Meghan Markle Returns to Instagram! The Duchess of Sussex Launches Surprise New Venture

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The Duchess of Sussex launched what appears to be a new lifestyle brand called American Riviera Orchard with a new website and Instagram page

<p>Robin L Marshall/FilmMagic</p> Meghan Markle in 2023

Robin L Marshall/FilmMagic

Meghan Markle in 2023

Meghan Markle is back on Instagram with a surprise new project.

On Thursday, a new website and Instagram page for what appears to be a lifestyle brand called American Riviera Orchard went live. The bio for the Instagram page simply reads, "By Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex. Established 2024."

The first Instagram Story shows Meghan, 42, picking flowers and cooking in a kitchen set to the song "I Wish You Love" by Nancy Wilson.

American Riviera Orchard's name seems to be a nod to Santa Barbara, the California town where Meghan lives with Prince Harry and their two children, 4-year-old son Prince Archie and 2-year-old daughter Princess Lilibet. According to Travel & Leisure, Santa Barbara has been known as the "American Riviera" for more than 100 years "because of its temperate climate and lush landscapes, as well as its robust food and wine culture."

<p>American Riviera Orchard/Instagram</p> Meghan Markle appears in a video for American Riviera Orchard on Instagram posted on March 14, 2024

American Riviera Orchard/Instagram

Meghan Markle appears in a video for American Riviera Orchard on Instagram posted on March 14, 2024

Related: Misan Harriman Posts Meghan Markle's Original Pregnancy Announcement Photo After Editing Allegations

The logo also includes Montecito, the name of the neighborhood where they reside.

trademark application, currently awaiting examination, for American Riviera Orchard reveals the brand plans to sell tableware, drinkware including decanters, kitchen linens and edible treats such as jellies, jams, marmalade and spreads. The trademark application is also seeking approval for cookbooks.

In addition, the waitlist signup advertises a way to stay in the know about "products, availability and updates," promising something similar to The Tig, the lifestyle blog Meghan created in 2014 before shutting it down in 2017. Meghan used her blog as a place to share her favorite food and travel discoveries, along with personal reflections. The name was inspired by Tignanello, a full-bodied red wine, and she told Tory Daily that trying it was her first time understanding how people speak about wine, so she developed "the tig" into her own word for "getting it" about "not just wine, but everything."

<p>Robin L Marshall/FilmMagic</p> Meghan Markle in 2023

Robin L Marshall/FilmMagic

Meghan Markle in 2023

This marks Meghan or Prince Harry's first time publicly being on social media since 2020 when the couple made their last update to their @SussexRoyal Instagram page after stepping back as working members of the royal family.

Meghan shut down her personal social media profiles (including her Instagram page with 3 million followers) and The Tig blog after getting engaged to Prince Harry.

<p>American Riviera Orchard</p> Meghan Markle's American Riviera Orchard logo, revealed on March 14, 2024

American Riviera Orchard

Meghan Markle's American Riviera Orchard logo, revealed on March 14, 2024

Related: Meghan Markle Says Online 'Bullying' Peaked While Pregnant with Archie and Lili: 'It's Not Catty, It's Cruel'

After Meghan and Prince Harry got married in May 2018, news about their royal work appeared on the @KensingtonRoyal accounts alongside updates about Prince William and Kate Middleton. The following year, the couple launched a separate Instagram page, @SussexRoyal, as part of the plan to establish a separate office from William and Kate.

Meghan later told New York magazine's The Cut in a 2022 interview that the royals' social media came with strict rules.

"There's literally a structure by which if you want to release photos of your child, as a member of the family, you first have to give them to the Royal Rota," the Duchess of Sussex said, referring to the U.K.'s media pool. She questioned why she should release photos of her child to the media before she can "share it with the people that love my child?"

In the same interview, Meghan said, "Do you want to know a secret? I'm getting back…on Instagram." Later in the interview, she "would relay she was no longer sure she would actually return to Instagram."

<p>American Riviera Orchard/Instagram</p> Meghan Markle appears in a video for American Riviera Orchard on Instagram posted on March 14, 2024

American Riviera Orchard/Instagram

Meghan Markle appears in a video for American Riviera Orchard on Instagram posted on March 14, 2024

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It was a change in perspective from previous years when Meghan said she was purposely staying away from social media.

"For my own self-preservation, I have not been on social media for a very long time," she said at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Next Gen Summit in 2020. "I made a personal choice to not have any account, so I don't know what's out there, and in many ways, that's helpful for me."

<p>SUZANNE CORDEIRO/AFP via Getty</p> Meghan Markle joins SXSW panel on March 8, 2024

SUZANNE CORDEIRO/AFP via Getty

Meghan Markle joins SXSW panel on March 8, 2024

Just last week, Meghan said she keeps her "distance" from social media "right now, just for my own well-being" during a panel discussion at the SXSW Conference in Austin, Texas.

In February, Meghan and Prince Harry quietly launched a new website, Sussex.com. The web address encompasses the latest news about the couple, bios for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex as well as links to their Archewell Foundation organization and Archewell Productions hub.

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