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Meghan Markle launches surprise new lifestyle brand, American Riviera Orchard

The Duchess of Sussex has unveiled her new business venture with a surprise post on Instagram.

On Thursday 14 March, Meghan Markle appeared to announce the launch of her lifestyle brand, American Riviera Orchard. In a post shared to the brand’s Instagram Story, a video showed the 42-year-old duchess picking flowers and cooking in a kitchen, set to “I Wish You Love” by Nancy Wilson.

The bio for the new Instagram page simply reads, “by Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex⁣⁣⁣” and “⁣⁣Established 2024⁣⁣⁣”. Along with the social media launch, the website for American Riviera Orchard simply shows the brand’s script-like logo with “Montecito” - the neighbourhood where she and husband Prince Harry relocated after stepping down from the royal family in 2020 - written under it.

According to a report from Page Six, Meghan’s American Riviera Orchard will focus on home, garden, food, and general lifestyle content. The brand will also reportedly sell a variety of home goods, such as cookbooks, foods, and kitchenware.

The brand name “American Riviera Orchard” is likely a nod to her newfound home in Santa Barbara, California - which has long been hailed as the “American Riviera” for its temperate climate, landscapes, and its “robust food and wine culture,” according to Travel and Leisure.

Meghan Markle launches lifestyle brand with Instagram Story video (Instagram / American Riviera Orchard)
Meghan Markle launches lifestyle brand with Instagram Story video (Instagram / American Riviera Orchard)

This isn’t the first time Meghan has journeyed into the lifestyle space. Prior to her 2018 royal wedding to Prince Harry, the former Suits actor ran The Tig - a lifestyle blog she created in 2014 before shutting it down in 2017. Meghan has previously described the blog as a digital “conversation between girlfriends,” where she wrote about not only fashion and beauty content, but also a place to publish inspiring pieces for young women. Back in 2022, it was reported that Meghan had recently applied to trademark The Tig, sparking speculation of a rebrand.

The Instagram post also marks Meghan’s return to social media, after she had deactivated her personal account upon joining the royal family. Last year, rumours swirled that the duchess was planning on making her Instagram comeback when an unverified Instagram account with the Instagram handle @meghan gained thousands of followers overnight. In an interview with The Cut published in August 2022, she teased her return to the platform. “Do you want to know a secret?” Meghan revealed to journalist Allison P Davis. “I’m getting back… on Instagram.”

However, the mother of two has long decried the “toxicity” of social media, most recently during a keynote panel at the South by South West (SXSW) festival in Texas on International Women’s Day. “I keep my distance from it,” she said last week.

In February, Meghan and Harry quietly relaunched their new website, Sussex.com. The website’s homepage reads, “The Office of Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex”, and links to the Archewell Foundation, Archewell Productions, and their Sussex Royal website at the foot of the page. The new site will reportedly bring more personal updates about the duke and duchess’s activities.

The launch of Meghan’s American Riviera Orchard comes amid much controversy surrounding the royal family, after the Princess of Wales admitted to editing a family photograph shared on Mother’s Day in the UK. The manipulated photo has since led to several agencies to pull the shot and Kate Middleton making a public apology.

The Independent has contacted representatives for Meghan Markle for comment.