Meghan Markle made a gesture of homage to veterans by wearing a red poppy pin during a recent appearance with Prince Harry.
But her choice has sparked heated debate online about the appropriateness of the move.
Meghan Markle’s poppy controversy
Meghan and Harry attended the opening of a Navy SEAL fitness center in San Diego on Nov. 8.
The duchess adorned herself with a bright red poppy pin, a symbol widely used in the United Kingdom in November to commemorate fallen veterans.
Although Americans wear poppies around Memorial Day in May, Meghan adopted the British custom of wearing one on the eve of Remembrance Day, Nov. 11.
As Harry’s wife, she has marked the solemn occasion since their marriage in 2018.
But her decision ignited controversy, as critics questioned whether it was appropriate for an American like Meghan to wear the poppy.
She remains a divisive royal figure and some saw it as an infiltration of British traditions.
I didn't think poppies are worn on Veterans Day in the US, but are worn on Memorial Day in May? Am I wrong? … & instead of attending court, here's 'that one' yet again claiming front & centre stage at an event that has absolutely nothing to do with her. God give me strength. 🙏 pic.twitter.com/ZtWquGWmGY
— Lady B of Belsize (Official) 🇬🇧 (@LadyBofBelsize) November 9, 2023
Supporters have argued that she was paying respect as the wife of a veteran.
Harry completed two tours of duty in Afghanistan with the British military. But detractors argue that she should have stuck to the U.S. custom of wearing poppies only in May.
As the wife of a British veteran, who served for 10 yrs, Meghan Markle can wear as many poppies as she wants. She’s supporting her husband & the community. What really is offensive, is when those who’ve never served, use military uniforms as costumes. pic.twitter.com/aldy7TXNkX
— Julieth ❀ (@troubleshade) November 9, 2023
The debate underscores the constant scrutiny Meghan faces and the sharp divisions it provokes.
Even a gesture intended to honor veterans fueled controversy over her adoption of British cultural symbols as un-British.
It is likely that Meghan’s intention with the poppy pin was to show solidarity with her husband’s service.
However, she continues to find herself in an impossible position, chastened regardless of the customs she observes as a royal.