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Meghan Markle’s UK relaunch is gathering pace amid claims she has hired a new PR guru to battle a ‘popularity problem’ in Britain.

The Duchess of Sussex wants a stellar publicist to help her promote a new mystery business venture in 2024 that has reportedly been months in the making.

An unnamed executive has been recruited to help her handle the duchess’s UK and European media operation and promote Archewell, the foundation she runs with her husband Prince Harry.

The Duchess of Sussex’s new project is said to have been in the pipeline since last year and described as ‘highly personal to her’ and ‘genuine to who she is’ by The Daily Telegraph.

It will only feed deafening rumours that she wants to relaunch her lifestyle blog The Tig, especially after her friend Gwyneth Paltrow ‘s GOOP brand burst through the $250million value over Christmas.

Yesterday MailOnline revealed her search new UK PR executive- but those at the heart of the industry claimed it won’t be an easy job because the Sussexes’ don’t have a reputation for being good listeners.

One described the role as ‘a s**t sandwich that many senior PR people will not be willing to eat’.

The couple are in Texas where Meghan will give a speech on International Women’s Day. A year ago Harry’s memoir Spare became a worldwide bestseller but his relentless attacks on his family caused plunging popularity on both sides of the Atlantic. Their Netflix documentary received poor reviews, they were dumped by Spotify and even humiliated to millions of viewers on South Park and Family Guy.

Prince Harry and Meghan are pictured on their trip to Vancouver last month ahead of next year's Invictus Games. MailOnline understands they are looking for a UK PR expert to help them

Prince Harry and Meghan are pictured on their trip to Vancouver last month ahead of next year’s Invictus Games. MailOnline understands they are looking for a UK PR expert to help them

In March 2021, the Sussexes appeared on Oprah following 'Megxit'. It caused major ructions and led to Prince William having to deny the Royal Family is racist. This is one area where a PR guru will need to make headway

In March 2021, the Sussexes appeared on Oprah following ‘Megxit’. It caused major ructions and led to Prince William having to deny the Royal Family is racist. This is one area where a PR guru will need to make headway

The Duke of Sussex, who has endured a steep decline in his personal popularity in just four years, has been consistently battered in the polls since the publication of Spare. Only Prince Andrew is less popular than Meghan according to this January Ipsos Mori poll

The Duke of Sussex, who has endured a steep decline in his personal popularity in just four years, has been consistently battered in the polls since the publication of Spare. Only Prince Andrew is less popular than Meghan according to this January Ipsos Mori poll

The Redfield & Wilton's poll, which was made up of 2,000 US voters, marks a serious backslide in ratings for the couple, who moved to the country after stepping back from royal duties in March 2020

The Redfield & Wilton's poll, which was made up of 2,000 US voters, marks a serious backslide in ratings for the couple, who moved to the country after stepping back from royal duties in March 2020

In the US, a Redfield & Wilton’s poll, which was made up of 2,000 US voters, also showed a serious backslide in ratings for the couple

Whoever takes the PR job will have a bulging in-tray of issues to deal with in Harry’s home country, especially after several years of potshots at his family from California in his memoirs Spare as well as the couple’s Oprah interview and Netflix documentary.

Experts have highlighted five key areas where the couple need help repairing their reputation in the UK and improving their popularity with a recent poll finding that public’s view of Meghan is at its most negative for five years.

The most pressing issue would be the deep rift between the Sussexes and the British royals and a ‘radical’ backtrack may be needed including spending more time in the UK, especially with Harry’s father.

There have been positive signs from King Charles but experts have said that Harry’s relationship with Prince William is non-existent.

PR specialist Ellery Takamoto said: ‘Normally, I’d recommend for the couple to focus on more positive and relatable initiatives, such as charitable work.

‘But in this case, I think that too much damage has been done, and that they’ll need a somewhat more radical approach.

‘The public will need to see Harry and Meghan get closer to the remaining Royal Family, perhaps take their royal duties back up again, and move back to the UK.’

Founder and CEO of firm Mavens & Moguls, Paige Arnof-Fenn, has said that the priority is to ‘rebuild family ties’.

She told Daily Express US: ‘Especially now with King Charles being diagnosed with cancer, I think there is more opportunity for Harry and Meghan to reconnect with people in the UK and shine.

‘Even if the Sussex’s stay in the US and she returns to acting or writes a book the public will be more sympathetic I think if they spend time with Charles now’.

The second area the couple need help with is rebuilding links with UK charities and other organisations.

Harry’s much-hailed Invictus Games could be hosted in Birmingham in 2027 and he visits the WellChild Awards each summer. Meghan opened a new wing of the Mayhew animal trust recently but after Megxit she lost patronages of the Royal National Theatre and the Association of Commonwealth Universities.

Meghan also had to give up her role as vice-president of The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust.

The third area for a PR to work on is the couple’s low popularity in the UK, with experts saying that less TV shows and more charity work is needed.

A recent Ipsos Mori poll from January found that almost half of Britons – 47 per cent – admitted that held an unfavourable opinion of Prince Harry, with just 23 per cent holding a positive opinion of him – down seven per cent.

In 2018, 87 per cent of the British public had a positive opinion of him.

Meghan has a 54 per cent unfavourable rating with only 18 per cent of respondents holding a positive opinion of her.

This is a drop of five per cent and is her lowest rating in five years.

PR expert Chris Blondell said the couple ‘will get headlines no matter what but if you’re trying to rehab your image first step away from the spotlight, put your head down, and lean hard into charity and less popular, respectable efforts’.

The Susssexes were mocked and humiliated in an episode of South Park last year where a prince and his wife went on a 'worldwide privacy tour'

The Susssexes were mocked and humiliated in an episode of South Park last year where a prince and his wife went on a ‘worldwide privacy tour’

The two final areas highlighted by PR professionals is the need for Meghan and Harry to repair their relationship with the media in the UK and the Government after the Duke of Sussex’s legal action against the Home Office after his taxpayer-funded police bodyguards were taken away.

The Duchess of Sussex is looking for professional help to gain more positive publicity in Britain for herself and for Archewell, the foundation which she runs with Prince Harry in California.

A star hire will also help her amid persistent rumours her lifestyle blog The Tig could return, especially after her friend Gwyneth Paltrow‘s GOOP brand burst through the $250million value over Christmas.

The search for a UK PR executive is yet another sign that 2024 is the year the Sussexes will relaunch and it appears despite being happy in California, they want to do more in Harry’s home country.

But one senior PR executive based in London told MailOnline: ‘This is a s**t sandwich that many senior PR people will not be willing to eat. Many will turn it down. Representing the couple in the UK is a tantalising thought but they don’t have a reputation for listening to advice. What would be the point?’. 

It came as Prince Harry looks set to return to the UK in May for a St Paul’s Cathedral service to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Invictus Games. The Government used its Budget yesterday to launch a £26million bid to host the event in Birmingham in 2027.

An insider told MailOnline that the Sussexes can see an opportunity in Britain as King Charles’ slimmed-down monarchy struggles because of the monarch’s illness and William taking a backseat to support Kate after her abdominal surgery.

But the source said that PR specialists may be wary because they fear that Meghan and Harry may not heed their advice given some of decisions since Megxit, including attacks on Harry’s family and Palace’s men in grey suits.

‘The Royal Family is looking short-staffed and quite elderly’, the source said, adding: ‘The Sussexes have a popularity problem and can see there is an opportunity to step in to fill a vacuum over here with their own work. There is also growing noise stateside that Harry would like to carry out duties on behalf of his father again’.

The expert added: ‘American stars also often expect their PRs to spend their time shouting at people – that’s not going to appeal either in the UK where things are done rather differently’.

It came just a fortnight after Meghan Markle opened a new wing of an animal charity in the UK.

The Duchess of Sussex sent a personal filmed message in memory of her ‘dear friend’ Oli Juste, who introduced her to the Mayhew Trust and animal home in north-west London.

Brand and culture expert Nick Ede told MailOnline that the shock online appearance in the UK revealed a great deal about the Duchess’ plans and that she still wants to work here.

He said: ‘I think that the UK is still a very important place for Meghan to have a presence and to have strong positive PR. She genuinely likes the UK and British people.

‘I would think that to bring a positive spin on her good work and her philanthropic side is very important to her – even recently with the work she does with the Mayhew she has shown her commitment to the causes she cares about’.

He added: ‘If she is going to start to promote lifestyle brands in the UK, Meghan knows that the consumer audience although smaller than North America are very style savvy and they love her looks and fashion sensibility’.

MailOnline has asked the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to comment.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are putting off Americans with their 'endless moans' and 'attacks' on the Royal Family , a royal expert has claimed

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are putting off Americans with their ‘endless moans’ and ‘attacks’ on the Royal Family , a royal expert has claimed

The Duchess of Sussex has been named on a star-studded keynote panel on the opening day of SXSW festival in Texas

The Duchess of Sussex has been named on a star-studded keynote panel on the opening day of SXSW festival in Texas

Brooke Shields, 58, is to appear on the panel alongside Meghan Markle at the festival tomorrow

Brooke Shields, 58, is to appear on the panel alongside Meghan Markle at the festival tomorrow

It marks the latest in a string of public appearance for Harry and Meghan in recent weeks, including a trip to Vancouver (pictured)

It marks the latest in a string of public appearance for Harry and Meghan in recent weeks, including a trip to Vancouver (pictured)

Meghan Markle has been described as a ‘visionary female leader’ ahead of her appearance on a star-studded panel at the opening day of the SXSW festival in Texas alongside actress Brooke Shields and author Katie Couric.

The Duchess of Sussex, 42, is set to appear at the annual event tomorrow and is expected to discuss ‘breaking barriers’ and ‘challenging stereotypes’ as she addresses social media use.

South by Southwest, also referred to as SXSW, is an annual festival that celebrates the convergence of technology, film, music, education and culture, being held from March 8-16

Meghan is the headliner of the keynote event on Friday, which is also International Women’s Day

According to organisers, the session is presented by Harry and Meghan’s Archewell Foundation and The 19th, a US nonprofit newsroom that reports on gender, politics and policy.

Announcing its panel of ‘visionary’ women, the festival confirmed the session would focus on the dangers and mental health issues associated with social media users amongst teenage girls.

The session, titled Breaking Barriers, Shaping Narratives: How Women Lead On and Off the Screen, will be moderated by Errin Haines, host of The Amendment podcast, and also attended by pop culture expert Nancy Wang Yuen.

Alongside the fellow participants, Meghan will also talk about the importance of representation in media and entertainment. 

In a statement, the organisers said: ‘Women’s representation in media and entertainment has come a long way, but there’s still much to be done, especially for women of color and mothers. 

‘Social media’s omnipresence has raised the stakes, creating an often dangerous environment which has led to serious mental health issues for teenage girls in particular. 

‘On International Women’s Day, we’ll hear from visionary female leaders at the forefront of news, media, entertainment and philanthropy who are breaking barriers, challenging stereotypes, and working toward a healthier society on and off our screens.’

In Spare, Harry alleged the Prince of Wales grabbed him by the collar and threw him to the floor, while shattering a dog bowl with his back

In Spare, Harry alleged the Prince of Wales grabbed him by the collar and threw him to the floor, while shattering a dog bowl with his back

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This post first appeared on Daily mail

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