It’s official: Meghan Markle—that is, the Duchess of Sussex—is reinventing herself as a lifestyle influencer. This week saw the big reveal of her new venture, American Riviera Orchard, with a slick logo unveiled in nine tiles on Instagram. An accompanying video gives a little more information, with Meghan seen artfully arranging white roses and hydrangeas in one shot, while in another she’s cooking at a beautiful kitchen island, in what we presume is her Montecito home. So far, so aspirational. Those who sign up for updates are promised news on “products, availability and updates,” while the trademark for the brand, filed in February, mentions decanters, kitchen linens, pet accessories, table card holders, nut butters, spreads, preserves, and jellies.

Ever since her 2022 interview with The Cut, where she dropped hints that she would be returning to Instagram, there has been intense speculation around Meghan’s next move. Prior to marrying into the royal family, the former Suits actor was also a budding lifestyle influencer, with her own blog, The Tig, on which she posted stories about her favorite recipes and home décor hacks, shared yoga workouts, and told you how to lay your table for Christmas. After almost four years, she was forced to shutter it when she became engaged to Prince Harry in 2017 as it was deemed inappropriate for a future royal bride, but there’s always been a sense that the idea never really left her mind.

Naturally, with the launch of American Riviera Orchard, many have drawn comparisons between Meghan and her fellow Hollywood A-listers turned lifestyle gurus. It’s been suggested that the Duchess is hoping to emulate the success of Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop, or to be the “new” Martha Stewart—with a certain snarkiness to the commentary. And while there are sparse details available about American Riviera Orchard at the moment, one thing that Meghan has included on the Instagram page is her royal title—the bio simply reads, “By Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. Established 2024”—which will no doubt irritate some corners of the internet, with the tired implication that she is somehow capitalizing on her married status. Yet in many ways, Meghan’s career pivot isn’t at all unusual for a royal—they have been lifestyle influencers, popularizing trends, promoting their favorite products, and selling their own wares, for centuries now.

After all, what Meghan is doing with American Riviera Orchard isn’t dissimilar to what her father-in-law, King Charles III, did with his Duchy Originals brand—and not just because they both sell jam. Launched in 1990 as a passion project for the then Prince of Wales, it championed his belief in organic farming practices, with milk from cows fed an organic diet and eggs from chickens given ample space to roam and forage. Mocked for what were seen as slightly “out there” views on agriculture for years, Charles was ahead of the curve, and so was Waitrose, who snapped up a partnership with the brand exclusively in 1992. Fast forward 30 years and Duchy Originals has raised in excess of $38 million for The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund, which promotes building sustainable communities, with a reported $4.5 million in profits for Waitrose in 2021 alone.

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