Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, has found herself in the midst of fresh controversy following the launch of her new lifestyle brand, American Riviera Orchard. The brand, which made its debut on Instagram with a video showcasing Markle cooking, posing in a ballgown, and arranging flowers, has attracted more than 500,000 followers. However, it has also drawn significant criticism from royal commentators and industry insiders.

"American Riviera Orchard - someone compared the name to a senior living facility," Kinsey Schofield, host of the 'To Di For' podcast, told The Rita Panahi Show on Sky News Australia. Schofield also questioned Markle's attempt to establish herself in the Santa Barbara community, noting that the Duchess has only lived there for four years while still asking people to refer to her by her royal title, despite having been a Duchess for just 90 months.

Host Rita Panahi echoed the sentiment, slamming the brand's title as "a name so pretentiously stupid, one wonders whether she just typed fancy name for lifestyle website into Chat GPT." The criticism surrounding American Riviera Orchard extends beyond its name, with industry insiders drawing comparisons to Gwyneth Paltrow's successful lifestyle brand, Goop.

According to a source for Page Six, Paltrow's brand gained traction due to its slow and steady approach. "Someone like Gwyneth started out by sending out a newsletter once a week and it was very personal, kind of like Substack now," the source explained. "But it was a very novel idea at the time, but she didn't monetize the business for about seven years."

The source emphasized that Paltrow's focus was on creating a community and offering value rather than immediately establishing a business. "With Goop, everything that happened all came from a very gradual, authentic place," they added. "Gwyneth did not set out to create what it is today."

In contrast, Markle's approach appears to be markedly different. The Duchess is entering a much more saturated market, with numerous celebrity lifestyle brands already vying for attention. Insiders suggest that Markle's project will likely start with a bang rather than taking a gradual, step-by-step approach.

Despite the criticism, the exact nature of Markle's brand remains largely speculative, as the Duchess has not released any further details since the launch. Followers and critics alike are eagerly awaiting more information on what American Riviera Orchard will offer.

The brand's focus seems to be on the production and sale of a range of products, such as jams, which aligns with Markle's upcoming cookery show for Netflix. The mother of Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet, who is rumored to be joining her husband, Prince Harry, in the UK soon, has yet to address the backlash surrounding her new venture.

As the world waits to see what Meghan Markle has in store with American Riviera Orchard, the Duchess finds herself once again in the spotlight, facing criticism for her latest endeavor. While some may view the backlash as yet another example of the scrutiny Markle has faced since becoming a royal, others argue that the criticism is warranted, given the perceived pretentiousness of the brand's name and its apparent divergence from the successful strategies employed by other celebrity lifestyle brands.

Only time will tell whether American Riviera Orchard will be able to overcome the initial negative reception and establish itself as a successful lifestyle brand. For now, Meghan Markle and her followers will have to weather the storm of criticism as they await the unveiling of the Duchess's latest project.