A few times a year, Queen Elizabeth inducts a new batch of notable people into the British honours systems, a ranked list of orders and decorations that culminate in knighthood. The queen is the only person who has the right to confer these awards, but she has increasingly asked Prince Charles and Prince William to participate in the ceremonies. Now that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are across the pond, they won’t be a part of the queen’s royal award ceremonies, but that does not mean they are looking to start their own tradition.
On Sunday, the Sun claimed that a copyright document filed for Archewell, the couple’s new charity, implied they were looking to start their own honours lists to rival the Windsor tradition. “The woke couple will recognize do-gooders in the fields they like to champion,” the tabloid wrote, alongside a mockup of a fake snowflake medal.
But according to Archewell’s press secretary, Toya Holness, Meghan and Harry have no plans to use Archewell in that manner. “We look forward to sharing more about Archewell’s work in the weeks ahead, but any suggestion that it is intended to rival the UK honours list is false,” she told Vanity Fair in a statement.
The Sun also claimed that Meghan and Harry have run into issues while trademarking Archewell, though their final trademark application was recently resubmitted. Holness disputes that characterization. “Furthermore, the trademark application has followed the normal course of business for the US Trademark process and any suggestion otherwise is also false,” she said.
In April, the couple announced the name for their new charity, but noted that it wouldn’t officially launch until later. The couple has set up a team behind the scenes, and while Archewell has not begun its official work, and Harry has said that he and Meghan will continue some of the work addressing harassment and misinformation on social media. In October they launched a basic website with an email subscription box and definitions of the root words “arche” and “well.”
The postponement was partly due to the pandemic, but the couple are taking their time to define their next venture. “They are in no hurry to launch Archewell, they want to get it right, that’s really important to them,” a source told Vanity Fair in June. “This is something that they want to do for the rest of their lives so they’re not going to be pressured into launching something that’s still in the relatively early stages of development.”
Sponsoring an award doesn’t necessarily mean that a royal is looking to usurp the queen. For example: In October, William announced the Earthshot Prize, which will be awarded to pioneers working to combat climate change. For the next 10 years, five winners will receive £1 million each.
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