Wednesday, 27 Oct 2021

Meghan and Harry ‘more at risk’ outside Kensington Palace ‘PR machine’

Andrew Morton discusses Meghan Markle’s royal education

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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are likely buzzing after their first joint public appearance since the birth of their daughter, Lilibet. They stunned fans during a speech for Global Citizen at New York’s Central Park, calling on global leaders to ensure COVID-19 vaccines are distributed equally. It is something the pair have championed in recent months, having appeared in a separate Global Citizen earlier this year delivering a similar message.

Speaking from the Great Lawn in the park, Harry said: “Are we prepared to do what is necessary to end this pandemic?” before Meghan added: “There is so much that we can do today, now that can get us closer to ending this pandemic and that’s why we’re all here.”

Meghan and Harry have pursued charitable endeavours at full-throttle speed since leaving the Royal Family last year.

While the pair had carried out their work in the Firm, they were confined to the realms of representing the royal establishment.

Now, however, they are hoping to transform their fledgling Archewell Foundation into a world-beating charity.

While they have the weight of their own personal brands behind it, many have claimed that the pair are far more at risk of PR disasters now that they no longer have the safe hands of the Palace guiding them.

Katie Nicholl, a royal expert, previously claimed that the absence of support from the Palace could pose a problem for the pair in the future.

Speaking to Channel 5’s documentary, ‘Meghan & Harry – Two Troubled Years’, she said: “I think that now that they have moved thousands of miles away from home, that they’re not supported by the Palace PR machines, they’re more vulnerable.

“They are more at risk.

“They’re more exposed now than ever.”

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On setting up Archwell — which includes their charitable foundation and business division focusing on media productions — Meghan and Harry hired a team of crack PR people in order to ensure theirs and their company’s image was squeaky clean.

Among the big hires included former Pinterest communications chief Christine Schirmer to lead their public relations team alongside Hollywood PR firm Sunshine Sachs.

Catherine St-Laurent, a former Bill Gates staffer and friend of the Trudeaus, was also welcomed on board as Chief of Staff — but after 12 months she stepped down to pursue her own business ambitions.

James Holt, the Sussexes’ communications person in the UK, stepped up to Executive Director of the Archewell Foundation.


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For their media branch, Ben Browning, an Oscar-nominated producer, was given the role of Head of Content, while Toya Holness, their media relations spokeswoman in California, stepped up to the role of Archewell’s global press secretary.

This week, praise was lapped on Meghan by David Furnish, Elton John’s husband.

The pair have worked closely together on bringing into life Meghan’s creation for Netflix, ‘Pearl’.

Speaking at the HELLO! Inspiration Awards, he said the Duchess was a “fantastic collaborator”.

He said: “She’s [Meghan] a fantastic collaborator, amazing leader.

“And we’re just very, very excited to be working with, you know, someone as influential and as supportive as Netflix.”

Pearl marks the first time the Suits star has turned her hand to working as a creator and executive producer on a TV series.

It will mark her first project as part of her and Harry’s £109million Netflix deal, announced last year.

In a statement at the time, the Duchess said: “Like many girls her age, our heroine Pearl is on a journey of self-discovery as she tries to overcome life’s daily challenges.

“I’m thrilled that Archewell Productions, partnered with the powerhouse platform of Netflix, and these incredible producers, will together bring you this new animated series, which celebrates extraordinary women throughout history.”

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