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Meghan Markle's baby shower paid for by friends

The Duchess of Sussex was surrounded by photographers as she arrived in New York City. Credit: AP

I have just arrived in Morocco where tomorrow the Duchess of Sussex will return to her official royal duties overseas after that ‘private’ (but very public) visit overseas to New York.

It’s struck me quite how much has been written in the last few days about the cost of Meghan’s trip for her baby shower - the American tradition where friends host a party for the mum-to-be and bring gifts.

The venue - a penthouse suite at the Mark Hotel in New York - was this many thousands of dollars per night; the baby gifts from upmarket shops cost this or that; the private jet back to the UK cost so many thousands of pounds per hour in the air.

But we shouldn’t be surprised that Meghan has rich friends.

Both Amal Clooney and Jessica Mulroney attended the baby shower. Credit: AP

The tennis star Serena Williams has a few dollars to her name. So does actor George Clooney and his wife Amal. Megan’s friend from Toronto, Jessica Mulroney, is the daughter-in-law of the former prime minister. Another of her pals, Markus Anderson, is a boss of the exclusive Soho House chain of private clubs.

So far, so unremarkable.

Because we are talking about someone who mixed in these social circles before she started dating Prince Harry.

And while she’s moved her life to London and given up her career in acting, she has kept as many of her friends as her new royal life as the Duchess of Sussex will allow.

And it was those friends who wanted to put on a party for the Duchess before she gives birth.

The hotel suite - whatever it actually cost - was paid for by Serena Williams.

The private jet home was with Amal Clooney who was returning to the UK with her children.

Did British taxpayers foot any of the bills? As far as we can ascertain, no.

There were Metropolitan Police protection officers there. And while Kensington Palace does not comment on security matters, one has to assume their wages for the time in New York - and some of their expenses - did come from public funds.

But from what I know of how royal security works, the officers would have been on duty anyhow on the days in question.

Did it involve extravagance on a scale most of us could never afford? Of course it did. But so do lots of other things. Banquets at political summits like the G7 come to mind.

Prince William and Kate take their children skiing, many people can’t afford to do the same with their families.

Newlyweds Princess Eugenie and Jack have celebrity friends and didn’t exactly hide them from the cameras at their wedding.

The Royal Family - like many celebrities - has wealth and privilege and houses and staff beyond most people’s comprehension.

But unlike most celebrities, it’s rare for the royals to show it so openly and that may explain why this particular celebrity party has sparked so much interest.

The Queen and the Duchess of Sussex pictured at an event in summer 2018. Credit: PA

In fact, the Queen is known for being rather parsimonious (think of her two-bar electric heater in some of the photographs in Buckingham Palace) so I wonder what she thought of the lavish New York baby shower for her future great-grandchild as she flicked through her morning newspapers this week?

Some people are rich. Meghan has wealthy friends. Celebrities use private jets.

None of it should be our concern unless it detracts from the work she does or it’s funded from public money.

And on this one, it looks like neither is the case.