Archie Harrison, better known as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s son, made his first public appearance on Wednesday. In Cape Town, South Africa, the family met with Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his daughter, Thandeka Tutu-Gxashe. And as is inevitable when you’re as famous a mom as Meghan Markle, a small parenting mistake is getting a lot of attention.
At one point, Thandeka laughed and Archie let out his own chuckle. “Is that funny?” she asked before noting that Archie seemed to understand her words.
Prince Harry agreed, saying “I think he knows exactly what’s going on.”
“You like me best, yes. Oh, you like the ladies better, yeah,” Thandeka said, to which Meghan added, “He likes to flirt.” This is the comment that’s attracting some negative attention.
It’s partially deserved. Meghan is technically wrong.
“Babies who appear to ‘flirt’ with you are [actually] building brain connections through social interactions,” psychologist Emily W. King, Ph.D. told Parents.
Then there’s the potential harm of using that kind of language around kids. Dr. King also said that “[p]rojecting romantic scenarios on young children may become harmful once children begin understanding the comments of adults around them.”
So if, as Harry believes, Archie is actually beginning to understand the adults around him (unlikely, as he’s five months old) then his mother saying that he’s flirting could be confusing.
But even if talking about your infant flirting isn’t the best, parent shaming Markle is out of line, as the mistake-free parent simply doesn’t exist. Most parents don’t have a gaggle international journalists following them around, but that doesn’t mean Meghan and Harry deserve to be shamed when they do something less than perfect.