Harry and Meghan's secret visit to Stanford raises lots of questions

Martha Ross, The Mercury News on

Published in Entertainment News

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Prince Harry and Meghan Markle secretly jetted into the Bay Area Tuesday to attend "a brainstorming session" with professors at Stanford University, apparently as part of their efforts to launch their new Sussex Royal charitable organization after stepping away from royal life.

Of course, their visit wasn't so secret because the "Today" show on Thursday got the scoop and shared the viral news about their visit to the prestigious Palo Alto campus.

In a story co-bylined by "Today" co-host Savannah Guthrie, the story began, "Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, have gone back to college." The story revealed that the couple were personally greeted to Stanford by its president, Marc Tessier-Lavigne.

A report from The Daily Mail said the meeting lasted a few hours and was designed for Harry, 35, and Meghan, 38, to get help on the concept of their organization. A representative for Stanford declined to comment on the couple's visit or to say which academics they met; he referred inquiries to Buckingham Palace and to the couple's Sussex Royal foundation.

Of course, Harry and Meghan's visit to the Bay Area raises a ton of questions, including whether a potential partnership with Stanford means that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will relocate to the West Coast permanently, even including to Meghan's home state of California.

When the couple announced in January that they were stepping back from being senior members of the royal family, they also said they were shifting their home from the U.K. to North America. That's also when they launched their expanded Sussex Royal website.


Among other things, the "Today" post made of point of saying that Harry and his former TV actress wife traveled by commercial jet -- not private jet -- to the Bay Area from Canada, where they are temporarily staying as someone's guest in a mansion on Vancouver Island.

The couple have faced backlash in the past week for taking a private jet, provided by JPMorgan Chase, to Palm Beach, Fla., and for receiving up to a reported $1 million for Harry to speak at the global banking giant's private summit for wealthy investors.

This week, news also emerged that Harry had been in talks with another major U.S. investment bank, Goldman Sachs. The theory, put forward by a top U.K. public relations expert, is that the duke would line himself up to be a speaker for the bank's "Talks at GS" series, videotaped conversations with celebrities who are considered to be "leading thinkers" who can "share insights and ideas shaping the world." The talks are not paid but the exposure can lead to other corporate deals and work as "brand ambassadors," the public relations expert said.

But it's potentially problematic for Harry and Meghan to associate themselves too closely with big American banks like JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs, given the banks' role in the 2007-08 financial crisis and their record for being major investors in the fossil fuel industry.


swipe to next page


blog comments powered by Disqus