11:00 GMT29 October 2020
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    Meghan Markle’s half a million dollar trip to Manhattan to hang out with her girlfriends could have a negative impact on her uneasy relations with the royal family, a former chief aide to Princess Diana suggested.

    The Duchess of Sussex took a very public trip to New York, though the palace stated that it was a private, self-funded “quiet girls trip", according to Page Six. Markle stopped at a $75,000-a-night suite at The Mark hotel and dined at Laduree bakery and the Polo Bar with pals.

    She didn’t try to keep a low profile by using the private entrance, and staff at The Mark were forced to put up crash barriers when crowds grew outside the Upper East hotel, watching various celebrities, including Amal Clooney and Serena Williams, arrive at the party. Afterward, Markle, wearing an $850 gold Jennifer Meyer necklace, Amal and her twins Ella and Alexander flew on a private jet back to the UK on Wednesday night – the $200,000 round trip was funded by Amal and her husband, George, according to Page Six.

    READ MORE: Wish Come True? Meghan Markle Wanted to be ‘Princess Diana 2.0,’ Biographer Says

    “From any angle, the look of Meghan’s Manhattan partying is pretty unedifying. Not just for its excess — though that’s impressively unsettling — but for its calculated recklessness,” Patrick Jephson, Princess Diana’s long-time private secretary, wrote in the Daily Mail.

    Jephson, who was Diana’s equerry and private secretary between 1988 and 1996, said the former actress has a serious decision to make as it’s a “stark choice between the path of celebrity versus the path of duty, service and sacrifice".

    “If you are royal and you want to be private, there are a million ways you can be", Jephson told the New York Post. “Diana always stayed at The Carlyle in New York, which prides itself on its discretion for its famous guests. The fact that Meghan allowed this to become a media circus is very revealing".

    Jephson recalled that during Princess Diana’s first solo overseas visit, where he accompanied her, she knew she could not shop or go to restaurants.

    He outlined that “nobody objects to Meghan having time with friends [but] dignity and privacy are consistent with her primary role as a British duchess. That fact that her friends seem to fail to understand this is deeply worrying for her future royal career".

    In his op-ed for the Daily Mail Jephson also noted that Markle should be more careful about her actions, as “royal privilege and perks have to be paid for, not by rich chums, but by a lifetime of service to the people whose bows, curtsies and taxes will always be willingly given in return".

    Duncan Larcombe, former royal editor at London newspaper The Sun, said that staff at Kensington Palace had not been made aware of how public the trip turned out to be, adding that “eyebrows have been raised inside the palace".


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