Honestly, do Meghan Markle and Prince Harry ever have a day off? We only ask because – in the 19 months since they shirked their royal titles and left the UK for good, they’ve accrued more fancy titles than The British Library. And last week, they added another gig to their heaving CVs, announcing they’d become “impact partners” (no, we have no idea what that means either) at sustainable investing firm Ethic – a $1.3bn company that invests in projects with socially and environmentally responsible themes.
But while Harry and Meghan insisted that their “impact partnership with Ethic is one of the ways we put our values in action”, the couple soon sparked backlash, with commentators questioning just how ethically minded they really are.
After all, with a track record of working with non-ethical banks, travelling by private jet and signing multimillion-dollar deals with big companies like Netflix (which capitalises on the drama surrounding Harry’s mum Princess Diana), there’s a big question mark as to the motives behind this latest venture.
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“When we invest in each other we change the world,” Harry and Meghan told their followers via their Archewell website last week.
“We believe it’s time for more people to have a seat at the table when decisions are made that impact everyone. We want to rethink the nature of investing to help solve the global issues we all face.” Meghan also told The New York Times, “My husband has been saying for years, ‘Gosh, don’t you wish there was a place where if your values were aligned like this, you could put your money to that same sort of thing?’”
Meghan Markle’s favourite books:
The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery
‘I have long been obsessed with this book, and specifically with The Little Fox,’ Meghan told her Tig readers. ‘Even if I don’t revisit the entire existential text (masked as a children’s book), the chapter of The Little Fox unearths a truth in me that is always worth the check-in.’ Having never read The Little Prince (more of a The Little Princess kind of person, really) I’ve resorted to a time-honoured means of literary analysis, Spark Notes, and still can’t quite unpick what the Fox is all about. He does, however, tell the Prince that you can only truly see with your heart, not your eyes, which is a rather lovely sentiment. Let’s just assume that her choice of a book about a Prince foreshadowed the fact that she’d one day… marry a Prince? Wait, come back…
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
Based on ancient Toltec wisdom and promising to contain a code of conduct that should theoretically lead to freedom, happiness and love, Meghan was given a copy of The Four Agreements by her mother Doria when she was 13 years old. Per her Tig piece, she ‘constantly circle[s] back to the Don Miguel Ruiz classic for the simplest ways to simplify your life,’ and from her clever use of repetition, we can glean that Meghan loves simplicity; she was probably into Marie Kondo before it was a thing, you guys! The Agreements themselves actually sound like they have the potential to be pretty useful in Meghan’s future life. First, there’s ‘be impeccable with your word,’ fair advice given that everything the new royal says on the record has the power to generate its own news story. Then there’s ‘don’t take anything personally’ and ‘don’t make assumptions’ – don’t take Prince George’s side-eye personally, and don’t assume you have to dress in homage to Princess Diana – and ‘always do your best.’
The Motivation Manifesto by Brendon Burchard
‘Annoyed by your self-doubt and distractions? The noise that keeps you from reaching your potential? Okay, so yeah. Me too,’ Meghan writes of the Motivation Manifesto, the second self-help book on her list and one which boasts the #content-worthy subtitle 9 Declarations to Claim Your Personal Power. Author Burchard is a motivational speaker whose tag line is Live, Love, Matter, which we can imagine written in cursive on a Tig-friendly scatter cushion, and has a profile on Success.com, so we can only infer that he’s a Very Successful Guy. What else can we learn from this choice, other than the fact that our Meghan is a goal-oriented individual? Perhaps that she would probably get on well with fictional character Alan Johnson from Peep Show.
The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff
‘Aspects of Taoism told through the characters of Winnie the Pooh – I mean, does it get better?’ Meghan gets to the crux of The Tao of Pooh – an introduction to Taoist beliefs featuring the inhabitants of the 100 Acre Wood – far quicker and more succinctly than we ever could. Assumption made: Meghan is totally the friend who brings you a fridge magnet bearing (no pun intended) a deep slogan under a picture of Pooh walking into the distance, telling you ‘I just thought of you when I saw it!’
Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson M.D
Meghan’s third and final self-help tome purports to contain the World’s Most Popular Management Method; according to her lost Tig feature, she first picked the book up as part of the required reading for an Industrial Engineering class at Northwestern University. Who Moved My Cheese is a parable in which – spoiler alert – the cheese represents everything you want to have in life. Has Meghan found the cheese? Yes – someone gave her a wedding cake sculpted from cheese back in January!
According to the Sussexes, they’ve found their match in Ethic, which was set up by former JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs bankers and manages a $1.3bn fund, with the intention of investing in companies which align with their eco-conscious and social values “as a force for transformative positive change”. The company’s website works hard to differentiate itself from corporate investment banks – even counting three dogs among its permanent staff, including “Chief Smile Officer”, golden retriever Byron.
But no sooner had the partnership been announced that commentators slammed the Sussexes’ apparent “hypocrisy”. Despite lecturing us on environmental matters, they repeatedly travel by private jet; they’ve also ignored calls to distance themselves from Netflix, especially since the streaming service added Diana: The Musical to its library this month. In early 2020, the couple reportedly received up to £775k to speak at a JP Morgan conference – a bank which is far removed in its values from Ethic.
“Is there nothing they won’t sign up for?” wrote one detractor last week, while another weighed in, “Is it ethical for one couple to live in a multimillion-dollar mansion, take private jets and wear designer clothes?” A third added: “Ethics? Meghan knows as much about ethics as she knows where to find Sussex on a map.”
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