Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Slammed for Announcing Archewell Brand During Coronavirus Pandemic: ‘It Was the Worst Possible Timing’

Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex announced their new brand, Archewell, replacing Sussex Royal after they were prohibited from using it, but some royal fans and critics believe that the timing of their announcement was in poor taste.

Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend the annual Endeavour Fund Awards at Mansion House on March 5, 2020
Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex | Paul Edwards – WPA Pool/Getty Images

Prince Harry and Meghan could no longer use the Sussex Royal name

When Prince Harry and Meghan announced they were stepping back from their royal duties, part of their agreement was to cease the use of the Sussex Royal name.

The Sussexes released a statement on Feb. 21 that gave more details about how they wouldn’t use the ‘Sussex Royal’ name. “While The Duke and Duchess are focused on plans to establish a new non-profit organisation, given the specific UK government rules surrounding the use of the word ‘Royal,’ it has been therefore agreed that their non-profit organisation will not utilise the name ‘Sussex Royal’ or any other iteration of ‘Royal,’” the statement on the couple’s website noted.

The couple clarified, “While there is not any jurisdiction by The Monarchy or Cabinet Office over the use of the word ‘Royal’ overseas, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex do not intend to use ‘Sussex Royal’ or any iteration of the word ‘Royal’ in any territory (either within the UK or otherwise) when the transition occurs Spring 2020.”

Prince Harry and Meghan announced Archewell

On Apr. 6, Prince Harry and Meghan announced their upcoming brand, Archewell. The couple explained to The Telegraph that their new non-profit organization would “do something of meaning, to do something that matters.”

The name Archewell was inspired by their son’s name, Archie Harrison. “Before SussexRoyal, came the idea of ‘Arche’ — the Greek word meaning ‘source of action.’ We connected to this concept for the charitable organisation we hoped to build one day, and it became the inspiration for our son’s name,” Prince Harry and Meghan told The Telegraph.

They continued, “Archewell is a name that combines an ancient word for strength and action, and another that evokes the deep resources we each must draw upon.”

The Sussexes had to announce the brand but will delay its launch

Prince Harry and Meghan also explained that they won’t yet launch the brand because of the current coronavirus pandemic. “Like you, our focus is on supporting efforts to tackle the global COVID-19 pandemic,” they noted.

The couple felt they had to make the announcement, however, as The Telegraph had reported that paperwork for their new brand had been filed in the United States. “Faced with this information coming to light, we felt compelled to share the story of how this came to be,” they shared. “We look forward to launching Archewell when the time is right.”

Royal fans and critics weren’t happy with the timing

While Prince Harry and Meghan addressed why it was necessary to announce their new brand, the timing didn’t sit well with everyone.

One Twitter user noted: “I’m side eye this whole thing. They want people to focus on the coronavirus but they announced the name of their foundation? Yeah, attention seeking at its finest.”

Kathie Gyngell, the editor of The Conservative Woman, tweeted: “Couldn’t they have waited? Deeply inappropriate time.”

Another Twitter user slammed the couple, sharing: “I don’t really think it was sensible timing to announce this while we’re in the midst of a pandemic. It just makes them appear more detached from reality and the struggles that the everyday person is going through.”

Royal expert Phil Dampier, who wrote the book Royally Suited: Harry and Meghan in Their Own Words, weighed in on the matter. “It’s appalling timing, I would say. It was the worst possible timing,” he told MailOnline. “If I were Harry and Meghan I would have laid low until this situation (coronavirus) was over.”

He added, “People everywhere are really concerned with dealing with this and it does not look good, however good the cause is.”