royal Surprise, Part 2

Across the world, more than 50 countries are represented in The Sussex Squad. They include the USA, UK, Brazil, France, Sierra Leone, India, Hong Kong, Canada, Germany, the Phillipines, Croatia, New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, South Africa, Jamaica, Curacao, Estonia, Italy, Portugal and many other countries.

Most members of The Sussex Squad seem to be under 40, but Deesa, an Atlanta lawyer in her 60’s, is not unique: there are retired teachers, nurses and other older individuals in the group.

Blog Photo - Baby Shower - Deesa Roberts
Deesa Roberts

Some members are businesspeople. Many are professionals – lawyers, scientists, educators, university professors, community workers, healthcare workers, political scientists, economists, etc. Some are students, some are Ph. D candidates.

In other words: educated, empowered, articulate. And devoted fans of Harry and Meghan.

Even among each other, they use their Twitter names. Names like BrenBrenchie, Mimi, Deesa, Freepeeper, Sussex Squad Podcast, Tonya, Mel, Beng, Neri, Emmy, The Tudor Chick, Magali. There are also subgroups, such as the Sussex Prayer Chain, which prays every day for the couple and their baby.

Blog Photo - MM and PH smiling

They had never done anything like the shower before.

‘Neri’, a 40 year old escrow officer from Arkansas, jumped at the chance to be part of the Global Sussex Baby Shower, “because everything about it is positive and endearing.”

Deesa, in Atlanta, thought the baby shower was “an absolutely awesome idea. Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan don’t need gifts. What better way to galvanize their supporters to do good things for their charities who in turn do good things for real people?”

Indeed, the donations were coming in so fast, staff at the named charities were inundated.

Blog Photo - CamFed First Tweet

Camfed joyfully tweeted: “We are still blown away by the response to the #GlobalSussexBabyShower! We can’t thank everyone enough for their generosity.” Within days, Camfed had raised enough money to send 94 African girls to school.

Blog Photo - Baby shower - Mayhew CatBlog Photo - Baby Shower -Mayhew Dog

Animal charity Mayhew tweeted: “We have been thrilled and delighted by the fundraising activity that’s taken place over the weekend and can’t thank everybody who has shared the #GlobalSussexBabyShower campaign and donated to Mayhew enough.”

Blog Photo - Baby shower - Meghan Harry and Child

WellChild said: “We have been surprised and delighted by the donations from supporters of #GlobalSussexBabyShower. It’s great that an online outpouring of goodwill can lead to practical help for children with serious illness and their families.”

Blog Photo - Baby Shower - Wellchild tweet

It was the charities who notified Kensington Palace, not the organizers. They were too busy donating, tweeting, promoting the charities and managing their own emotions. The campaign runs till May 12; no-one expected this overwhelming result so early.

Blog Photo - Baby Shower - Wellchild Baby

When Mel logged back onto Twitter, she was astonished. “I saw the support and was overwhelmed with gratitude for the wonderful women who took the idea and ran with it.  I decided to dedicate as much time as I could to promoting the campaign, encouraging people participating, and helping to raise the profiles of the selected charities.”

Blog Photo - Baby shower - Donation receipt

 

Sussex Squad members recruited friends and relatives too.

Deesa tweeted: “My 90-year old mother is awake now and we just made her donation to Camfed!”

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Other charities also benefited.

Blog Photo - Baby Shower - charities who were helped in first week

‘The Tudor Chick’ tweeted: “Just made another donation. So proud of my #SussexSquad for building something beautiful with the bricks thrown at Harry and Meghan.”

Some shifted their priorities.

‘Eliana’ planned to buy a new cell phone. Instead, “I had the screen repaired.”

‘Just Juliette’, from France, stopped shopping.  ‘Fleur’, also French, says “I simply didn’t buy new clothes. I have enough, and I think educating children is more important.” 

Brenda didn’t buy that ‘beautiful pair of sandals”.  ‘LRSykes’ gave up “a new handbag and spring jacket”.

In Canada, Stephanie loves buying kitchen stuff, so had to overcome temptation. Her sister “bee-lined it for the kitchen section” of a store.  “I literally stop and say… ‘I can’t BE in here!’ She was understandably shocked, lol.”

‘Beth’ planned to buy herself a diamond ring to symbolize a new beginning after leaving a bad marriage, but decided, “I can always buy that later. This is a much more important cause.”

Blog Photo - Camfed donations from baby shower

And ‘Missy’, whose mother died last year, donated the money she would have spent on “spoiling” her mother on Mothering Sunday.  She chose to help families “on what was my first Mothering Sunday without her.”

Neri’s remark reflects the mood in The Sussex Squad.  “Being grateful for my own blessings, I couldn’t think of a better way of showing gratitude than to pay it forward. And doing this in Duchess Meghan and Prince Harry’s honour makes me very happy.”

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Tomorrow: Part 3 – Painful Beginnings