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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s ‘wokeness’ could trash their brand claims expert

The Duke and Duchess have spoken out publicly on a number of social issues including the fight against climate change. Speaking in September 2019 Harry referenced the Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg when he spoke out over global warming in Botswana.

He said: “This last week, led by Greta, the world’s children are striking.

“It’s a race against time and one in which we are losing. Everyone knows it.

“There’s no excuse for not knowing that and the most troubling part of that is that I don’t believe there’s anyone in this world that can deny science.”

However in the same month the Prince was criticised for flying by private jet, following claims he flew privately four times over 11 days.

According to Michael Carrington, a senior lecturer in marketing at the University of Melbourne, this has damaged the couple’s brand.

Writing for ABC Australia he said: “The question for brand ‘Harry and Meghan’ — the Sussex without the Royal — is whether corporates and consumers will continue to perceive this as a brand that reflects who they are or who they want to be.

“The Sussex Royal brand image was built around the idea of “wokeness”, an idea supported by Harry’s speech at the 2019 Google Climate Change Conference and their many Instagram posts referencing their environmental and social concerns.

“But this has already been tarnished.

“Harry and Meghan were accused of “environmental hypocrisy” after they were found to have travelled in private jets.

“The situation was a brand manager’s nightmare.

“Sponsors and consumers alike will already be wondering if this tarnish will rub off onto their own corporate and personal brands.”

Meghan and Harry sensationally announced they were stepping down from senior royal duties in January, in order to become ‘financially independent’.

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The couple said they plan to split their time between the UK and North America going forward.

However following an agreement with the Queen they have agreed to drop their ‘Sussex Royal’ branding.

According to Mr Carrington this risks real damage to Meghan and Harry’s brand.

He wrote: “While Sussex grounds the brand in a tangible peerage, Royal takes the brand into a level of prestige that is desirable yet unattainable — a desire that can only be satisfied by buying into the brand.

“With the Royal removed and even Sussex on potentially shaky ground — with public calls for Harry and Meghan to also lose their Duke and Duchess of Sussex titles — the very core of what Harry and Meghan stood for as a brand is at risk.

“What remains is at best unclear, and at worst, vacuous.”

Separately British taxpayers look set to foot the £20million bill for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s life abroad after the Canadian government refused to pay from March 31.

Scotland Yard officers protecting Harry and Meghan have been receiving assistance from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

But that help will end when they quit their official royal roles at the end of March because they will no longer be legally recognised as Internationally Protected Persons.

In a statement, Canada’s Office of the Minister of Public Safety said: “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex choosing to relocate to Canada on a part-time basis presented our government with a unique and unprecedented set of circumstances.

“At the request of the Metropolitan Police, the RCMP has been providing assistance to the Met since the arrival of the Duke and Duchess to Canada intermittently since November 2019.

“The assistance will cease in the coming weeks, in keeping with their change in status.”

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