Meghan Markle and Prince Harry under fire for promoting close friend's luxury wellness retreat under their mental health campaign
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are facing flak for promoting an exclusive $1169-a-night retreat run by one of Meghan’s close friends using a mental health campaign on their official Instagram account.
The couple told their 7.6 million followers that they wanted to "shine a light" on people doing "amazing work for mental health", while also encouraging followers to follow executive turned fitness guru Taryn Toomey, who had attended Meghan’s New York baby shower. Reportedly, a royal expert has warned that endorsing a friend’s commercial venture on a public platform could put the couple on "dangerous ground".
48-year-old Toomey's profile that is promoted by the Sussexes, includes a link to her website, which promotes a $4678 four-night retreat that she hosts at one of the finest hotels in the Caribbean with just four clicks. The website allows visitors to choose between meditation and exercise classes on the private island of Mustique and another retreat based on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, the celebrity playground off the coast of Massachusetts.
The website also sells jewelry including $1559 ‘peach moonstones’ and skin care products such as a $350 ‘anti-aging’ serum. Users can also book Toomey’s exclusive workouts, called "The Class". The lessons are popular among celebrities like Jennifer Aniston and supermodels Christy Turlington and Gisele Bundchen.
Toomey's lifestyle is as extravagant as her retreat options; she and her financier husband lived in a magnificent Manhattan apartment which cost around $6 million, which they sold in 2017.
Responding to criticism faced by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, the couple's spokeswoman pointed out that Harry often spoke about the importance of mental health and added that the couple were using their Instagram account to "shine a light on several Instagram accounts that promote mental well-being, mental fitness, body positivity, self-care and the importance of human connection".
The couple also favors the organization 'Pandas' on Instagram -- a charity supporting families coping with pre- and post-natal mental illnesses, and Anxiety UK, an organization that supports those suffering from anxiety disorders.
Staff at Toomey’s company have reportedly admitted that the public's interest in the workouts and retreats being sold was, indeed, boosted by the Royal endorsement. Its Instagram page received thousands of new followers after the Sussexes’ promotional post and an additional 8,000 after the birth of baby Archie.