Meghan Markle and Prince Harry may be attempting to carve out a unique brand for themselves in the United States away from the royals, but one expert believes they have yet to hit the perfect balance in terms of their reputation.
Despite stepping down as working royals in 2020 and seeking to make a name for themselves in Hollywood, the pair continue to refer to themselves as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
Holding onto their titles across the ocean, according to Pauline Maclaran, Professor of Marketing and Consumer Research at Royal Holloway, University of London, is a mistake, especially if Meghan has political ambitions.
She said that she does not feel the Duchess has “built up enough credibility” to be taken seriously as a Democrat candidate while acknowledging Meghan’s support for parental leave and vaccine parity.
Professor Maclaran, on the other hand, disagreed with Meghan’s decision to utilize her Duchess of Sussex title while fighting for causes in the United States.
She explained: “When she was lobbying for parental leave she used her Duchess of Sussex title and I don’t think that was an appropriate move.
“To me that indicates she doesn’t quite know where she is. She wants to use that title as a status symbol but, for a political route in the US, using a title is really rather ridiculous. It shows she wants to keep a foot in both camps.
“She could have said she was co-founder of Archewell or an actress. The royal title still seems to contribute to her sense of self and identity. I think it shows she hasn’t got a clear direction.”
There is still “speculation” about Meghan running for office, but it is not uncommon for actors to enter politics in California, where she lives.
Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected Governor of California, while Ronald Reagan was elected President in the 1980s.
She continued: “It just depends how she develops a strategy, learns, and adapts. She could probably go far, but she has a lot of tainting to overcome.
“I would have thought the Americans are not over Harry’s book Spare. [The Sussexes] got teased mercilessly for that, particularly with South Park. That was really a significant popular culture moment where they became a huge laughing stock, and still are to an extent.
“I can’t see her going anywhere at the moment. She has to develop a clear image in her own right.”
Meghan’s next steps have been closely watched, particularly after she signed with a new talent agency, William Morris Endeavour, in April of this year.
Following the triumph of the Invictus Games 2023 in Germany last month, she and Harry appear to be focused on their humanitarian efforts for the time being.
This week, they were in New York for World Mental Health Day, when they held their Archewell Foundation’s event in-person event, aimed at assisting parents in supporting their children’s mental health in the digital age.