Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are expanding their communications team as they prepare to unveil their new foundation.
In October, the couple hired Christine Schirmer, who most recently served as Pinterest's head of communications and previously served as corporate communications manager at Apple. They've also added Toya Holness, who previously led communications at the New York City Department of Education, as their new press secretary, PEOPLE has learned.
The new team members join James Holt, who serves as communications lead in the U.K., and will continue to work with Sunshine Sachs, the Duke and Duchess’ international agency of record. Together, the group will oversee the communications strategy for Archewell, future production projects and other personal ventures.
The news comes as Meghan and Prince Harry — who relocated to California earlier this year, settling in Santa Barbara after spending time in Meghan's hometown of Los Angeles —prepare for the official launch of their Archewell foundation (the organization's website went live on October 21).
Harry and Meghan announced in April, shortly after they officially stepped down as senior royals on March 31, that their new foundation would be called Archewell — a name that shares a connection with their son Archie, who turned 1 on May 6. In a statement, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex explained how they decided on the name, which predates their son’s name.
"Like you, our focus is on supporting efforts to tackle the global COVID-19 pandemic, but faced with this information coming to light, we felt compelled to share the story of how this came to be," the couple said in the statement.
"Before SussexRoyal came the idea of 'arche' — the Greek word meaning 'source of action,' " they continued. "We connected to this concept for the charitable organization we hoped to build one day, and it became the inspiration for our son’s name. To do something of meaning, to do something that matters. Archewell is a name that combines an ancient word for strength and action, and another that evokes the deep resources we each must draw upon. We look forward to launching Archewell when the time is right."
Given the massive upheaval from both the COVID-19 pandemic and the racial justice movement, Meghan and Harry have refocused their efforts.
"Nobody could have counted on the world turning upside down," a source previously told PEOPLE. "As many others have, they have been moved to get their voices behind supporting both the COVID-19 response and Black Lives Matter."
"But that’s not separate or a diversion from the values and mission that will be reflected in Archewell," the source continued. "You’ll see what they’re focused on now will also be reflected in the core of the organization. They are excited to see it all come together. It’s what they have always dreamed of doing together."
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The pair launched their @SussexRoyal Instagram account in April 2019, marking one of the first steps in establishing a separate office from Prince William and Kate Middleton. They also launched a website under the same name.
As was agreed upon with the Royal Family, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will no longer use the name Sussex Royal for their charitable organization, Instagram or website. Although they will be inactive, "both the Instagram account and website will remain in existence online for the foreseeable future," a spokesperson for the couple previously stated.
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