Meghan Markle has reached a point where she must start making important decisions in order to “reignite” her popularity, an entertainment expert has told Newsweek.
The Duchess of Sussex has faced 12 months of media highs and lows as she has amped up her post-royal transition into the entertainment industry in earnest, seeing the release of her 12-episode podcast series Archetypes and six-part Netflix docuseries Harry & Meghan. Both of these were met with record streaming figures but also waves of backlash and criticism.
In recent weeks Meghan received a morale boost with hit legal TV show Suits (which she worked on for seven seasons from 2011 to 2017) becoming a streaming sensation after being added to Netflix’s library in June. The show has set a new Nielsen streaming record as the most-viewed acquired title in a single week.
With the royal’s popularity still lower in the U.S. and U.K. than it was this time last year, before the release of the Netflix show and Prince Harry’s bombshell memoir, for Meghan to move forward in Hollywood the time has come to make careful choices, entertainment expert and founder of MarkMeets, Mark Boardman, told Newsweek.
“The Duchess of Sussex will need to better control her career commitments and make better decisions for herself moving forward,” he said, as speculation has circulated that a potential reboot of Suits could be on the cards.
Since leaving the monarchy in 2020 with Prince Harry and moving to the States, Meghan has embarked on a number of professional ventures ranging from penning a children’s book, The Bench, to podcast and documentary hosting, content producing and philanthropic and charitable work.
Streamlining could be the key to future success Boardman suggests, making decisions that work alongside her family—which include children, Prince Archie, 4, and Princess Lilibet, 2—”if she is to reignite her popularity and dwindling fanbase, and importantly lessen the strain on her marriage to Prince Harry, who himself has to work out his next move in what could be a turning point for them both.”
The turning point comes as the couple have reportedly made the decision to move away from the royal projects that have earned them criticism in the past. These included the Netflix docuseries Harry & Meghan that brought backlash from royal family fans defending the monarchy against the perceived bombshells launched by the Sussexes in the show.
Perhaps the project which earned the couple the greatest criticism was Harry’s memoir, Spare, which contained a number of behind-palace-walls revelations that settled scores from throughout the course of his life and specifically, relationship with Meghan.
Following these releases, Harry and Meghan’s Archewell organization went through some staff changes, with the departure of the foundation’s head of content, Ben Browning, and also its head of marketing, Fara Taylor.
At the time these were announced in January, the couple’s head of communications, Ashley Hansen, told Variety that Browning and Taylor had “played a critical role in helping to tell the stories of the Duke and Duchess thus far,” noting that “the couple remain hugely grateful for their support on those vital ‘look back’ projects, as they now look forward.”
The move away from “look back” projects hinted that a new strategy to Harry and Meghan’s post-royal working lives was being developed.
One area that could be open to Meghan is a return to her acting roots, particularly given a recent renewed interest in her work on Suits.
“The couple’s move to California was for privacy,” Boardman told Newsweek about Meghan’s potential next move. “But with movie studios nearby and with Los Angeles and Hollywood only 100 miles away, this would provide Meghan with ample opportunity to return to TV or a larger role in film so she can return as a Hollywood star and find her own identity in the US.”
Meghan’s Suits boost also comes as she has started to see her popularity slowly increase in the States after the plummet it took as a result of the Netflix and memoir releases in December and January.
Though still not back to pre-December 2022 levels, polling for Newsweek in May found that the duchess was liked by 39 percent of 1,500 U.S. adults surveyed, and disliked by 34 percent. This gave her a net approval rating of +5.
This was a significantly positive increase from -13 that was polled back in January.
Meghan currently has no entertainment projects announced on the horizon and has not made any official appearances at public events since May, leaving the duchess at a important crossroads on which move to make next.
Newsweek approached representatives of Meghan Markle via email for comment.
James Crawford-Smith is Newsweek‘s royal reporter based in London. You can find him on Twitter at @jrcrawfordsmith and read his stories on Newsweek‘s .
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