Meghan Markle's marriage to Prince Harry has earned her new royal status.
Now, after stepping down as a senior royal, she has surrounded herself with some of Hollywood's most elite power players to position her for success, both within her charitable world and also her continuing career in the entertainment industry.
"Since Meghan Markle’s move to California, we’ve seen an uptick in her high-power celebrity friend base. Like any person that moves to a new area, you tend to make friends with people in close proximity to you, such as neighbors or through mutual friends," networking and branding expert Kathy Fielder told Fox News Digital. "With Meghan Markle’s status, although no longer a part of the royal family, she is sure to attract people of equal status within her community."
"Although they don’t know the ins and outs of being a former royal family member, they do understand the scrutiny of a high-status position in their respective industries."
The Duchess of Sussex and her royal husband were recently spotted stepping out for sushi near their home in the affluent area of Montecito, California. They reportedly met up with two other famous couples for their date night: Gwyneth Paltrow and her husband, Brad Fulchuk, and Cameron Diaz and her husband, Benji Madden.
"For all that seems upside down about 2023, an old axiom still rings true: Your network is your net worth," PR expert and Achilles founder Doug Eldridge told Fox News Digital. "In other words, the company you keep – and especially your inner circle – can either lift you up or drag you down.
"When it comes to Markle, it’s hard to determine who’s really in her circle or on her side. She’s fallen out with her own family and has seemingly become persona non grata with the royal family," the PR expert added. "Instead of paparazzi chases … star-spotting and generally spreading herself too thin, Markle might be better served by narrowing her focus and doubling down on only two groups: her husband and home life, and her business management team at WME."
Criticism is a "prevalent part" of celebrity culture, according to Fielder. And while these celebrity friends could help pump up Markle's image as a power player, it could be risky for the stars.
"I suppose it’s up to the individual to decide if they can handle the pressure that may come with aligning themselves with someone of this magnitude who is both beloved and hated," she told Fox News Digital. "Haters are going to hate, so if they find a friend in Meghan and value their connection, that’s what should matter over the latest gossip."
"The saying 'If you can’t take the heat, stay out of the kitchen' is right on the money when it comes to potential friendships with Meghan Markle."
Oprah Winfrey and the royal couple have reportedly been close friends since Markle and Harry moved to the United States after stepping back from their royal roles in 2020. Winfrey lives near Prince Harry and Markle in Montecito.
After relocating, Harry and Markle sat down for a tell-all interview with Winfrey to talk about their reasons for leaving their senior roles in the royal family.
During the interview, Markle revealed to Winfrey that she had contemplated committing suicide while a working member of the royal family.
"I was really ashamed to say it at the time and ashamed to have to admit it to Harry, especially because I know how much loss he suffered," she said. "But I knew that if I didn’t say it that I would do it. And I just didn’t, I just didn’t want to be alive anymore."
Before stepping back from their royal roles, Winfrey attended Markle and Prince Harry's wedding in 2018.
Ellen DeGeneres and Meghan Markle met in 2017 at a dog shelter. The talk show host spoke about their friendship and how she met Markle while announcing the royal couple's engagement on her show.