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Meghan Markle's business ventures since leaving royal family explored: from best-selling book, podcast to lifestyle brand

The Duchess of Sussex is forging her own path since leaving the royal family

Matthew Moore
Online News Writer & Diversity and Inclusion Lead
24 April 2024
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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex surprised the world when they announced they would be leaving the royal family back in 2020. Although they received some money from Harry's father, the then Prince Charles, the couple were expected to forge their own path.

And with their own charitable organisation, Netflix deals and now a lifestyle brand from Meghan, the pair have certainly been doing so. Meghan has been more at the forefront, with the royal mum-of-two fronting an award-winning podcast and launching her aforementioned lifestyle brand, which will sell all manner of items from shower gels to yoga mats and even jams and jellies.

Read on for the lowdown on all of Meghan's ventures since moving to California for her new life…


Meghan Markle in a cream suit with a microphone© Bryan Bedder
Archewell is Harry and Meghan's biggest venture

Announced at the same time that Harry and Meghan officially stood down as members of the royal family, the non-profit organisation Archwell has been their main venture. In a statement about the brand, Harry and Meghan said: "Before SussexRoyal, came the idea of 'Arche'—the Greek word meaning 'source of action.'

"We connected to this concept for the charitable organisation we hoped to build one day, and it became the inspiration for our son's name. To do something of meaning, to do something that matters. Archewell is a name that combines an ancient word for strength and action, and another that evokes the deep resources we each must draw upon. We look forward to launching Archewell when the time is right."

The launch of the organisation was initially held up due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but six months after its announcement, Archewell's website was created. Since its launch, the company has supported numerous charities and also helped in the fight against COVID-19, donating money to organisations distributing vaccines.

Despite being a large part of their brand, the organisation reported a substantial decrease in donations from 2022 to 2023 in an annual report. However, despite the financial challenges, Archewell still holds substantial assets, with around $8.3 million in cash and other assets. The Duke and Duchess do not draw a salary from the foundation.

Netflix deal

David Oyelowo, Misan Harriman and Meghan Markle in a brown suit all sat on chairs© Emma McIntyre
Meghan and Harry have a multi-year deal with Netflix

Six months after stepping away from the royal family, the couple confirmed they had signed a multi-year deal with Netflix, with the pair producing numerous programmes for the streaming giant. In a statement, they said: "Our lives, both independent of each other, and as a couple have allowed us to understand the power of the human spirit: of courage, resilience, and the need for connection.

"Through our work with diverse communities and their environments, to shining a light on people and causes around the world, our focus will be on creating content that informs but also gives hope."

The first major project that the pair broadcast was their 2022 docu-series, Harry & Meghan, which offered an in-depth look into their lives as a couple, Meghan's early life and their exit from the royal family. The programme smashed records on the platform and became the biggest documentary debut in Netflix's history.

The couple have also dropped Live to Lead and Heart of Invictus on the platform and earlier in the month, it was confirmed that two new shows led by Harry and Meghan will be produced. One will focus on the world of polo while the second will have Meghan as an executive producer and will "celebrate the joys of cooking and gardening, entertaining and friendship".

The Bench

The opening pages of The Bench© Leon Neal
The Bench was released in 2021

In 2021, the Duchess of Sussex wrote her own children's book, The Bench. Meghan wrote the text and narrated the audiobook while the watercolour pictures were illustrated by Charles Robinson. The Bench was somewhat inspired by Meghan's relationships with Harry and their son, Prince Archie and it examines a father-son bond told through the eyes of a mother.

Although the book garnered mixed critical reviews, it was clearly popular and it topped the New York Times' Best Sellers list in the children's picture books category.

Archie was a big fan of his mum's foray into the literary world, with the Duchess sharing: "Archie loves the book, Christian I haven't told you... he loves the book, which is great because he has a voracious appetite for books. Constantly when we read him a book he goes, 'Again, again, again' and now we can say, 'Mommy wrote the book for you', it feels amazing."


Meghan Markle smiling in a red outfit© Chris Jackson
Meghan's podcast won a People's Choice award

It's not just books where Meghan topped the charts, as the Duchess of Sussex won a People's Choice Award for her Archetypes podcast which debuted on Spotify in August 2022. The podcast regularly topped listening charts and saw Meghan interviewing women like Serena Williams, Paris Hilton and MJ Rodriguez where they explored and different stereotypes and prejudices could hold women back.

Although Archetypes was signed on for a multi-year deal with Spotify, after just one series, Meghan parted ways with the company. A statement at the time read: "The team behind Archetypes remain proud of the podcast they created at Spotify. Meghan is continuing to develop more content for the Archetypes audience on another platform."

WATCH: Sussexes' Spotify deal ends after one series of Meghan’s podcast

However, Meghan hasn't left the podcasting world, and in February it was confirmed that the Duchess had signed a deal with Lemonada Media. In a statement, the Duchess said: "I'm proud to now be able to share that I am joining the brilliant team at Lemonada to continue my love of podcasting. I'm so eager to be able to share [my new podcast] soon, and am overjoyed to be joining the Lemonada family."

Clevr & Ethic

Meghan Markle in white and Prince Harry in a suit© Samir Hussein
The couple have invested in brands that mirror their values

Two of Meghan's lesser-highlighted projects are her investments in two companies that hold special places in her heart: coffee brand Clevr and financial services company Ethic.

Clevr began as a "pop-up adaptogenic coffee bar" and its plant-based drinks contain many natural benefits. The brand is also socially conscious, relying on ethical and transparent supply chains, while also donating parts of their revenue towards "equitable food systems".

Meghan has appeared in an ad for the company and speaking to Fortune about her investment, the Duchess explained: "This investment is in support of a passionate female entrepreneur who prioritises building community alongside her business. I'm proud to invest in Hannah's commitment to sourcing ethical ingredients and creating a product that I personally love and has a holistic approach to wellness."

As for Ethic, the brand's name is mirrored in its ethos and it focuses on environmental, social and governance investing. Speaking about her background and reason behind investing in Ethic, Meghan told the Dealbook: "From the world I come from, you don't talk about investing, right? You don't have the luxury to invest. That sounds so fancy.

"My husband has been saying for years, 'Gosh, don't you wish there was a place where if your values were aligned like this, you could put your money to that same sort of thing?'"

American Rivera Orchard

Meghan Markle in a tan dress© Robin L Marshall
Meghan's new brand was announced last month

Meghan made the surprise announcement that she was launching a lifestyle brand, American Rivera Orchard, on 14 March. Trademark filings have revealed that the company will be selling everything from yoga mats to jam and jellies and even tableware.

The name of Meghan's new venture references the royal's life in California. Meghan's home in Montecito is located in Santa Barbara, which is often referred to as the 'American Riviera'.

Although the brand has not yet officially launched, some of Meghan's friends have begun receiving hampers with products from the brand, with a jar of jam arriving surrounded by lemons.

The launch of Meghan's new venture follows the closure of her former lifestyle blog, The Tig, in April 2017. Described as "a hub for the discerning palate - those with a hunger for food, travel, fashion & beauty", the blog provided a platform for Meghan's fashion, travel and beauty tips.

What is a lifestyle brand?

A lifestyle brand is a kind of company that sells its products through marketing towards a certain lifestyle. Often you'll find personal stories alongside the products which explain why it may hold a special place in the seller's heart.

RELATED: The second clue you missed about Meghan Markle's lifestyle brand

READ: Meghan Markle's obsession with Pilates builds 'full body strength and stability'

One of the ways that a brand may target people is by showing that it shares values and beliefs with its ideal customer and it will feature consumer experiences at its forefront as opposed to its products.

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