Back in Business: Meghan Markle Launches New Lifestyle Brand Dubbed American Riviera Orchard

Portrait of Meghan, Duchess of Sussex waving

Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex walks onstage during the 'Breaking Barriers, Shaping Narratives: How Women Lead On and Off the Screen' panel during the 2024 SXSW Conference and Festival on March 08, 2024 in Austin, Texas. Photo: Astrida Valigorsky/Getty Images

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, is returning to the lifestyle business. This week’s stealth launch of American Riviera Orchard – the posting of a grid logo on Instagram with an enigmatic, romantic video of her arranging flowers, cooking behind a counter in a pristine white tank and appearing against an arched doorway in a full-skirted black ballgown set to Nancy Wilson’s 1960 ballad I Wish You Love – landed her nearly 400,000 followers in 24 hours.

Meghan Markle
The grid on the Instagram page for American Riviera Orchard. Photo: Courtesy of Instagram / americanrivieraorchard


This is a return to the lifestyle-influencer space for Meghan, who famously shuttered her blog, The Tig, six years ago to join the Royal Family. At its peak, it had one million followers for her food, wine, travel, humanitarian, feminist and inspirational content. Her instincts, skills and comfort with social media were notable throughout her time as part of the Royal Family even though, in the four years since she and Harry left for North America, she has been off social media. 

This new venture has not been defined yet but the trademark application was swiftly unearthed, revealing we can look forward to jams, jellies, table settings, linens and cookbooks in its early iteration. Further applications list yoga mats, dog leashes and bird seed. Since Meghan and Harry have a deal with Netflix, the scuttlebutt is there will be a cooking show tie-in and a cookbook. The couple also still have books left on their Penguin Random House deal. 

While the name American Riviera is what the California coast near Montecito is colloquially called – and the glam video hints at a royal take on lifestyle it also gives a nod to that other famous American princess, Grace Kelly, who vacationed on the French Riviera. 

Meghan has actually worked hard to build a relatable brand. Our guess is more Martha Stewart than Gwyneth Paltrow (though Meghan has always had a wellness component to her image, and the Duchess and the Goop Queen have been seen dining together in recent months). 

I interviewed Meghan when she was living in Toronto, filming Suits and working on a (very relatable) fashion collaboration with Canadian fashion chain Reitmans. As soon as she sat down at the table at SoHo house for an hour-long chat, she was greeted with champagne to celebrate The Tig hitting a million-follower milestone. 

This was about a week before the Harry news hit headlines and her world spun into a whole different dimension of fame. But what was so clear that day was how passionate she was about her Tig audience. She described her close correspondence with young women who had been inspired by her work in Rwanda on water projects and her speech to the United Nations. This was a project she built entirely herself, creating posts in her trailer between takes for her TV show.

Meghan Markle stands against step and repeat background at Suits season 5 premiere
Meghan Markle attends the premiere of the fifth season of Suits at the Sheraton Los Angeles Downtown Hotel, 2016. Photo: Michael Tullberg/Getty Images


Meghan’s charity work usually focusses on community projects – and often includes food. Think of the fundraising cookbook she did with residents who survived the Grenfell Tower tragedy: Together: Our Community Cookbook. 

Yes, she wears designer clothes, and wears them beautifully. But she also clearly wants her work and outreach to appeal to a broad range of people. Our guess is that the brand will be built around a sense of inclusivity. Think of how Martha Stewart broke down entertaining and homemaking: Even though she lived in (many) huge mansions with unattainable perfectionist tendencies, she made you feel as though the serenity of a perfectly in-season batch of flowers from one’s cutting garden was within reach.

Meghan’s real kinship is for female-led brands. This is very much HER project, with solely her name on it. Harry did his book and book tour on his own; this is her creative baby. And after leaving Spotify she leapt to Lemonada Media with her podcast – a platform that includes such powerhouses as Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Sarah Silverman and Samantha Bee. She’s also invested in the female-led coffee company Clevr Blends, appearing in its marketing materials. Most recently, she spoke on an International Women’s Day panel at SXSW with Katie Couric and Brooke Shields, among other accomplished women. 

This lifestyle direction feels authentic to the Meghan Markle that existed before, and now exists fully again, the Palace years. It’s great that she took the time to build out her vision before launching: This is a huge leap and it had to be done right. It is consistent with the narrative that she has told about her life, her love for home and hearth and entertaining. 

That impulse and self-expression was, by necessity, quashed by the rules of life as a senior royal. It must feel great for her to get back onto the path she began a decade ago, with the crazy, heady, overwhelming experiences she has had in between informing the peace she has found.


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