Meghan Markle Returns to Royal Playbook After Rebrand

Meghan Markle Returns to Royal Playbook After Rebrand

Meghan Markle renewed a link with her former role as a working member of the royal family this week, as she sent a video message to one of the charities of which she was patron while living in Britain with Prince Harry.

The duchess of Sussex sent a message of warm wishes to the Mayhew animal charity on Wednesday as they unveiled a new wing of their London facility built partially with a donation she made in 2022. It honored Meghan's late friend, the dog behaviorist and trainer, Oli Juste.

He introduced Meghan to the Mayhew charity in 2019, the year after her marriage to Harry, and she soon took on the official role as the organization's royal patron for a three-year term.

Meghan Markle Charity Video Message
Main picture: The duchess of Sussex photographed during her three-day visit to Canada for Invictus Games events, February 16, 2024. And (inset) Meghan as she appeared in a video message played during Mayhew's Oli Juste... Karwai Tang/WireImage/Mayhew

In her video message, sent from her home in California, Meghan praised Mayhew and its work. Newsweek approached representatives of Meghan Markle via email for comment.

"A heartfelt thank you to the wonderful team at Mayhew who have worked tirelessly to bring this dream to life," the duchess said of the new wing. "It was so important to find a way to celebrate Oli's memory in a manner that he would have loved. Mayhew is a beacon of hope for those in need and a shining example of what can be achieved when we work together."

The duchess' term as royal patron of Mayhew ended in 2022 and was one of her last working links with the U.K. It was formed during her time as a working royal before her split from the monarchy with Harry and moved to America in 2020.

Details of Meghan's video message to her former charity, and the opening of the Oli Juste Wing, were reported both by Mayhew and also the duchess' new-look website, which she shares with her husband.

On February 12, the couple unveiled a complete rebrand of their public-facing hub, transforming their personal website from archewell.com—a name shared with their charitable foundation and for-profit production company—to sussex.com. The topline branding reads: "The Office of Prince Harry & Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex."

Meghan Markle Mayhew Message
Guests photographed watching the duchess of Sussex's video message at the unveiling of Mayhew's Oli Juste Wing in London, February 21, 2024. As former royal patron, Meghan paid tribute to staff and her late friend... Mayhew

This move to reaffirm their ties to their titles earned the couple backlash from critics, who accused the pair of trading off their royal connections. However, the decision was hailed as a potentially savvy move to strengthen their public identity by branding experts.

Days after the website was unveiled, the couple embarked on a three-day visit to Canada to attend events connected with the one-year waypoint to the 2025 Invictus Games; they will be held in Vancouver and Whistler.

This trip harked back to the couple's tours as working royals. During the celebrations, Harry took part in a television interview with Good Morning America, in which he spoke of his "love" for his family back in Britain. He added that he plans to visit them during upcoming European visits.

This, combined with the new-look website and quasi-royal visit to Canada, sparked reports in Britain that Harry may be looking to resume some form of part-time work for the monarchy as his father, King Charles III, battles cancer.

At the time, neither Buckingham Palace nor representatives for Harry officially responded to these reports.

While Meghan's return to the royal playbook with her charity video message may be little more than a well-meaning gesture paying tribute to her late friend, it highlights the Sussexes' dual skillsets, not only as Hollywood players but also seasoned philanthropists.

James Crawford-Smith is Newsweek's royal reporter, based in London. You can find him on X (formerly Twitter) at @jrcrawfordsmith and read his stories on Newsweek's The Royals Facebook page.

Do you have a question about King Charles III, William and Kate, Meghan and Harry, or their family that you would like our experienced royal correspondents to answer? Email royals@newsweek.com. We'd love to hear from you.

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James Crawford-Smith is a Newsweek Royal Reporter, based in London, U.K. His focus is reporting on the British royal family ... Read more

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