IT’S a tactic straight out of the Princess Diana PR handbook.
Defy the stuffy palace bigwigs and flunkies, brief friends about the “truth” behind the headlines and take back control.
This week Meghan, 37 — bitterly frustrated at being told not to react publicly to the spat with her rogue dad Thomas and being cast as “Duchess Difficult” — took matters into her own hands.
With tales of her staff leaving, 5am emails to assistants and feuds with sister-in-law Kate, pregnant Meghan authorised five of her “girl squad” to tell a US magazine the “truth”.
Suddenly here was the bombshell news that she had written a long letter of heartbreak to her father, accusing him of “victimising” her.
This was Meghan — just like Diana in the 1980s and 1990s — bypassing Palace protocol and “setting the record straight”.
Ingrid Seward, Editor-in-Chief of Majesty magazine, said: “If there was something in the papers that Diana didn’t like, she’d take matters into her own hands.
“She’d speak to favoured journalists or friends such as Carolyn Bartholomew, who acted as the go-between with Andrew Morton on his book.
“She would tip off photographers for pictures that would make her look good, such as secret charity visits and the pictures on Dodi’s boat.”
Meghan who attended the Endeavour Fund Awards for wounded veterans — also knows she can never be directly involved.
So she got some of her gang to speak out for her.
An “LA friend” quoted is widely thought to be her Pilates guru Heather Dorak. A “close confidante” is most likely Benita Litt, whose two daughters were royal bridesmaids.
The “former co-star” can be identified as Suits actress Sarah Rafferty, while the “former colleague” could be actress Janina Gavankar.
How far gong?
GLOWING Meghan is all smiles as she steps out with Harry and Bump to present an award.
The heavily-pregnant Duchess of Sussex, in bespoke Givenchy, clutched her husband’s hand at the Endeavour Fund Awards, which honours military veterans.
Meg, 37, and Harry, 34, were at Draper’s Hall, in London, where the Duchess took to the podium to hand out awards to those who, despite life-changing injuries, accidents or illnesses, have excelled in a sporting or adventure challenge.
DUCHESS GOES ROGUE
But the most interesting quotes — tearing into Meghan’s dad and her half-siblings Thomas and Samantha — come from a “long-time friend”, most likely her Northwestern University pal Lindsay Jill Roth.
Meanwhile close pal and tennis star Serena Williams posted to Twitter a cryptic photo of herself with a cuppa, captioned: “Sips tea.”
“Sipping the tea” is US slang for enjoying the gossip. The post was Serena saying: “I’m loving watching this play out.”
Meghan has a press team at Kensington Palace, who also work for Harry, William and Kate. She could have issued something though them — but left them blindsided instead.
WAR OF THE WALES
Not since the chaotic days of the War of the Wales’s between Charles and Diana has a senior royal spun their own PR.
William who lived through rival briefings, made it clear it could never happen again. But the press team didn’t even know about the Meghan story.
When an American TV producer called and asked about the piece on Wednesday, their response was. “What article?”
In the People cover story and ensuing coverage around the globe, Meghan is painted as a cross between Mother Teresa, Mary Berry, Grace Kelly and a Stepford Wife.
She cooks, she loves her dogs, she’s the bestest friend in the world, she’s never had a relationship with the half-siblings who cashed in — and she did reach out to her dad.
But the lies, untruths and “global bullying” against her has left her pals worried the “emotional trauma” could harm her baby, due in April.
MEGHAN ‘BYPASSES PALACE’
Diana was a renegade and used the press effectively. But it drove her team to distraction.
Meghan, as an actress, also knows how to court good publicity. A royal source said: “She thought, why didn’t her team deny reports and speak out for her? Why was the narrative of Kate versus Meghan allowed to take hold?
“The fallings-out were more with William and Harry. She and Harry think many of their team are kids.”
That is probably why Meghan has been trying to shut down negative stories herself — even via a magazine that had ‘Duchesses at War’ as a December cover. But it has a large US audience and she wants the message out quickly.
However, as her press team know, the story has only brought the debacle with her dad back into the spotlight.
There’s no doubt Meghan is a breath of fresh air for the British monarchy.
But the mantra that has ensured the Queen rises above the ebb and flow of popular opinion is: “Never complain, never explain.”
Meghan now needs to take a (tea) leaf out of her book.
MOST READ IN NEWS
THE MEMBERS OF HER ‘GIRL SQUAD’
FORMER US actress Meghan has an intensely loyal circle of close pals. Many live in America but she regularly calls, texts and Skypes them.
A number have spoken out to defend her “elegance, grace and philanthropy”. Here, we take a look at who they could be…
THE FITNESS GURU
Pilates instructor Heather Dorak lives in Los Angeles and is pregnant with her second child.
She met Meghan when the future royal attended one of her classes.
THE FORMER CO-STAR
Sarah Rafferty, 46, starred as Donna Paulsen on the TV drama Suits.
She met Meghan — who played paralegal Rachel Zane — on set.
THE US ACTRESS
The glamorous Janina Gavankar, 38, bumped into Meghan in LA on acting jobs.
THE BEST MATE
Former lawyer Benita Litt runs a fashion charity in the US.
Meghan is godmother to her daughters Remi and Rylan.
THE SORORITY SISTER
Lynsay Jill Roth, 37, who is an author, met Meghan at Northwestern University.
She based a character on the Duchess-to-be in her 2015 novel What Pretty Girls Are Made Of.
THE MATCH MAKER
Fashion designer Misha Nonoo, 32, helped introduce Meghan to Harry.
Also setting up the lovebirds was Soho House supremo Markus Anderson.
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