According to Nick Ede: ‘Archewell has quite a big war chest which enables it to fund various things, but the biggest quandary is who Meghan and Harry are. What actually is their purpose? Is it to criticise the Royal Family or is it to be philanthropic? Because one distracts from the other.’
The past year has certainly been a turbulent one for their ex-Royal Highnesses, with fears that ongoing personal sagas risk overshadowing their charitable work.
‘It’s been damage after damage to their reputation,’ says Ede.
Barely a month of 2023 has passed without some drama, beginning in January with Harry’s memoir, Spare, which sold more than 3.2 million copies worldwide after one week of publication.
Harry faced a backlash for several of its revelations; among them his claim to have killed 25 Taliban in Afghanistan and his allegation that Prince William knocked him to the ground in a row about Meghan.
In February, makers of the animated U.S. TV series, South Park, took aim at the couple via a parody of their decision to step back as senior members of the Royal Family.
The ‘Worldwide Privacy Tour’ episode featured the ‘dumb and stupid’ Prince of Canada and his wife promoting his book while demanding privacy.
In March, a Florida judge dismissed a defamation lawsuit filed against Meghan by her half-sister Samantha Markle after statements in the couple’s 2021 CBS interview with Oprah Winfrey as well as in a biography about Meghan, Finding Freedom. But a new complaint was filed last month and a trial is set for November 2024.