Per Lainey, these photos are from a 2015 photo shoot Meghan did with an Australian magazine, and French Elle was just canny enough to toss them on the cover and try to make them feel fresh. (I assume the cover story, which I haven’t read and couldn’t even if I found it because I took Spanish in school, is cobbled together from other interviews; there’s no way Meghan/KP granted a new interview to a publication as comparatively random as Elle France, knowing it would be dropped during the hot zone of her probable engagement.)

There’s been some uproar over whether Meghan’s freckles have been erased, or her skin tone touched up, and I get that. She’s long cited that, and the attempts to erase her ethnicity, as a pet peeve. But I didn’t notice the freckles as much as the makeup — it gives her two bruised or tired-seeming eyes — and the fact that the outfit itself isn’t terribly flattering. It’s aiming for the territory Sharon Stone occupied when she wore that Gap button-down with a designer skirt to the Oscars, but it misses. It’s almost too high/low, and definitely less polished. She looks like a girl in a dressing room trying to figure out if this skirt will work with anything in her closet at home. I guess it’s catch-as-catch-can with Meghan media right now. Personally, I want her and Kate to land American Vogue together in, say, August. THAT would fly off newsstands, and be a first for both of them — and hopefully be a step in the direction of treating them as equals and a team, rather than pitting them against each other. Which you know is coming, and in some ways has already started. I vote for Team Both Of Them.

[Photos: Elle France]