Meghan Markle's Vogue cover featuring Jacinda Ardern 'greatest hits of virtue-signalling' - Piers Morgan

Controversial British broadcaster Piers Morgan has ripped into Meghan Markle's "shamelessly hypocritical super-woke" Vogue project.

Writing in the Daily Mail on Tuesday (NZ Time), Morgan criticised Markle for missing the visit of US President Donald Trump to Britain in June, but being willing to spend time guest editing a special edition of British Vogue, which he deemed an "elitist production".

He said Markle is "supposed to be a member of the royal family and not a publicity-craving celebrity", but also hammered the women she chose to include in the edition.

"The women she's selected represent the greatest hits of virtue-signalling - with a nod to everything from 'body positivity', female empowerment, mental health, disability and race to transgender rights, climate change, diversity, and privilege," Morgan said.

One of the women featured is New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who hosted the Duke and Duchess of Sussex on their Royal Tour here in October last year. Ardern and Markle reportedly had a "secret meeting" during Ardern's UK trip in January. 

The issue, entitled 'Focus of Change', will feature 15 women considered "incredible trailblazers working tirelessly behind the scenes to change the world for the better", according to a post from the Sussex Royal Instagram account.

"For the cover, the Duchess chose a diverse selection of women from all walks of life, each driving impact and raising the bar for equality, kindness, justice and open mindedness," the post reads. 

A spot on the cover also features a mirrored insert, so the reader's reflection is placed among the trailblazing women, to "include the reader and encourage them to use their own platforms to effect change".

In a separate video posted to the Sussex Royal Instagram account, Ardern says: "One change that I've noticed over the course of my career, is just how polarised the world is now. I do think there is a solution to that though, and that's ultimately us coming back to the humanity that we all share."

A caption for the video reads: "Thank you PM Ardern for being an amazing force for change".

In an article on the Vogue website where Markle "introduces the September issue in her own words", the Duchess of Sussex says the cover shows a "diverse portraiture of women of varying age, colour, creed, nationality and life experience, and of unquestionable inspiration".

"To the women who have taken my aspirations for this issue and brought them to life by being a part of this time capsule, both on the cover and in-book, I am so grateful; you are inspirations to me and I’m humbled by your support."

National MP Judith Collins on Monday said she was annoyed that some people were being "mean" about Ardern appearing in the edition.

"In my view, every time New Zealand gets positive recognition as a sovereign country, that's actually good for us all," she tweeted.

Markle was called the UK's "most influential beacon of change" by Vogue's Editor-in-Chief, something Morgan said "she is most definitely not".

Among his other concerns, Morgan was also annoyed no men were included, saying Markle was forcing "her radical liberal opinions upon us" and that only five of the women selected were British.

"Here's my advice to Meghan: take a long hard look in the mirror you stuck on your Vogue cover, and ask yourself one question: 'Do I want to be a royal or a virtue-signalling political activist celebrity?'

"She can't be both."

The full list of changemakers featured:

  • Adwoa Aboah, mental health campaigner and model

  • Adut Akech, model and former refugee

  • Ramla Ali, boxer

  • Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand

  • Sinead Burke, diversity advocate and lecturer

  • Gemma Chan, campaigner and actor

  • Laverne Cox, LGBTQIA+ advocate and actor

  • January Fonda, campaigner and actor

  • Salma Hayek Pinault, women's rights advocate, actor and producer

  • Francesca Hayward, Royal Ballet principal dancer

  • Jameela Jamil, body positivity advocate and actor

  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, author

  • Yara Shahidi, founder of Eighteen x 18 and actor

  • Greta Thunberg, climate change campaigner and student

  • Christy Turlington Burns, founder of Every Mother Counts and model