Meghan Markle using sabbatical to make her charity project 'biggest philanthropic project in the world'

Victoria Ward
The Duchess of Sussex is working on the US launch of the Sussex Royal Foundation - Getty Images

The Duchess of Sussex is using her six-week sabbatical from royal duties to plot the US launch of the Sussex Royal Foundation alongside her former Hollywood PR, it has emerged.

She is said to be in “work mode” and determined that the foundation, which will be launched in the New Year, will be one of the biggest and most successful philanthropic organisations in the world.

The Duchess is hoping to capitalise on Los Angeles connections forged during her former showbusiness career to harness a massive fundraising drive.

Sources confirmed that she had met with Keleigh Thomas Morgan, her former publicist and a partner at Sunshine Sachs, a celebrity PR firm in recent weeks whilst in the US with the Duke, their son Archie and her mother, Doria Ragland.

She is said to be “taking the reins” on the forthcoming foundation launch and insisting on maintaining complete creative control.

A source said: “This is a mission that Meghan has been on for a long time.

“Even in her younger years in Hollywood, she wanted to work towards creating an international charity changing lives.

“Now that she has the platform and profile of being a British royal she can truly build this plan.

“She sees this foundation as one of the key factors in creating a legacy as a new royal and Harry is right behind her.

“While Harry and Meghan are technically on rest, she is not the type of woman who likes doing nothing; so this break actually could be seen by some as very fortuitous.”

Ms Thomas Morgan worked with the Duchess when she starred in the American legal drama Suits, and was a guest at her wedding last May.

She is said to have been a “huge help” in turning the Duchess’s vision into reality, using her networking skills to help build relationships and business connections.

Sources confirmed the Duchess had met with her former publicist Keleigh Thomas Morgan Credit: GETTY IMAGES

Meanwhile, the Duchess is working to establish links with celebrity friends and supporters, who might be expected to include high profile stars such as Oprah Winfrey and George and Amal Clooney.

The source added: “What is most interesting is that Meghan feels that while the charity will be a worldwide venture, she sees Hollywood and American business circles as key to fundraising.

“Meghan feels that focusing on fundraising stateside will bring in tens of millions of dollars quickly.”

Buckingham Palace has made no secret of the fact that Sunshine Sachs is working with the Sussexes on their new fundraising initiative and is being paid for “privately”.

The PR consultants, who have reportedly worked with Harvey Weinstein and the Michael Jackson estate, will be involved in the US launch of Travelyst next year, which will also fall under the Sussex Royal umbrella.

The Foundation was established was set up after the couple broke away from the Royal Foundation, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's charitable vehicle established by Prince William and Prince Harry in 2009.

Meanwhile, Tom Bradby, the ITV newsreader who interviewed the Sussexes during their recent tour of southern Africa, has revealed that he tried to educate the Duchess about Britain’s complex relationship with its royals.

"Sometimes you try and explain to people not from this country our relationship with the monarchy,” he told the BBC Radio 4 podcast Fortunately... With Fi And Jane.

“I remember trying to explain it to Meghan a long time ago.It was one of the first times I met her. I was like: ‘Good luck with that one.’

“You're trying to explain the way, for so many people, our view of our country and who we are is to some extent tied up with the people on the balcony.

“It’s a very difficult relationship to explain.”

Bradby’s documentary, broadcast in October, generated huge publicity after both the Duke and the Duchess described their struggles with life in the public eye, raising concerns about their mental health.

The journalist, who is a long-time friend of the Duke and attended the couple's wedding, said of the programme: "Funnily enough I wouldn't want to do it very often.

“I needed to go and have a long lie down after it because the psychological complexities is a bit tricky.”