Meghan Markle's close friend and professional polo player, Nacho Figueras, has come under fire from royal fans for his ill-timed promotion of the Duchess of Sussex's lifestyle brand, American Riviera Orchard, on the same day as the Princess of Wales' highly anticipated return to public life at Trooping the Colour.

The annual ceremony, also known as the King's Birthday Parade, held extra significance this year as Kate Middleton, who has been undergoing cancer treatment, made her first public appearance of 2023.

Figueras, 47, took to Instagram just hours before the event on Saturday to showcase gifts he had received from Meghan's fledgling company, including a jar of raspberry jam and dog biscuits. The timing of his post has sparked outrage among many royal fans, who have flooded his social media with comments calling his actions "shameful" and "tasteless."

One furious fan wrote, "What a tasteless gesture to publish content with Harry and Meghan products on the day Kate returns to public life!" Another added, "Disgusting prank to try and upstage Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales. You owe your fans an apology. What a small person you are."

The controversy surrounding Figueras' post has raised questions about the timing of the PR move, with some speculating that it was a deliberate attempt to overshadow the Princess of Wales' return to the spotlight. Royal expert Richard Fitzwilliams branded the decision to share the products over the weekend as "naive," telling the Mirror, "To do this on the same day as Trooping the Colour shows a very naive approach to marketing as they know journalists keep an eye on what they do."

Fitzwilliams went on to suggest that the raspberry jam could be seen as a symbol of the Sussexes' "destructive attitude" towards the royal family, adding, "If she wants her brand to succeed, Meghan better be more adventurous than this!"

However, not everyone agrees that the timing of Figueras' post was intentionally malicious. PR expert Lynn Carratt commented, "She [Meghan] didn't have any control over when Nacho would post them. And it didn't overshadow anything."

Figueras is among approximately 50 people believed to have received PR packages from the Duchess of Sussex's new lifestyle brand, which she soft-launched earlier this year. The exclusive raspberry jam, bearing a handwritten label reading "2 of 2," and the dog biscuits, packaged in a large glass jar with a label thought to be in Meghan's cursive script, are the latest additions to American Riviera Orchard's product line-up.

The controversy comes as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were reportedly not invited to attend Trooping the Colour for the second consecutive year. The couple, who stepped down as senior royals in 2020, last appeared at the event in 2019, just weeks after welcoming their first child, Archie.