Opinion

Meghan Markle can’t even eat an avocado without being attacked by the media

Posted by
Hannah-Rose Yee
Published

The Duchess of Sussex’s latest crime? Avocado on toast.   

Here’s a headline for you: Woman has breakfast.

That’s what Meghan Markle did on the weekend when she caught up with her close friend and longterm makeup artist Daniel Martin over a brunch of avocado on toast and tea in London. Martin and the Duchess of Sussex have been friends for several years, with Meghan handpicking Martin to create her beauty look for the Royal Wedding.

Then, as they did on Sunday, the pair spent their pre-wedding meetings catching up and gossiping, to the point that Martin never ended up doing a makeup trial before the big day. “It was crazy,” he told British Vogue. “But because we’ve known each other for so long and I knew exactly what she wanted, it was kind of a no-brainer the day of.”

The tea and toast on the weekend was one of the first times Martin had posted about Meghan since the wedding. He wrote: “Back to our Tig days… Thank you Meghan for being the consummate hostess this weekend and still being the avocado toast whisperer, YUM!”

Lovely, charming, nothing to see but two old friends eating avocados and catching up.

Except for many in the media there was plenty to see. TenDaily spoke to a chef who blasted the meal as a “little Tescos value no-frills” and that it needed “a splash of colour with a few herbs… [or] a wedge of lemon.” For The Sun, it was a “posh lunch but trolls say it looks ‘bland’”.

But it was the Daily Mail who, as ever, took the proverbial cake. Using some aggressive capitalisation, the media dubbed the display “Meghan’s VERY unorthodox afternoon tea.” And in a recent edition of the print newspaper, they took it one step further. “Is Meghan’s favourite snack fuelling drought and murder?” 

While praising Meghan for bringing a “more socially and ethically aware” consciousness into the “fusty old Royal Family”, courtesy of her emphasis on vegan homewares and ethical fashion, she also committed a “faux pas” by enjoying an avocado, the newspaper said.

According to the Daily Mail, avocados are becoming known as the “blood diamonds of Mexico”, with demand for the healthy, tasty fruit soaring to such a level that production can’t keep up, leading to over-farming, drought and the reports of cartels controlling all exports of avocados out of South America. (That’s where the “murder” in the Daily Mail’s headline comes into it, for those keeping score at home.)

Meghan should be ashamed, they seemed to say, for eating a fruit with such an unsavoury history. They even went so far as to suggest that, because Meghan served her toast on silver platters, it was akin to snobby elitism.

“Given the damaging coast of ‘avocado’ fever, might it not be better to eat them more sparingly,” the Daily Mail sniped. “And not, for example, serve them up on silver platters? Since Meghan’s guest was invited to high tea, surely it should have been a case of let him eat cake.” 

When is this going to end? Seriously, when are the press going to leave Meghan alone? The poor woman can’t do anything, anything, without getting ripped to pieces in the process. She can’t wear dark nail polish or touch her stomach, she can’t close her car door, she can’t wear a bra, she can’t have staff who resign, she can’t send a Christmas card, she can’t have knees, because those knees might become receptacles for the ghost-like face of Princess Charlotte to appear on them, like an anthropomorphised Shroud of Turin.

She can’t have some avocado with a friend without being blamed for the complete degradation of a country’s environment and economic prosperity. Yes, UK consumption of avocados is up by 27%. And yes, demand for avocados is causing drought in countries like Mexico and Chile.

But why must this all be heaped on Meghan’s doorstep? The woman is not the only person in the world eating them. She’s not even the only celebrity who loves avocados. Gwyneth Paltrow spotlights them in every single one of her cookbooks, and has called her recipe for avocado on toast “life-changing”. Miley Cyrus has an avocado tattoo. Chrissy Teigen eats avocado and eggs for breakfast every day. Miranda Kerr eats half an avocado for a snack. Where were the op-eds calling out these celebrities for fuelling world drought because of their choice in breakfast foods? 

The fact of the matter is, Meghan can’t do anything right when it comes to the media. Through no fault of her own, the Duchess has become the laser-sharp focus of the press, watching absolutely everything she does. The obsession, in part, is because the world is interested in Meghan and what she does.

But it’s also born out of a very deep, very firmly held fear of Meghan and what she represents. Here is a woman who has proven that she has ideas and opinions about her new position of immense responsibility that she wants to use as a force for good, that she isn’t afraid to speak out on the subjects that she is passionate about, that she plans to very much make good on all the promises that she makes, that just by being herself she is cracking open the windows of Buckingham Palace and letting a wonderful breath of fresh air in.

In the end, it’s not really about the avocados at all, is it. If it was, then every cafe in the UK currently serving smashed avocado on sourdough bread for brunch would be the subject of an impassioned opinion piece. But they’re not. They want to construct a narrative that undermines Meghan and her power, and they do that through avocados. 

You know who else eats avocados? Kate Middleton. She loves them. A little boy even gave Prince William one to pass on to her, because they’re said to be a great treatment for hyperemesis gravidarum, the intense morning sickness that the Duchess of Cambridge suffered from through her pregnancy with Prince Louis. “Catherine will love the avocado,” Prince William said. “That’s very sweet. Thank you very much.”

No-one said that Kate was causing widespread drought and murder back then. No-one told Camilla to stop inciting drug cartels when she purchased a painting of an avocado in 2017.

The story of how our desire for avocados is impacting the environment and the world is an important one, and it should be told. But there is no reason for Meghan to be dragged into it. 

Images: Getty

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Hannah-Rose Yee

Hannah-Rose Yee is a writer based in London. You can find her on the internet talking about movies, television and Chris Pine.

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