Meghan Markle’s burst of recent A-list and Hollywood appearances is a ‘tactic’ to create a fresh buzz around her name and bring in new lucrative work, one of Britain’s leading PR gurus told MailOnline today.
Mark Borkowski believes that the Duchess of Sussex is being advised ‘to send signals out’ that she wants to return to TV and film.
Meghan spoke on the red carpet at the Variety event on Thursday, teasing to the press that she and Harry have ‘exciting’ new projects they ‘can’t wait’ to announce. Mr Borkowski said: ‘It’s a tactic and again underlines this constant need for recognition and more importantly, connection to fundraising activities’.
The Duchess of Sussex was at the Variety Power of Women gala last week without Harry. Hollywood heavyweights there included Leonardo DiCaprio and Oprah Winfrey – but Meghan sat with the team from Universal, who run their movie and TV business, before posing with a former Spielberg protégé and producer now helping run the organisation behind the Oscars.
Meghan was at a table in the centre of the room, near to Mr DiCaprio, and sat next to her ‘uber agent’ Brad Slater, who also handles the career of actor Ben Affleck, Dwayne Johnson and Meghan’s longtime friend Serena Williams.
Mr Borkowski said the appearance was part of a ‘tactic that publicists have used over the years to send signals out’ that a client is keen for more work, on this occasion in Hollywood.
Meghan clearly loved being on the red carpet at the Variety gala last week where she teased that the Sussexes had exciting new projects
When Meghan Markle made a triumphant return to the red carpet last week at the prestigious Power Of Women gala the significance was lost on no one (pictured with Pearlena Igbokwe, Chairman, Universal Studio Group)
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle appeared to have a blast at Katy Perry’s concert in Las Vegas on November 4
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex in a New York panel with Harry during Project Healthy Minds’ second annual World Mental Health Day Festival on October 10
Kerry Washington, Kelly Rowland and Meghan Markle at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles on September 4 – the Duchess’ second trip to see Beyonce in three days
He said: ‘If you’re going to generate gossip and excitement, particularly over social media about the implications that you’re hanging out with some powerful folk in the movie industry, and by saying you have some “exciting projects”, you are creating the necessary rumours and gossip that the media and social media thrive on’.
In recent months she also hobnobbed with stars at two of Beyonce’s recent LA shows and also flew with Harry and a group of rich friends to see Katy Perry perform in Las Vegas. In October, Harry and Meghan were at a mental health summit in New York City and were at an opening of a Navy SEALs facility in San Diego on the eve of Veterans’ Day. There was also the Invictus Games in Germany in September.
It has been nearly a year since the Sussexes’ company, Archewell Productions, released the controversial six-part series, Harry & Meghan, on Netflix.
The show covered their relationship from courtship to quitting as senior Royals, and remains Netflix’s highest-rated documentary debut.
But a year is a lifetime in Hollywood.
Since that show, Archewell has struggled to find a follow-up hit. A series about world leaders, Live To Lead, was a ratings flop. A show about Harry’s ‘passion project’, the Invictus Games – named Heart Of Invictus – was deemed ‘worthy but dull’ by critics.
Meghan’s children’s cartoon series Pearl was cancelled and then the couple’s $20 million podcast deal with Spotify was canned ingloriously, with one executive branding the couple ‘grifters’.
This all made Meghan’s ‘surprise’ appearance at Thursday’s power-packed dinner the more meaningful. The Duchess, 42, beamed as she told how she was ‘thrilled’ to be back home in LA, adding: ‘We have so many exciting things on the slate. I can’t wait until we can announce them but I’m just really proud of what we’re creating. My husband is loving it too, which is really fun.’
The Duchess of Sussex also wore a $1,490 Carolina Herrera cardigan embroidered with poppies – the symbol of remembrance – at Camp Pendleton in San Diego on the eve of Veterans Day
Harry (right) looked less than enthused as he stared at his phone on the first night of Beyoncé’s Renaissance tour in Los Angeles
It has been nearly a year since the Sussexes’ company, Archewell Productions, released the controversial six-part series, Harry & Meghan, on Netflix. But a year is a lifetime in Hollywood
Eric Schiffer, who runs one of Hollywood’s leading crisis management firms, told the Mail on Sunday: ‘It’s clearly time for a relaunch of Brand Sussex, and Meghan’s solo appearance speaks volumes about the direction they are headed.
‘The past year hasn’t been great for them. It doesn’t matter to studio executives if you are a duchess or a doorman, it’s about the bottom line, and Archewell needs a hit badly.
‘There was a lot of sympathy for the Sussexes when they first arrived in the States, but they have squandered that goodwill. Americans don’t like whingers. We like a can-do attitude, and that’s what Meghan demonstrated last week. She hit that red carpet like the pro she is and she worked the room.
‘I’m convinced that this is about positioning her as an independent, powerful woman who exists in her own right, not just as someone who is famous for marrying a Prince.’
Schiffer believes Meghan’s appearance was ‘stage-managed down to the smallest detail’, adding: ‘Professionally, she seems to be ditching Harry and going it alone.’
Indeed, from the moment Meghan arrived at the event at Mother Wolf in LA – a celebrity hangout favoured by stars such as Beyoncé and Madonna – her every move appeared to be carefully choreographed.
She was photographed with two of the most powerful women in Hollywood: Janet Yang, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the organisation behind the Oscars) and Pearlena Igbokwe, who runs Universal Studios.
It came as royal insiders told the Mail’s Royal Editor Rebecca English that Harry and Meghan may have said they’d accept a Christmas invitation to Sandringham, but it is unlikely they would be welcomed with open arms.
Following reports the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are keen to build bridges and would ‘not decline’ an offer to join His Majesty for the festive season, sources said the sudden ‘love-bombing’ from Montecito was ‘bizarre’.
It comes days after sources close to the Sussexes repeatedly briefed friendly publications of Harry’s intention to call his father to wish him happy birthday on Tuesday.
They subsequently offered surprising in-depth accounts of how both the prince and his wife came on the call and even shared video of their children, Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet, singing to the grandfather they have barely seen since they were born.
And yesterday a claim in the Sunday Times by ‘friends of the Sussexes’ that they want to ‘change the state of play’ and would ‘readily accept’ an invitation prompted one source to tell the Mail: ‘It seems as if they are really doubling down on their reconciliation strategy.
Harry and Meghan may have said they’d accept a Christmas invitation to Sandringham, but it is unlikely they would be welcomed with open arms, insiders claimed last night (Pictured: The Sussexes with William and Kate on Christmas Day 2017)
Following reports the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are keen to build bridges and would ‘not decline’ an offer to join His Majesty (pictured) for the festive season, sources said the sudden ‘love-bombing’ from Montecito was ‘bizarre’
And yesterday a claim in the Sunday Times by ‘friends of the Sussexes’ that they want to ‘change the state of play’ and would ‘readily accept’ an invitation prompted one source to tell the Mail: ‘It seems as if they are really doubling down on their reconciliation strategy’ (Pictured: Sandringham estate)
‘It’s so bizarre to have behaved so badly, demanded an apology and an admission of ‘guilt’ — to no avail, I might add — from the family and now suggest they’ll just waltz back in and allow bygones to be bygones if only someone would be good enough invite them.’
The insider pointed out the couple had invitations from both Queen Elizabeth and King Charles to join the family at Balmoral in the summer, but had chosen not to visit since 2018.
They added: ‘Which begs the question, why now? Is it something to do with the fact that some of their commercial deals, such as Spotify, have fallen around their ears and they have been subject to ridicule in the U.S. in shows such as South Park and Family Guy?’
‘Could it be that they have realised moaning about how awful being a member of the Royal Family is, isn’t such a great strategy after all?’
The source noted that any invitation may not go down well with other senior royals, including the Prince of Wales, whose relationship with his younger brother is now non-existent.
There was much chatter in royal circles yesterday as to whether the Waleses would even be present if Harry and Meghan were invited, suddenly finding Christmas with the Middleton family looking all the more appealing.
Another royal insider suggested to the Mail they thought the king would be more likely to invite Harry and Meghan to visit him in Scotland over the New Year, when the Waleses would be at Anmer Hall, their Norfolk country home.