Meghan Markle's website backlash forces foodbank charity to issue statement

Meghan Markle
Meghan Markle at the Invictus Games last year -Credit:UK Press via Getty Images

A UK foodbank charity has been forced to issue a statement following backlash due to an unexpected association with Meghan Markle's new lifestyle venture, American Riviera Orchard.

The controversy began when the UK domain name for the new brand was found redirecting visitors to a fundraising page for The Trussell Trust, which included messages of support for the Princess of Wales and King Charles, reports the Mirror.

Meghan's official site '', the UK version at '' seems to have been purchased by an unknown Royal enthusiast, prominently displaying the message: "Forgiveness. Permission. Please donate to The Trussell Trust."

Clicking on the "Donate to the Trussell Trust" link takes users to a JustGiving campaign aiming to raise £1,000, accompanied by the note: "this is not meghan but hopefully meghan wouldn't mind. thoughts with catherine, princess of wales and his majesty the king. x."

The initiative has received a flurry of donations, expressing praise for Kate and the Trust, with messages such as: "We Stand With Catherine", and: "Just love what you did here!"

The homepage on the UK version of American Riviera Orchard
The homepage on the UK version of American Riviera Orchard -Credit:PA

The fundraising page has exceeded its initial target thanks to the unknown fundraiser, with now more than £23,000 raised, as of Wednesday morning.

Despite this, some individuals on social media have urged the Trussell Trust - which aids a network of food banks across the nation, offering emergency sustenance and support to those in dire straits - to distance itself from the fundraiser, alleging it ridicules the Duchess of Sussex.

Nevertheless, responding on X, previously known as Twitter, the charity responded to a critic's comment: "We are not associated with the website domain. We weren't aware of the website prior to it going live and have not had any direct contact with the person who set it up."

"As the website clearly states this is a fundraiser in aid of us, it would not meet the Charity Commission's requirements to be categorised as fraudulent. In line with the Commission's guidance, we are unable to reject donations unless they meet specific requirements."

Meanwhile, Sophie Carre, the Trussell Trust's director of public engagement, remarked last week: "The Trussell Trust are grateful to people who put their time and energy into supporting our work to end the need for food banks in the UK. The charity is not connected with this website domain and has no knowledge of who set it up."

In March Meghan revealed her brand new website and Instagram account for her lifestyle brand and business venture American Riviera Orchard.

Kate and Meghan
Meghan with the Princess of Wales back in 2018 -Credit:Getty Images

The social media page was launched with a vintage-style video of Meghan cooking and arranging white hydrangeas and roses.

The short video is set to Nancy Wilson's I Wish You Love and ends with the brand's logo, American Riviera Orchard, written in elegant gold script above the word Montecito the star-studded neighbourhood near Santa Barbara in California where she and Prince Harry reside.

Very little information has been released about American Riviera Orchard, but a trademark application filed on February 2 this year shows the company wishes to offer downloadable and printed recipe books, tablewear, textiles, and jams and marmalades, according to the United States Patent and Trademark Office website.

However, Meghan carried out a soft launch of the first product from her new business venture last week, gifting her friends a limited edition jar of strawberry jam.

Fashion designer Tracy Robbins shared two photos of the jam jar, which Meghan sent nestled in a basket of lemons.

Her jar was labelled "17 of 50" and she posted a picture of the gift on her Instagram account, captioning it "Breakfast, lunch and dinner just got a little sweeter."

Delfina Blaquier, spouse of Harry's close mate, Argentine polo star Nacho Figueras who participated in the event, also took to Instagram to share her delight after trying out the present.

Her jar of jam was marked "10 of 50" and she uploaded a snap of it slathered on a slice of bread, alongside another photo of the jar, captioning it with "Strawberry jam makes me happy. And I love your jam.."

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