Everyone seems to agree that Meghan Markle has reached a crucial juncture in her career.
However, critics of the duchess think that she’s flailing in her efforts to remain relevant, while supporters believe the sky is the limit, and Meghan just needs to decide which industry she wants to conquer next.
As usual, the truth lies somewhere between the circumstances described by the two opposing teams of extremists.
By just about any metric, Meghan has had a tough year, but a comeback is not only possible, it seems inevitable — especially given the power of the marketing machine behind her.
In April, Meghan signed with the powerful WME talent agency, and insiders described the move as the beginning of a rebranding effort launched in response to a string of minor PR setbacks.
But there were more lows to come:
In June, Spotify canceled Meghan’s podcast after just one season, and there were rumors that Netflix execs were similarly displeased with the quantity of content they’d received from the Sussexes.
In response to these setbacks, and possibly at the advice of WME, Meghan and Harry decided to part ways professionally in the hope that they’d find greater success as a pair of solo acts than as a duo.
The Sussexes have been appearing in public separately more often than ever in recent months, and fans were surprised to learn that Meghan does not have a producer credit on Harry’s new Netflix doc about the Invictus Games.
Much has also been made of the fact that while Harry is on camera throughout much of the film, Meghan appears only briefly.
The latest sign of a professional parting of ways is Meghan’s plan to return to Instagram.
The Sussexes abandoned their joint account on the platform back in 2020, and if the duchess’ new handle — the simple, understated “@meghan” — is any indication, she will be returning to Instagram unaccompanied.
Now, on the anniversary of the death of Harry’s mother, Princess Diana, experts are weighing in on how the public might respond to Meghan’s decision to detach her career from that of her beloved husband.
“There were clear signs of a professional separation when WME announced that they were only signing Meghan Markle,” Kinsey Schofield of the “To Di for Daily” podcast told Fox News this week.
“Then the Heart of Invictus trailer was released, and we discovered that Prince Harry was the executive producer — without Meghan.
“I certainly think that Meghan has counsel in her ear telling her that she is better off without Prince Harry and the royal drama — professionally — but Meghan was a working actor before Harry,” Schofield continued.
“She was not a celebrity or a household name. We loved and accepted Meghan because we have loved Prince Harry since he was a little boy.”
“He elevated her, and I think people will be much more forgiving of him before they will forgive her.”
Schofield went on to explain that many royal-watchers are already tired of Meghan’s quest for fame, and the duchess should brace herself for the possibility that people will “continue to sour toward her as she chases the spotlight.”
“If Meghan strays too far from Harry, people’s hearts might soften towards Harry — especially with all the recent charity work we’ve seen him do … solo … plus Heart of Invictus,” the podcaster said, adding that Harry “is going back to his royal roots, and it does make a difference.”
“We are less likely to criticize him when he is putting all his effort into something positive that will help others,” Schofield continued.
“I think she takes a huge risk distancing herself from the individual that gave her the platform that she has today. As a former PR professional, I would not advise it.”
Those comments were echoed by celebrity marketing expert Doug Eldridge, who told Fox News that “an old cliché in Hollywood” is that “it’s not about talent, it’s about temperature.”
“If that is the metric for casting high-dollar projects, then Markle is still a question mark,” Eldridge said.
“She has tabloid appeal, but it’s been half a decade since Suits limped off the air, and her last two major media deals were largely panned and didn’t yield the expected return.”
Though it ended its run back in 2019, Suits became a surprise hit on Netflix over the summer — but Schofield cautions that that should not be taken as a sign of Meghan’s widespread appeal.
“The success of Suits is great, but a significant amount of that success can be chalked up to Netflix literally shoving it down our throats this summer,” she said.
Schofield believes that Harry and Meghan both went overboard in their criticism of the royal family, and she says it might be a long time before the general public views them as anything other than entitled whiners.
“Obviously, I wish they both would have focused on philanthropy for their first several years away from the royal family versus vengeance,” Schofield said.
“We would be having a very different discussion had they chosen that path.”
The Sussexes might do well to bear in mind that Harry’s mother won hearts and minds the world over not by seeking popularity but by endeavoring to make the world a better place.
Perhaps following in those footsteps would do more for Meghan’s career than any high-profile media venture.