Cherie Blair had Carole Caplin. Princess Diana had Rosa Monckton. And Meghan has Jessica Mulroney, Misha Nonoo and Isabel May, a triad of female best friends offering their wisdom and support while all hell breaks loose around their more famous counterpart. For a flavour of this wisdom where Meghan is concerned, we need look no further than Instagram, that bottomless repository of fridge magnet philosophy, on which Mulroney posted four days ago: “A strong woman looks a challenge in the eye and gives it a wink”, a quote attributed to filmmaker and singer Gina Carey.
Well, Meghan is certainly looking a challenge in the eye: namely, how to politely extricate oneself from the circus into which one has married, short of going the whole hog and divorcing.
The solution she and Harry have arrived at thus far – which essentially amounts to “you’ll be seeing a little less of us around these parts” – does not seem to have pleased many people. Did they not like the duchess’s wink? Was it too impudent? Too bold? Too similar to a raised middle finger?
Of course, we can’t say for certain that Meghan bases her major life decisions on her best friend’s Instagram posts any more than we can say for certain that Canada 2020 was all her idea in the first place. The only certainty about this crisis is that, as crises go, Megxit is far more fun than Brexit, and requires no prior working knowledge of what a customs union is.
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Like good semioticians, we must therefore look for clues as to what kind of future the Sussexes might look forward to by studying the signs offered up by their closest confidantes. And what better place to start than with her confidantes, the inner circle of Markle whisperers whose advice she may or may not be taking?
Born Jessica Brownstein, a descendant of the founders of Browns Shoes in Canada, the well-known fashion stylist formed a close friendship with Meghan when the latter was living in Toronto while filming the TV series Suits. Mulroney’s daughter Ivy was a bridesmaid at the Sussexes’ wedding and her twin sons took the role of page boys. Her husband Ben is a Canadian television host and the son of former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney.
It’s been reported that Jessica (40), helped shape the Sussexes’ plans to distance themselves from the Firm, or at least “carve out a progressive new role” within in. Which in practice means spending progressively less time in the UK and progressively more in North America. But at least it’s all progressive.
Spearheading this movement of progress, Harry and Meghan’s pet dogs are believed to have been moved to Canada already. Their baby son, Archie, has likewise had time to acclimatise, reportedly being left in the care of Mulroney and a nanny following the family’s Christmas break.
What we know about Mulroney is she loves yoga and is said to have bonded with Meghan over this; that she’s big into posting videos of her workouts on social media; and that she’s fiercely protective of Meghan and angered at the way she’s been treated.
Among the scattered words about forgiveness and healing on her Instagram, she posted this statement in August: “When someone faces unfair criticism, you call it out. When that person is your friend and your family, you call those critics what they truly are. Shame on you, you racist bullies.”
Beside this impassioned call to arms, she added, for the avoidance of any doubt: “3 years of undeserved hate and abuse. It’s enough.”
If she didn’t tell Meghan to get out, she’ll surely support her friend’s efforts to do so and welcome her back to that part of North America where the air is pure and everyone is nice and people with money and looks and good clothes can go about their lives as they wish.
There’s a theory that when Harry said, “We were introduced, actually, by a mutual friend,” the friend in question was Nonoo. As always, there’s another theory that he was talking about someone else entirely. Whatever. We do know Nonoo is a good friend of Markle’s, and in addition to playing this role, she is also a fashion designer. Born in Bahrain, raised in London and educated in Paris, she has previously been named one of Forbes’ “30 Under 30”. According to her website, “Nonoo continues to push boundaries by marrying designs with innovative digital concepts that are celebrated by women who embrace their femininity whilst pursuing their goals.”
She reportedly bonded with Meghan over their passion for gender equality, the empowerment of women, and dogs (the comma is important).
So what are her #goals? We’ve raked through at least one of her Instagram posts so that you don’t have to, and here’s what we’ve found: “When it comes to New Year’s Resolutions, it’s not about making the biggest goals, but rather the RIGHT goals that are quantifiable and realistic,” she wrote this week.
Her tips for how to find success in 2020 include the suggestion you “break down your goals into smaller, results-oriented steps. Instead of ‘I will get promoted by the end of the year’, determine the steps required to achieve a promotion, and set a resolution to complete those instead!'”
Or, depending on what your goal is: instead of “I will leave the Firm by the end of the year,” determine the steps required to leave the Firm.
On the other hand, Nonoo is also friends with princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, so perhaps she won’t be counselling Meghan to break ties completely.
In keeping with their controversial desire for privacy, the Sussexes declined to share with the public the names of their son Archie’s godparents. But that hasn’t stopped the public from guessing, and some of the guessers have guessed that Isabel May may be one. The PR woman, who lives in West London, is said to have been introduced to Meghan by mutual friend Markus Anderson, a director at Soho House.
May is a former director of communications for Burberry who then became marketing director at David Beckham’s DB Ventures. She reportedly helped Meghan adjust to life in London when she moved to the British capital. According to her LinkedIn page, she studied history at the University of Sussex (how apt!) and believes in “the value of creating clear, succinct stories, told in a meaningful and impactful way.” (No, we’re not sure either.)
Other than this, she has managed to keep a fairly low profile and her friendship with Meghan has largely flown under the radar, acting as her secret “rock”. It’s understood May will be helping Beckham with his plans to launch a football team in Miami this year. Which is only a three-hour flight from Toronto. Coincidence? Yes, probably.
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