Princess Diana's former chief-of-staff, Patrick Jephson, recently expressed his concern that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Archewell "brand" may eventually face failure. The royal aide served under the late princess for eight years total -- from 1988 until 1996 -- and was responsible for nearly every aspect of her public life.
According to The Daily Express, the former private secretary made the comments during a virtual conference on personal brands arranged by a public relations company.
"Harry and Meghan have an evolving brand issue," he stated during the discussion.
Jephson added that he believed that Harry and Meghan made a mistake by distancing themselves from the royal family. The comments come a little over a year after the couple announced their decision to step down from their positions as working royals.
"One could argue that, at its best, membership of the royal family gives you access to the most extraordinary and powerful brand in the world," he said.
"To voluntarily divest yourselves of all those advantages in pursuit of something else is very daring – and we don't even know what that something else is," he added. The former aide may be speaking from experience, as he was on-hand when Diana departed royal life following her divorce from Prince Charles and was forced to figure out a new path.
Though her career was successful, Jephson was bearish on whether that could be recreated with the Sussexes, especially since he believed the two did not have as strong a connection to public service as the late princess did.
"If it departs very much from that great tradition of personal sacrifice and public service that defines the monarchy brand then I don't believe it will succeed," he concluded.
Though Harry and Meghan recently launched their charitable foundation, Archewell, the two have been in the news more often due to their lucrative deals with streaming behemoths Netflix and Spotify, as well as their personal feuds with their family members. For example, the duke recently grabbed headlines due to his frosty relationship with Prince William. Meanwhile, Meghan is reportedly "sick to her stomach" with anxiety over the upcoming publication of her half-sister Samantha Markle's memoir, per The Inquisitr.
The ex chief-of-staff pointed out that he believed Diana's reputation suffered when she moved focus away from her humanitarian work to her personal life, citing the Panorama interview with Martin Bashir where she discussed the breakdown of her marriage.
"I was very much opposed to Diana giving that interview," he said. "It backfired and I resigned partly as a result."