A surprise letter popped up today. It came today in the form of the landing page for Harry and Meghan’s philanthropic endeavour, Archewell.
Before today, the Archewell website was only one page – a landing site with a definition of the words that make up Archewell, with an email subscription button to be kept in the loop. But now the website has sections about the charitable foundation, as well as Harry and Meghan’s production companies for TV and audio programming (in partnership with Netflix and Spotify, respectively). Let’s go through the website (it’s not long) and see what we find.
The first thing you see when you go to Archewell.com now is a letter from Harry and Meghan. The main thoughts I’ve heard from people about this letter are twofold. The first is “What does any of this even mean?”. The second is “Wow, a bit harsh to not mention Prince Charles at all.”
On the first point, it appears to be a jumble of buzzwords about help and community and love over evil. Basically, platitudes that you could lay over any situation and have it still sort of make sense. And on that note, to me it sounds like a half-baked announcement that someone is running for office. If you google “political campaign kickoff announcement template”, this letter would show up. Even the “I’m my mom’s son” is so folksy and American. Reread it in Michelle or Barack Obama’s voice. It’s eating some deep fried butter at the state fair. It’s a campaign kickoff.
Second: talking about how Harry is Diana’s son and how Meghan is Archie’s mother is…interesting. There are also photos of Meghan and her mom and Harry and his mom on the front page of the website, in the background. A big focus on women and mothers. To me, it looks like they’re emphasizing the members of their family who are/would be the most supportive of their break from the royal family. Diana spoke out about the BRF and lost her HRH after the divorce. Doria, while supporting Meghan, has been with Harry and Meghan at every step of their separation from the BRF. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that this is a subtle repudiation of the life they left in March. And it’s another nail in the coffin for the idea that they would ever go back to official royal life.
This is where we really get to dig in. A big question about Harry and Meghan’s charity and how it will interact with their production companies is: Where does “help others” end and “putting money in their own pockets” begin? It appears we have our answer below:
From this, I understand that the Archewell nonprofit will make money through donations/fundraising and will distribute that money to worthy causes that Harry and Meghan choose. This could be the organizations below, or any other organization.
The really interesting part is that they are clearly saying that Archewell Productions and Archewell Audio are not charitable entities and that money earned through them will not necessarily go to the Archewell Foundation. They call the audio and production companies businesses! These companies will achieve “creative activations” for the charity – aka, we will talk about the Archewell nonprofit and the good we’re doing with it, but the $200ish million we got from Spotify and Netflix goes directly to us with no strings and no indication that any of it will go to charity. I wonder if other people/news outlets will pick up on this? It’s sort of what I expected them to do, but I didn’t expect them to actually write it out on their website, lol.
The Archewell Foundation page is the most populated on the website. It has a short mission statement, indicates its US nonprofit status (aka if you donate to us you’ll get a tax break), and shows five charities that it intends to help or work with moving forward. It’s nothing earth shattering. I haven’t had time to check out the listed charities in any real way, but will likely do so in the future. I’m sure newspaper interns are looking for dirt on them as we speak. I hope they’re all legit and doing good in the world, and that H&M’s team did thorough vetting before associating themselves with them.
- They’re already getting slammed in the press for “hating dads” and “turning his back on Prince Charles.”
- It’s a stark contrast from Will and Kate, who did work and a Zoom call with brand new dads who want/need mental health support. I know what H&M are trying to do, but you can’t be ra-ra feminism and intentionally leave men out. That’s not feminism. It’s lazy and gross.
- A super smart reader messaged and said that she thinks the lack of Charles’s name is due to a clause in their separation agreement with the royal family stating that they’re not allowed to mention him. Aka “keep my name out your mouth”, in a legal document. Excellent, excellent point. But even so, they could have kept it out and still not gone so hard in favour of only moms/put pictures of their moms on the front page of the site? Seems deliberate?
- The UCLA charity blurb mentions public policy. It’s “I want to be a politician in three to five years” 101. Meghan is using this to help test her chances for running for office.
- Do you think it’s disingenuous to make their charity name the same as their for-profit production companies? It sort of implies that by watching their Netflix content or by listening to their podcasts, you’re supporting a charity. But you’re not.
Let me know what you think. Stay safe and wear a mask.