The Duke and Duchess of Sussex cut ties and moved away to Meghan’s home state of California in March 2020. Cele Otnes, a professor of marketing specialising in how the Royal Family brands itself, told Express.co.uk that events coinciding with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s departure from the Royal Family stole the limelight away from their rebranding opportunities away from the Firm. She said: “Meghan and Harry had the rug pulled out from under them by Covid, with their attempt to try to build their brand here.
“Covid really yanked the headlines away.” In the UK, the initial coronavirus lockdown came into force on March 23, 2020, and March 31 marked the Duke and Duchess’s official exit from royal life, with a year-long transitional period.
Professor Otnes, co-author of “Royal Fever”, added now: “Russia is yanking the headlines away.” “China is yanking headlines away.” With these continuing international crises occupying headline space, Professor Otnes said the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee also confused the rebranding campaign the Duke and Duchess of Sussex would have wanted to forge ahead with.
She said: “In Britain, because the celebrations are happening there and they’re starting now for the big Jubilee, it’s more salient.” She then described how they could not truly capitalise on their separation from the Royal Family because of how their behaviour was seen in America.
She said of Megxit: “I think their actions were perceived as individual, self–centred actions.” Part of the issue with their branding, she claimed, was the Duke and Duchess of Sussex had not grasped the source of their popularity when they were part of the Royal Family, and therefore had difficulty carving out a new brand in the US.
Meghan, 40, saw her popularity dip in opinion polls in the wake of the Duke and Duchess’s relocation across the Atlantic as they severed ties with the Firm.
Professor Otnes commented: “Meghan doesn’t understand that the popularity that she could enjoy in that brand has everything to do with royalty and very little to do with Meghan – and very little to do with Harry.”
She believes their branding, as well as being disrupted by pandemics and international politics, or overshadowed by Royal Family celebrations in the UK, is further muddled by the message sent by their titles.
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