Kate and William are in crisis as never before. So how grimly predictable of Meghan to come crashing in with this basic, beige relaunch… and, MAUREEN CALLAHAN warns, such trashy royalty-for-sale is exactly what the late Queen always feared

Just when you think Meghan Markle might display some of that kindness she just loves to extoll — well, she can’t. She won’t.

On the same evening that her husband and his estranged brother Prince William appeared, separately, at an awards ceremony honoring their late mother — and as scurrilous speculation about Kate Middleton’s illness, the faked family photo and even the strength of her marriage reach fever pitch — Meghan launches a lifestyle brand on Instagram.

What’s worse, hours later she and Harry announced the winner of their own $100,000 NAACP ‘Digital Civil Rights’ award through Archewell.

Meghan Markle, much like nature, abhors a vacuum.

‘American Riviera Orchard’ is the latest addition to Brand Sussex, and it’s as beige and basic as our Duchess of Despair and her endless grievances.

The urgent text message from a friend said it all: ‘I can’t cope.’

Who among us can? Especially those of us stuck with them Stateside.

Let’s get one thing straight: We don’t call our coasts ‘rivieras’ in America.

They’re beaches, lakefronts, or bays. We love them, we sunbathe by them, we perambulate and picnic and walk our dogs, but we don’t call them ‘rivieras’.

As for that ‘orchard’, it’s clearly meant to evoke her and Harry’s grand $14 million estate in Montecito, replete with fruit trees, a chicken coop and rose gardens.

You know, the things that average American women can relate to as inflation kills the dream of ever even owning a starter home. But buy Meghan’s overpriced kitchenware!

Oh, does she remain on-brand as ever — by which I mean a mass of contradictions.

Let’s break this relaunch down while holding close the notions of compassion, lifting up our fellow women (except Kate, of course, because Kate made her cry), holding space, and begging for privacy while continuing on the Worldwide Privacy Tour.

We open the promotional video with a woman’s hand arranging pink and white roses against a backdrop of greige, the film filtered to look old-timey, while Nancy Wilson — and I defy anyone under the age of 50 to know who that is — sings, to a fusty big-band, swing-time sound, ‘I Wish You Love’.

Ha! Meghan Markle, know thyself.

Surely if she wished anyone love, least of all her estranged, suffering in-laws — including King Charles, currently fighting cancer — she would have pushed pause on this most unnecessary brand reveal.

Then again, Meghan has always gratuitously inserted herself into narratives, into victimhood — into our very lives! — with unrelenting force.

So why not the lifestyle-cooking-wellness space? God knows that’s not overcrowded, what with Goop and Martha Stewart and Oprah and any number of Kardashians.

Our next shot is a fuzzy, soft-focus look at Meghan, from a distance, whipping something up in her kitchen while wearing an expensive-looking white top, as so many of us do.

Because when we think of Meghan, immediately we think of cooking, sweets, treats — the jams and preservatives she’s going to sell here, along with a forthcoming cookbook.

Yes, few public figures of our time evoke hearth and warmth, the comforts of home and family unity as she does.

This action shot, as it were, is followed by a long look down an arched stone hallway at a woman in silhouette, dressed in a black ballgown — for day. Could this be our duchess?

Against a bright sky, she seems to bend down to pet a dog, then stands back up to… well, it’s unclear why she’s all the way back there, or what she’s even doing.

Then we flash to the title card, ‘American Riviera Orchard’ — written in the style of Meghan’s famed calligraphy — with a vaguely royal insignia hovering above, all in thin gold embroidery.

Class or trash? I vote the latter.

This was everything the late Queen Elizabeth dreaded: The Sussexes commodifying royalty, using it to shill some copper cookware and start an imitation Ina Garten show while capitalizing on their family, never more in crisis than now.

As the King has withdrawn from his public duties, as the slimmed-down monarchy suffers amid Kate’s prolonged absence, Meghan applies for a US trademark to sell tablecloths, napkins, glasses, decanters, jams and jellies.

It’s pedestrian verging on camp.

The more seriously Meghan takes herself, the more her personal brand suffers. The more she exploits her grasping desire for fame and relevance, the further she falls in the public’s estimation.

That ballgown! The idea that we can’t get too close a look at her! What is this, the fall of Sodom and Gomorrah? Will we all turn to pillars of salt if we see her?

Quick question: Will Meghan be selling salt? Not just any salt, mind you — like pink salt, sea salt from the world’s rarest, most exotic bodies of water? Rivieras, if you will.

The thrust of any celebrity lifestyle brand is hubris. It’s premised on the self-belief of the founder that almost every other woman wants to be her.

Who wants to be Meghan Markle?

Unbelievably, her new Instagram account has racked up over 250,000 followers and counting in the few hours since it launched, even though the account follows no one else.

Recall, earlier this week, the quotes of a source claiming to be close to Harry and Meghan – though since denied by the couple.


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