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Meghan Markle launches American Riviera Orchard: Everything we know about her new lifestyle brand

The ‘Suits’ actress turned duchess has a new California-inspired lifestyle brand 7 years after sunsetting her blog, the Tig.

Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.
Would you buy nut butter from Meghan Markle? She hopes you will. (Suzanne Cordeiro/AFP via Getty Images)

We can’t say “American Riviera Orchard” three times fast, but we can tell you everything we know about Meghan Markle’s new lifestyle brand.

The Suits alum — aka Meghan, Duchess of Sussex — returned to Instagram for the first time in nearly four years on Thursday to announce the project. The video accompanying it showed what appeared to be Markle cooking in a kitchen and arranging flowers — and the fancy logo styled in her signature calligraphy. Almost immediately, the venture was dubbed “the Tig 2.0” by the press, a reference to the lifestyle blog Markle helmed before falling in love with a prince.

While Markle hasn’t spelled out exactly what American Riviera Orchard will offer — or an official explanation of the name — we’ve been able to piece together everything out there. Here’s what we know so far.

Surprise announcement: American Riviera Orchard dropped seemingly out of the blue on the afternoon of March 14. The logo rolled out in nine separate Instagram posts (with comments turned off) and was accompanied by the video showing shots of Markle — presumably at the couple’s $14 million Montecito, Calif., estate — lifestyling set to Nancy Wilson’s “I Wish You Love.” There’s a link to the brand website, where you can join a waitlist and be the first to know about all things A.R.O.

The American Riviera Orchard logo.
The brand's logo is styled in Markle's signature calligraphy and includes a reference to the California town she and Prince Harry now call home. (American Riviera Orchard)

The timing: We now know the announcement was not a random date. March 14 marked the fourth anniversary of Markle and Harry’s so-called freedom flight from Canada to California after they left the U.K. and stepped down from royal duties (known as Megxit) in an effort to become financially independent (which has been tricky). Also, Markle is having a good week, having seen her half-sister’s defamation lawsuit against her tossed by a judge, so dropping a new brand rides that upswing.

What’s American Riviera Orchard? Besides a tongue twister that people are having a lot of fun with, it’s a nod to where Markle and Harry landed in their post-royal lives and are raising their children: Archie, 4, and Lilibet, 2. Santa Barbara has been called the American Riviera. We assume we’ll soon hear about an orchard. The listing for their stunning estate home, which we got a glimpse of during their sit-down with Oprah Winfrey in 2021 — talks about sweeping lawns, tiered rose gardens, tall Italian cypress trees, blooming lavender and century-old olive trees. If they don’t have their own, maybe she’ll run over to Winfrey’s (they are neighbors) and pick from her extensive fruit orchards.

As far as what will be offered through the California native’s brand, the trademark application, filed Feb. 2 and currently awaiting examination, has offered insight. It’s for goods and services, listing tableware, table cutlery, drinkware (think: decanters), table linens, chargers, napkin rings and table place-card holders. It’s also for edible treats such as jellies, jams, marmalades, oils, various spreads (garlic, dairy, sesame) and butters (nut, fruit).

But it seems like the dream is bigger than that. The trademark is also for "retail store services," featuring those items, so there’s at least the hope of at least one brick-and-mortar retail store. She also hopes to sell cookbooks (print and e-book), maybe one with her take on the engagement chicken.

Markle whipping up something in the kitchen.
Markle's plan is to sell food spreads, oils, table settings and cookbooks — potentially in her own store. (American Riviera Orchard)

The reception so far: In one day, there are over 400,000 followers to the Instagram page as of Friday afternoon, so there is interest.

As far as the name, there have been unsolicited opinions about everything Markle and Harry have named so far, including their kids and projects (Archewell, Archetypes).

The Tig 2.0? Of course, Markle previously had a lifestyle blog. The Tig — which got its name from Tignanello red wine — launched in 2014 as a way to share about her favorite travel, food and clothing finds during her acting era. She shut it down in April 2017 after she started dating Harry, and everyone picked through her site to read and criticize old posts about her politics, parties she threw, celebrity encounters and bad hair days. Markle and Harry were married in 2018.

Last year, Markle — who hopes to find a place among the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow, Joanna Gaines and other lifestyle superstars — refiled trademarks for “The Tig,” which is also awaiting examination, so it was assumed she would be bringing that, if anything, back. So it’s interesting she is returning to the lifestyle space with a new brand.

Timing: It’s all TBD at this point, but presumably sooner rather than later. Optimal synergy would be launching it alongside her new podcast. In February, Lemonada Media announced it would distribute Markle’s untitled podcast, as well as house Archetypes, after she parted ways with Spotify. Plus, there are rumors that she’s launching a Netflix cooking show to be tied to the American Riviera Orchard brand. It’s not confirmed, but she does have one more year of her current Netflix contract. The couple have been working on various projects with the streamer, including a film adaptation of Carley Fortune’s book Meet Me by the Lake and potentially a documentary that would take Harry to Africa.