Meghan and Harry were allegedly always locked in battle with the Palace over how they used their platform when they were still operating as part of the royal machine. Since leaving the Royal Family’s frontline, the couple have made the best out of being able to manage their own PR. They have signed up to the same high-profile public speaking agency as the Obamas, have secured their own Netflix deal to produce mini-series and documentaries, and are on the cusp of launching their charitable venture, Archewell.
It’s a far cry from the struggles for independence they had with the Palace over the Sussex Royal Foundation last year.
While Harry was more accustomed to the slow workings of the Palace, Meghan had become adept at developing her own platform and public image during her years in Hollywood.
Newly-released pro-Sussex biography, Finding Freedom, even revealed Meghan would occasionally contact the paparazzi to let them know where she would be when she was still acting on ‘Suits’.
But there’s one key element of her public image which she first devised when she was just a teenager and which has stuck with her as her fame grew, according to biographer Sean Smith.
Writing in his new book, ‘Meghan Misunderstood’, he explained how the future Duchess coined a nickname for herself as a teenager at a summer drama camp, which would become associated with her as an adult.
Meghan Markle came up with her own nickname when she was a teenager
Meghan and Harry during last year’s tour to Southern Africa
He explained: “Meghan was one of 13 or 14 young teenagers, alongside a pocket of pre-teens and a group of little children.
“Another girl was known as Meg so Meghan adopted her own special jingle: ‘Meghan Markle with a Sparkle’ and everyone called her that.”
The Duchess of Sussex was regularly referred to as having the ‘Markle Sparkle’ effect within the media when she first started dating Harry.
This phrase described the furore which surrounded Meghan when she first stepped onto the royal stage.
It referred to anything from the connection her fans felt towards her to an obsession with her fashion.
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Household name M&S even changed its name to Markle & Sparkle for Meghan and Harry’s wedding
For instance, search platform Lyst reported in January 2019 when she wore something, the brand would see a 200 percent increase in search demand over the next week.
However, Meghan’s ability to manage her own public image was soon scrutinised by royal fans, as her relationship with the media became more tumultuous.
Reports from last year claimed that she had informed her Hollywood PR company, Sunshine Sachs, she wanted to “break the Internet”.
She was working with them on the release of her guest-edited September issue of British Vogue at the time.
’s source alleged: “Meghan is creating a team that is not bogged down by the traditions and regulations of the Palace to work for her and Harry on passion projects.
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Meghan has a reputation for being very affectionate with her fans
Meghan greets a young fan in New Zealand
“She was incredibly hands-on with the strategy and in one meeting told the staff: ‘I want to break the Internet.’”
They added that while that was a “shocking” thing for a royal to say, she was already of celebrity status before she joined the Firm.
They explained: “I mean, in reality, she is a celebrity. She’s very familiar with magazines and social media and PR — she prides herself in the knowledge she has.”
The PR company had represented Meghan when she was acting on Suits, too, and reportedly has a reputation for understanding the “dark arts” of reviving a celebrity’s reputation.
Meghan on International Women’s Day in March, with a London school
Meghan and Harry had endured a difficult year in terms of their public image at the time.
They were criticised for taking numerous private jets while espousing a ‘green’ message, Meghan’s rift with her father and ongoing reports of trouble with the Cambridges.
PR expert Mark Borkowski even told the Daily Mail that Meghan was attempting to build a global brand last year.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex now manage their own public engagements, and received an astounding level of attention for posting photographs of them commemorating Remembrance Sunday at the weekend.
Many have accused them of trying to steal the Royal Family’s limelight as they carve out their future brand.
‘Meghan Misunderstood’ by Sean Smith was published by HarperCollins in 2020 and is available here.