They don’t talk themselves down, do they? Harry and Meghan’s new website, Sussex.com, tells us that “The Office of Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, is shaping the future through business and philanthropy”.
And in case you want to know more about them, Harry is billed as a “humanitarian, military veteran, mental health advocate and environmental campaigner” while Meghan is described as “one of the most influential women in the world” and a “feminist and champion of human rights”. Most influential by what yardstick? Let’s not go there.
There’s been some ill-natured comment today about the Sussexes’ use of their title and the royal coat of arms on the website. Well, to do Harry justice, he is actually the King’s younger son. If he can’t use the royal coat of arms, who can? And the couple are entitled to use their title: even if dukes once didn’t go in so openly for monetising their assets.
As for brand Harry and Meghan, there’s no disguising that the tin is rather empty inside
Besides, the whole Archewell thing (their previous incarnation) was baffling and silly — a faked-up name to conjure up their son Archie and some wellness concept. The new website name is intelligible, which is always nice.
Having said which, the combination of coat of arms, title and er, mission statement, is revealing. It makes visually apparent the very threadbare claim of the couple to any say on anything in their own right — Meghan’s goshawful book, The Bench is mentioned — and the real nature of their claim to attention: the coat of arms.
It does prompt a batsqueak of pity for Prince Harry, who could have done quite a lot for veterans in his old role. So too does today’s claim from the journalist Petronella Wyatt that on his visit to his father after the cancer diagnosis, Harry declined to be in the same room as his stepmother, Camilla. That honest loathing of a woman he correctly identifies as a primary cause of the breakdown of his parents’ marriage is, I think, perfectly justifiable.
As for brand Harry and Meghan, whatever name is on it, there’s no disguising that the tin is rather empty inside. “Shaping the future?” I think not, myself.
Melanie McDonagh is an Evening Standard columnist