Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have launched another new website – their third since stepping back from the royal family – but while many fans love the new design others aren’t impressed, with royal historian Hugo Vickers labelling it as “exploitative in the extreme”
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have sparked controversy by launching a new website boasting their links to the royal family.
The major rebrand, four years after their decision to quit their royal roles in favour of making millions in the corporate world, links to their former ‘Sussex Royal’ website which they were banned from using by the late Queen. Under the terms of an agreement struck with Buckingham Palace, Harry and Meghan can use their Duke and Duchess titles but cannot use HRH in their commercial endeavours. A statement from the palace at the time of the couple’s departure from royal life said “everything they do will continue to uphold the values of Her Majesty”.
Harry and Meghan left the royal family to seek “financial freedom” and quickly set about signing commercial deals with streaming giants Netflix and Spotify for an estimated £100million. But their decision to quietly launch a Sussex.com site, using Meghan’s coat of arms and detailing their children’s prince and princess titles, was last night branded “exploitative in the extreme”.
Buckingham Palace did not comment but The Mirror understands the couple did not consult palace officials before launching the new endeavour.
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Esteemed royal historian Hugo Vickers said: “It goes against everything the Sussexes promised they would not do. They are trading on their royal titles and associations in every way you look at it. From the royal coat of arms used, to their Sussex titles to the titles of their children. It doesn’t matter what parameters you judge it on, the man on the street would identify those behind the website as part of the royal family. It is exploitative in the extreme.”
Replacing the main hub for their Archewell organisation, established in the wake of their departure from the royal family to highlight their commercial and charity work, the new site constantly refers to the couple by their official royal titles.
The name was inspired by their son Archie – combining “arche”, the Greek word meaning source of action, and “well” as “a plentiful source or supply; a place we go to dig deep”.
The new website links to the couple’s non-profit organisation the Archewell Foundation and their production company Archewell Productions, which produced Meghan’s “Archetypes” podcast which was not commissioned for a second series by Spotify.
A photo of Harry, 39, and Meghan, 42, at the 2023 Invictus Games closing ceremony in September, dominates the main web page, overlaid with the text: “The Office of Prince Harry & Meghan, The Duke & Duchess of Sussex”.
It also features a special coat of arms designed for Meghan when she married Prince Harry in May 2018. Meghan worked closely with the College of Arms to create the design, which included a number of personal elements.
The blue background of the shield represents the Pacific Ocean off the California coast, while two golden rays across the shield are symbolic of the sunshine in Meghan’s hometown of Los Angeles, while the three quills represent “communication and the power of words”.
However, embarrassingly for the couple, royal historians pointed to the fact the logo is “outdated and redundant” as a key detail identifies Harry as the grandchild of the monarch, instead of the son of the sovereign.
Prince Harry has his own coat of arms and the pair’s symbols can be combined into a “conjugal coat of arms”, however, their combined version was never officially revealed by the palace.
Tom Johnston, of the College of Arms, said: “It pertains to them and they can use it at their discretion.”
But Mr Vickers added: “The coat of arms used by the Sussexes is also “outdated and redundant having five points of the lapel, signifying the grandchild of the monarch, rather than three points, denoting Harry as the King’s son. There is a strong argument that this shouldn’t be used at all, regardless of the version, the Sussexes are trading on their royal connections which was explicitly against the terms of their departure from the royal family.”
On the bottom right of the homepage, the couple’s titles appear under their joint cypher.
The design features an intertwined “H” and “M” in the same cursive style as both Harry and Meghan’s individual cyphers, again critics argue, in direct contravention with their roles outside of the royal family.
In the “About” section, the website states: “The Office of Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex is shaping the future through business and philanthropy.”
Harry and Meghan’s sections both mention their children by royal titles “Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet”, described as “surprising” by one royal source.
Meghan’s lengthy bio describes her as “a feminist and champion of human rights and gender equity”.
Alongside a list of awards, garnered since their time in the United States together, Meghan describes herself as a “New York Times bestselling author”, with her joint cookbook with the women of the Hubb Community Kitchen in the UK, who were displaced after the tragic Grenfell Fire.
Meghan also lists herself as being “named one of the most influential women in the world in rankings including TIME Magazine’s Most Influential People, The Financial Times’ 25 Most Influential Women, Variety Power of Women, and British Vogue’s Vogue 25”.
Just one sentence refers to her marriage to Prince Harry.
Harry and Meghan are expected to attend the Invictus Games Vancouver Whistlers 2025’s One Year to Go event in Wednesday.
The Duke and Duchess will join members of the participating nations’ Winter Training Camp.