Fans puzzled by Harry's bizarre cameo in Meghan's birthday video

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Meghan Markle in her 40th birthday video
The Duchess of Sussex talking with actress Melissa McCarthy during a video released on her 40th birthday to launch 40×40. Photo: AAP

Royal fans have been left scratching their heads after Prince Harry’s fleeting appearance in the background of Meghan Markle’s 40th birthday video.

The Duchess of Sussex launched a new initiative to support women back into work to mark her 40th birthday.

Prince Harry 'gatecrashed' a video message she filmed with actor Melissa McCarthy to launch 40x40, a project to encourage women to mentor unemployed women who lost their jobs during the pandemic.

Meghan calls McCarthy in the video, and the actor offers suggestions of what to do for her 40th birthday including a yacht party or afternoon tea with their chickens.

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The actress also suggests she arranges a Suits reunion - though former actor Meghan is quick to rebuff the idea.

Meanwhile, Prince Harry, 36, makes two brief appearances at the end of the video in the window of the couple's mansion in California, as he appears to attempt to juggle.

Prince Harry juggling in Meghan Markle's video
Prince Harry was seen juggling outside the window. Photo: Archewell

The cameo left fans baffled online, with many taking to Twitter to ask what he was doing.

“Happy birthday to Meghan!! but why Prince Harry is acting as a juggling clown in the back?” one person asked.

“Deeply saddened to see Prince Harry relegated to playing a joker, juggling balls in the garden,” another wrote.

“What was the point of the ridiculous staged shot of Harry juggling outside the window? Was it meant to be comical?” another person asked.

Others called it “absolutely cringe”, while another said it “gives a whole new meaning to the words 'court jester'.”

However, many fans thought the whole thing was hilarious, with one writing: “Harry freaking juggling outside the window is the BEST.”

On Wednesday, the Duchess of Sussex's team at Archewell, the non-profit she runs with Prince Harry, announced 40x40, saying she had learnt that time is "among our greatest and most essential gift".

In an article posted on the Archewell website she wrote: "Amongst the most valuable gifts of time is also time spent in service to others knowing that it can contribute to incredible change.

"To that last point, and with my 40th lap around the sun in mind, it made me wonder: what would happen if we all committed 40 minutes to helping someone else or to mentoring someone in need? And then what would happen if we asked our friends to do the same?"

She continued: "I believe mentorship is one way to help women regain confidence and rebuild their economic strength, and for my birthday, I have asked 40 friends, activists, athletes, artists, and world leaders to help kickoff a global effort by contributing 40 minutes of mentorship to support women re-entering the workforce.

"With this time, I hope they each help someone advance a professional life on her own terms, and, I hope that they inspire countless others to give 40 minutes of their time as well."

Meghan has already signed up mentors including Adele, Amanda Gorman, Amanda Nguyen, Deepak Chopra, Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, Gloria Steinem, José Andrés, Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, and Stella McCartney.

Meghan looked relaxed in the video, her long hair scraped in a bun with strands around her face, as she wore a cream and white ensemble.

She wore a Zodiac necklace from LA based brand, Logan Hollowell and a pair of brown suede heels from Manolo Blahnik.

Brown suede BB Manolo Blahnik
Meghan wore a pair of brown suede Manolo Blahniks. Photo: Manolo Blahnik
Meghan Markle with a teacup and saucer
Meghan sipped tea from a cup and saucer made by a British company. Photo: AAP
Black Regal Reacock Breakfast Cup and Saucer from Burleigh
Meghan sipped from the Black Regal Reacock Breakfast Cup and Saucer from Burleigh. Photo: Burleigh

The duchess sipped tea from a cup and saucer in the video, identified as a Burleigh pottery set, made by traditional methods in Stoke-on-Trent, perhaps signifying an ongoing connection to the UK.

The video is the longest and most casual appearance from Meghan for a while, with most other video appearances being far more formal.

Sharing the video on Instagram after the release, McCarthy wrote "Meghan is amazing" and asked who "stuck around" for the end of the video.

Referencing a joke she made about getting matching tattoos with the duchess, she said: "For more info on our tattoo... stay tuned."

The 40x40 project was accidentally announced early by Meghan's friend Edward Enninful, who is the editor of British Vogue.

Meghan Markle in a white top
Meghan was not impressed at the Suits reunion idea. Photo: AAP
Melissa McCarthy joked with the Duchess of Sussex in her 40th birthday video
Melissa McCarthy joked with the Duchess of Sussex about getting tattoos with besties forever written on it. Photo: AAP

He shared two pictures on Instagram and later deleted them, replacing it with one picture of him with Meghan when she edited Vogue in 2019.

At the time he posted, the Archewell URL included in the pictures did not work, leading to a 404 page.

Enninful shared a graphic which showed the words: "For women who give everything, we give our time.

"Are you in?"

The graphic used some of the letters to spell out forty in an acrostic style.

Meghan Markle blowing out birthday cake candles
Meghan blew out a candle on a simple and elegant cake at the end of the video. Photo: AAP

It was reported earlier this week that Meghan would be celebrating her birthday with a party planned by Colin Cowie, who is an events organiser who works frequently with Meghan's friend Oprah Winfrey.

But Page Six later quashed those reports. Harry and Meghan have not set out what they plan to do personally to mark her big birthday.

As part of Meghan's initiative, Archewell suggested people partner with three organisations that Meghan has worked for - Smart Works, in the UK, YWCA and LA Works.

With additional reporting by Rebecca C. Taylor

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