Meghan Markle's New Brand Is "No Different" From What King Charles, Other Royals Have Done for Decades: Expert

Her new venture has predictably received criticism ahead of launch.

Meghan Markle
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Members of the Royal Family are literally the original influencers, yet it seems only Meghan Markle receives criticism for using her platform to sell products.

Following the Duchess of Sussex' big reveal that she's launching a lifestyle brand named American Riviera Orchard—which is expected to sell consumer products such as cookware and homeware—Meghan has predictably received all sorts of flak about the venture.

Before the brand even opens up shop, social media users and tabloids have already called it a "trainwreck," and branded it "ridiculous." ARO has also widely been compared to Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop—which as we know has received heaps of criticism over the years.

King Charles III and Queen Camilla greet people after attending the Easter Mattins Service at Windsor Castle on March 31, 2024 in Windsor, England.

King Charles launched the successful organic food brand Duchy Originals in 1990.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

But for one historian, what's ridiculous is expecting royals not to use their influence and fame to generate income. Exhibit A: Then-Prince Charles launched the organic food brand Duchy Originals in 1990, a label which has since earned millions of dollars. Still, when Meghan tries her hand at commerce, she's ridiculed for it.

"The notion that royalty can ever be separated from social and cultural influence is absurd," Gareth Russell told British Vogue. "Royal support and royal patronage has huge clout. Obviously, as you enter the 20th century, this role of 'influencer' is complicated by the issue of potential commercial gain, but really if you look at things like the Duchy of Cornwall, which has been incredibly successful with its range of organic food, what the Duchess of Sussex is doing is essentially no different to other members of the Royal Family, including the most senior members."

I, for one, am excited to browse Meghan's selection of candles and fragrances, so that's something, I guess.

Morning Editor

Iris Goldsztajn is a London-based journalist, editor and author. She is the morning editor at Marie Claire, and her work has appeared in the likes of British Vogue, InStyle, Cosmopolitan, Refinery29 and SELF. Iris writes about everything from celebrity news and relationship advice to the pitfalls of diet culture and the joys of exercise. She has many opinions on Harry Styles, and can typically be found eating her body weight in cheap chocolate.