Meghan and Harry are stepping down as senior members of the Royal Family on March 31 2020, in favour of a private and financially independent life. Their plan to create a new life in North America has been an area of thorough commentary in global media, and in the latest development, the couple are to stop using the word “Royal” in their branding. With the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’ new way of life already coming under attack, will the couple’s brand survive?
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will stop using the word “Royal” in their branding from Spring 2020, including changing their previous plans to name their non-profit organisation the Sussex Royal Foundation.
A spokeswoman for the couple reportedly said: “While the Duke and Duchess are focused on plans to establish their new non-profit organisation, given the specific UK government rules surrounding use of the word Royal, it has been therefore agreed that their non-profit organisation, when it is announced this Spring, will not be named Sussex Royal Foundation.”
“Therefore, the trademark applications that were filed as protective measures, acting on advice from and following the same model for The Royal Foundation, have been removed.”
Just Royal popularity?
The loss of this trademark will surely hit a sore spot for the couple as their existing reputation and following is tied heavily to their Royal status, as demonstrated by as their Instagram page “@sussexroyal”, which has a commendable 11.2 million followers.
The Royal couple’s official website ‘sussexroyal.com’ was registered in March 2019 and the site has been used to relay information from the couple to the public throughout this transition period. With regards to the latest update, the site states that “while there is not any jurisdiction by The Monarchy or Cabinet Office over the use of the word ‘Royal’ overseas, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex do not intend to use ‘Sussex Royal’ or any iteration of the word ‘Royal’ in any territory (either within the UK or otherwise) when the transition occurs Spring 2020.” It will be interesting to see whether their following sustains itself with the work they go on to do, or whether their exit will impact their popularity.
But what about public opinion?
A few people have displayed their dislike of Meghan and Harry’s actions – Meghan’s father Thomas Markle being one of them.
According to the Evening Standard, he recently was filmed commenting on the current saga. He reportedly said: “I’m very upset with Meghan and Harry right now. I don’t think they have the right to use the word Royal. I don’t think they have a right to speak to the Queen in the way they have spoken to her – I think it is an insult to the Queen and to the British public.”
It is important to bare in mind that tensions are bound to be high due to the steps that the Duke and Duchess have taken. It is understandable that Meghan and Harry would want to defend themselves – after all, Meghan herself has faced incredibly harsh headlines and racism, sexism and misogyny, depending on who you are talking to. Their struggle started with Harry expressing his agony at Meghan’s treatment by the press.
Anonymous abuse and unapologetic insults.
Huffington Post journalists Nadine White and Neil Macfarlane have explored the alleged abuse that Meghan has received on social media since making the announcement. Digital journalism analysts revealed that “400 tweets were captured in the the most severe category of abuse, containing sexist and racist insults.” Phrases included “self-loathing race traitor”, “trailer trash”, “Meghan the queen, of monkey island”, “the woke Meghan bint” and “poisonous cow”. You can read this here.
Public opinion may be divided, but it is clear that in order to forge their new desired life the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will have to recreate themselves – and apart from the Royal Family. Their official Royal exit is looming and both the world and the rest of the Royal Family will have to adjust – as Meghan and Harry do what has never been done before.