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Buckingham Palace accused of ‘shading’ Meghan Markle with ‘strawberry preserve’ ad

Buckingham Palace posted an ad for its strawberry preserve just days after Meghan Markle gifted her American Riviera Orchard jam to celebrities and influencers

Meredith Clark
New York
Friday 26 April 2024 18:00 BST
Related: Meghan launches long-awaited luxury lifestyle brand ‘American Riviera Orchard’

As the Duchess of Sussex gears up to launch her forthcoming lifestyle brand, American Riviera Orchard, a slew of her celebrity friends have already gushed over her strawberry jam. However, it seems that Buckingham Palace is now being accused of “shading” Meghan Markle after sharing a video of its very own strawberry preserve.

“Our Strawberry Preserve is made using only the finest berries and is delicious served in a variety of ways,” the official Instagram account for Buckingham Palace Shop captioned a post on 24 April - the same day that model Chrissy Teigen posted a rave review of American Riviera Orchard’s jam.

In the video, the royal gift shop showed four ways to use its strawberry preserve: on a scone as part of a cream tea, on a crumpet, with a croissant, or spread on toast. “How do you enjoy your strawberry preserve? Let us know in the comments!” they added in the caption.

But rather than sharing their favourite ways to use the strawberry preserve, many royal fans instead claimed that Buckingham Palace was being “shady” by promoting its own jam amid the duchess’ American Riviera Orchard rollout.

“Is it just me that loves the subtle shade?” one person commented.

“Epic shade!” another user said.

“I’m dying at the timing of this ad,” a third person wrote, while someone else said: “I love a royal jam war!”

According to the Buckingham Palace Royal Collection shop, the sale of each purchase from the official gift shop goes directly to the care of the Royal Collection, which is not owned personally by King Charles III. The Buckingham Palace Strawberry Preserve, which is priced at £3.95, is listed as the most popular item on the website. In addition to the strawberry preserve, which is made in the United Kingdom, the royal gift shop also offers an orange marmalade and honey, also branded with the royal insignia.

The timing of Buckingham Palace’s post sparked much speculation, considering the last time the official Instagram account posted an ad for its strawberry jam was in February - nearly two months before Meghan launched her lifestyle brand.

On 14 March, American Riviera Orchard shared a video to its Instagram Story of the the 42-year-old duchess picking flowers and cooking in a kitchen, set to “I Wish You Love” by Nancy Wilson. The bio for the newly-formed Instagram account simply read, “by Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex⁣⁣⁣” and “⁣⁣Established 2024”, while the website for American Riviera Orchard showed the brand’s script-like logo with “Montecito” - the neighbourhood where she and husband Prince Harry relocated after stepping down from the royal family in 2020 - written under it.

Weeks later, Meghan gifted the limited-edition jars of jam to her famous friends and influencers including fashion designer Tracy Robbins, actor Abigail Spencer, producer Mindy Kaling, reality TV star Kris Jenner, Black-ish star Tracee Ellis Ross, and fellow cookbook author Teigen.

Argentine influencer socialite Delfina Balquier - whose husband, polo player Nacho Figueras, is close friends with Prince Harry - was gifted jar 10 of 50 and showcased what the spread looks like on a buttered piece of bread.

“Strawberry jam makes me happy. And I love your jam, @AmericanRivieraOrchard,” she wrote on Instagram.

In addition to the jam, a trademark application for American Riviera Orchard has highlighted some of the home, garden, food, and general lifestyle products fans can expect from Meghan’s new brand. The duchess will likely sell a variety of home goods - such as cookbooks, food, and kitchenware - with the trademark application seeking approval for a retail store that stocks textiles, tableware, cookbooks, jellies, jams, marmalades, spreads, butter, and edible oils.

It’s also been reported that Meghan is working on a Netflix series as part of her and Prince Harry’s $100m deal with the streaming platform, which expires in 2025. The TV show will reportedly explore “the joys of cooking, gardening, entertaining, and friendship,” likely tied to her American Riviera Orchard brand.

The Independent has contacted Buckingham Palace for comment.

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