The Sussexes have relaunched their brand so they can monetise their status as royals – this time with a new website, Sussex.com, and a rather ludicrous coat of arms.
You might feel the timing is odd. This latest controversy comes as King Charles embarks on treatment for an as-yet undisclosed form of cancer.
Scarcely what the doctors ordered, but then what can you expect?
The Sussex cupboard is starting to look a little bare. Without new sponsorships, without a fresh Hollywood deal, there are few obvious sources of the money required to maintain their luxurious lifestyle.
The Duke and Duchess have done good business with their various claims and revelations on their Netflix documentary and in Harry’s ghosted memoir, Spare, but what more is there to say?
The climate seems to be changing in the United States and the welcome the Sussexes enjoyed when they first arrived in California in 2021 is disappearing.
Increasingly, Americans don’t much care about Meghan and Harry. It’s striking that the Sussexes were not among the many celebrities enjoying themselves at last weekend’s Super Bowl.
Perhaps they had better things to do that night.
The new homepage of Sussex.com features an image of Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex at the closing ceremony of the Invictus Games in September 2023
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s royal crest features prominently on the new Sussex.com website and could cause tensions as a result
If the naked opportunism seems obvious, Sussex.com is further evidence, to me at least, of how hardened Harry and Meghan have become in their opposition to the Monarchy.
Those bleating that the king’s illness has a wonderful moment for reconciliation between father and younger son fail to grasp the true state of the relationship between the Sussexes and the Royal Family.
It is horrendous.
In this light, Harry’s dash to London after hearing of his father’s cancer is open to being interpreted as a cynical ploy.
Did Harry really believe that a trans-Atlantic dash to see King Charles would endear himself to a public that once adored him?
His stricken father seems to have known better. No doubt encouraged by Queen Camilla, the king gave his son just over 30 minutes before Harry departed to sleep in, not a royal palace, but a hotel.
No doubt Meghan will have played a full part in their decisions. This, remember, is a woman who refuses to be reconciled with her sick father and has been accused of ghosting her (former) best friends.
The Sussexes’ recent trip to Jamaica was notably inappropriate, perhaps even tantamount to treachery.
In the aftermath of the Cambridges’ unhappy visit there in 2022, amid the island’s bid for reparations and its talk of abandoning the British Monarch as head of state, Meghan must have known the Jamaican government’s hospitality would embarrass Britain.
I suspect she loved it, not to mention the private jet, the five-star hotels and the royal treatment dispensed by Jamaica’s prime minister.
Harry and Meghan will be carefully advised, yet Sussex.com flirts with danger – a sign perhaps that the stakes are now so high.
The move exposes them to accusations of breaking a solemn promise to Queen Elizabeth that they would not commercialise the relationship with the Royal Family.
What else can we conclude?
Surely the time has come for the King to cancel their titles and withdraw the titles from their children.
Until now, Charles has been too tolerant about the Sussexes’ money-grabbing antics.
The King failed to stamp down on the Sussexes after the Oprah Winfrey show. That would have been the wiser course of action.
Instead, he gave their children titles as prince and princess and invited them to his Coronation. Only Harry came – and then left for America in short order.
Throughout this time, King Charles has been too lenient with a couple who have earned their living from damaging the royal family and Britain. It’s time that changed.
This latest breach of trust – a clear attempt to make money from their royal status – should be punished.
Once the King recovers from cancer, he should make clear that Sussexes are no longer members of the Royal Family and not welcome in Britain.
Tom Bower is the author of Revenge: Meghan, Harry and the War Between the Windsors published by Simon & Schuster