Harry and Meghan to take ‘full lead’ of Archewell as president steps down

Mandana Dayani, the president of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s charitable foundation Archewell, has stepped down from her role.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will take “full lead” of the foundation following Dayani’s departure, which comes just days after Netflix released the trailer for the couple’s forthcoming docuseries, Harry & Meghan.

A spokesperson for the Sussexes confirmed Dayani’s resignation in a statement to The Independent, which read: “Ms Dayani has been an integral part of Archewell and we are grateful for her passion, commitment and leadership.

“Ms Dayani was brought on during their parental leave to move the company and its projects forward. She has continued to shape its vision and future successfully.

“Her transition was mutually planned, with intent for the Duke and Duchess to now take full lead pf their company. There will be no replacement for this position and Ms Dayani is fully supportive of the Duke and Duchess in their new leadership roles, and they remain friends.”

Dayani was born in Iran but fled her home country as a refugee to the US. She is the founder of I Am A Voter, a democratic movement that aims to boost voter registration.

She was appointed as Archewell’s first chief operating officer (COO) in 2021. At the time, she said in a statement about her new role: “I am so inspired by the vision and unwavering dedication of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to create a more united, truthful, safe and equitable world.

“I am thrilled to build upon our shared mission to drive systematic cultural change.”

She was in charge of the day-to-day operations at Archewell and played a role in arranging Meghan’s Spotify deal for her podcast, Archetypes.

According to the organisation’s website, Archewell aims to “unleash the power of compassion to drive systematic cultural change” through non-profit work and the Sussexes’ business deals.

Last March, Archewell’s executive director Catherine St-Laurent left the role after just one year, and went on to become a senior adviser at the foundation instead. She was replaced by James Holt, the couple’s UK spokesperson.

Earlier this week, the trailer for the duke and duchess’ docuseries about the “other side” of their story was released by Netflix during the Prince and Princess of Wales’ trip to Boston for the Earthshot Prize awards ceremony.

 (Netflix/Harry & Meghan)
(Netflix/Harry & Meghan)

Harry & Meghan, which is reportedly set to premiere on 8 December, will see Harry speaking about having to do “everything I could to protect my family”.

A description of the show on Netflix reads: “Across six episodes, the series explores the clandestine days of their early courtship and the challenges that led to them feeling forced to step back from their full-time roles in the institution.

“With commentary from friends and family, most of whom have never spoken publicly before about what they witnessed, and historians who discuss the state of the British Commonwealth today and the royal family’s relationship with the press, the series does more than illuminate one couple’s love story, it paints a picture of our world and how we treat each other.”