To know Prince Harry is to know his disdain for the media. And to know Meghan Markle is to know her appreciation of it.
Meghan is more adept at working the media – both social and traditional – thanks to her years of climbing the Hollywood ladder. Her husband, on the other hand, has spent nearly his entire life trying to escape it.
When Meghan was first introduced to the royal family fold in 2016, much was made of her foray – she was hailed as the feminist breath of fresh air who would modernise the monarchy. But within just a few short years, it all became too much and she’s hot-footing it out of the UK and back to Canada, where she has seven years worth of positive memories.
During her time working on Suits, her star power increased as the show’s popularity grew, but she hadn’t quite moved past the C-list yet and she wasn’t recognisable enough for paparazzi interest until she met her now-husband.
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“I have never been part of tabloid culture. I have never been in pop culture to that degree and lived relatively quiet life, even though I focus so much on my job,” she said in their engagement interview. “So that was a really stark difference out of the gate.”
And if you’re to be careful what you wish for, Meghan’s dream of global celebrity came at the very real price of her privacy, trust, and even sacrificing her relationship with her father. So, the Sussexes decision to re-frame the narrative around them isn’t surprising to any royal watchers, or anyone familiar with Meghan’s pre-royal work.
Their preferred medium of choice has long been Instagram. For years before meeting Harry, Meghan ran a lucrative blog and had one million followers on social before deleting the account; informing a lot of her knowledge about reach, analytics and messaging as a royal.
Her return to The Tig is not an unreasonable path: her long-serving business manager Andrew Meyer extended the trademark on the defunct blog for another two years and trademarked Tigtots, which would likely be a children’s branch of the business.
When it comes to messaging for that digital business strategy, Meghan and Harry have recruited 26-year-old Dubliner David Watkins as their digital communications lead. Watkins, who formerly worked on Burberry’s social team, is a UCD graduate based in London and joined the Sussexes squad late last year.
Read more: Meghan Markle’s father claims he was ‘hung out to dry’ by her
It’s believed he was the brains behind the couple’s famous behind the scenes video with baby Archie during their South Africa tour, serving as an adorable global introduction to their son before meeting Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
“David is the perfect person to help them do this: his amazing video skills and visionary photographs have already been widely praised by the Sussexes’ fans,” a source told The Sun.
His recruitment earned headlines round the world and he was pictured with Meghan last week in pictures of her leaving the National Theatre in London, of which she is a patron.
While his role in the couple’s next chapter is unclear, Meghan’s is: she has been dusting off that institutional digital knowledge in order to get her message across clearly in Canada. While she and Harry have been purposely tight-lipped regarding their future, while he finalises details of their departure from traditional royal roles, she made her first appearance on Wednesday. Where else? On Facebook.
Meghan paid a visit to the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre in Vancouver to discuss “issues affecting women in the community”.
The shelter posted a photograph on its Facebook page of Meghan at the centre of a group of eight women, with the caption “Look who we had tea with today! The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, visited us today to discuss issues affecting women in the community.”
Later, two black and white shots of her chatting with members of the Justice for Girls charity. It fights for civil rights for women and indigenous people, and its climate justice campaign is pushing for an end to the use of fossil fuels.
But news of Meghan’s visit wasn’t highlighted in advance as is standard for a royal visit, but instead shared after the fact on Twitter; indicative of the couple’s new media strategy already being put in place.
“The Duchess put everyone at ease and had a really engaged discussion with us for 90 minutes about our work and the rights of teenage girls who live in poverty. We were honoured that she chose to have this conversation with us and is interested in the work we do,” Zoe Craig-Sparrow, co-director of the organisation said.
Posts like this are not shared without the individual’s seal of approval.
In all pictures, she looks more at ease than she has in years and has returned to wearing clothing from her pre-duchess days, including a Barbour ‘Epler’ jacket, a pair of Le Chameau boots – and most notably, a cable knit jumper by The Row, first worn by her character Rachel Zane on Suits. It was a sign that Meghan had returned to her natural habitat and was relishing the freedom of not having to wear flesh-coloured tights, nude nail polish or have her shoe size analysed.
It’s a fitting illustration of their intention to not only eradicate the royal rota reporter system (which involves pool reporters from traditional publications) and instead, they will be emphasis an investment in their social media presence and instead “engage with grassroots media organisations and young, up-and-coming journalists”.
Thanks Cape Town for another impactful and memorable day! A few more highlights of this very special visit with Archbishop Desmond Tutu #RoyalVisitSouthAfrica Video ©️SussexRoyal
A post shared by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (@sussexroyal) on
But, as Camilla Tominey points out in today’s Telegraph, their dream for a quiet life in Canada and Los Angeles, the land of TMZ, might be just a pipe dream and he “may well make Harry yearn for the days he was followed around Windsor by a snapper on a bicycle”.
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