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Meghan Markle’s Bold Move Lifestyle Brand Launch With Influencers Ignites Controversy In Royal Circles (1)


Meghan Markle’s Bold Move: Lifestyle Brand Launch With Influencers Ignites Controversy In Royal Circles

Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, has launched her lifestyle brand American Riviera Orchard, stoking controversy within royal circles. On March 14, Markle teased the venture by launching an Instagram account, though she or her husband, Prince Harry, made no formal announcement.

According to Fox News, the brand’s first product, a strawberry jam, surfaced on April 15 when fashion designer Tracy Robbins and photographer Delfina Blaquier, wife of polo star Nacho Figueras, shared photos on Instagram. The jar’s logo appears to be Markle’s handwriting, a skill she previously utilized as a calligraphy teacher.

The launch’s timing raises eyebrows as King Charles III and Princess of Wales Kate Middleton both face cancer battles. Kinsey Schofield, host of the “To Di For Daily” podcast, implies the launch’s timing is ill-advised, missing an opportunity for family unity.

“Her ultimate objective today is to build an empire, change public perception through related Netflix content, and build a lifestyle brand through retail and content creation,” Schofield told Fox. “But some might see it as Meghan just reverting to influencer.”

Hilary Fordwich, a British royals expert, expresses confusion over the launch given the Sussexes’ prior commitment to service. In 2021, their office stated, “They remain committed to their duty and service…and have offered their continued support to the organizations they have represented regardless of official role.”

“The former power couple…are now reduced to flogging jam,” Fordwich said for Fox. “Since they have publicly preached humanitarianism, what happened to helping the poor and starving?”

However, author Christopher Andersen draws parallels to King Charles’ Duchy of Cornwall brand, known for preserves. “Obviously, Meghan was inspired by her father-in-law,” Andersen told Fox, noting Cornwall’s $3.50 jam prices contrast with Markle’s likely aiming higher given the initial production of only 50 jars.

According to Fox News reporting, the Duchess has filed additional trademarks expanding into cosmetics and gardening tools. The brand’s original filing covered textiles, cookware, books, and retail spaces.

Marketing expert Doug Eldridge notes that Markle faces stiff competition from other celebrities’ successful lifestyle brands, such as Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop and Jessica Alba’s The Honest Company. However, she could still succeed despite lacking their star power.

“The question is what the market looks like for jam,” Eldridge told Fox. “Most people can name Smucker’s, Welch’s, or the classic Polaner All Fruit…Ironically, jam is arguably more popular in the United Kingdom than it is in the United States.”

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David Adler is an entrepreneur and freelance blog post writer who enjoys writing about business, entrepreneurship, travel and the influencer marketing space.

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