Meghan has faced a barrage of criticism in her first year of being a royal but the latest earnings figures show she is definitely having the last laugh.

If you've got $22 lying around right now, you could be the proud owner of an official Duke and Duchess of Sussex Royal Wedding Mug. (It's a steal at 50% off!)

For $44.40, you can snap up a Duke and Duchess of Sussex Royal Wedding Cream Heart Decoration. Fancy something cheaper? A Duke and Duchess of Sussex Royal Wedding Pill Box is only $31.

New figures from the Royal Collection have revealed an 18 per cent boost in visitor ticket sales to royal palaces and a $6.2 million jump in sales of souvenirs over the last year thanks largely to everyone's favourite former actress. Photo / Getty Images
New figures from the Royal Collection have revealed an 18 per cent boost in visitor ticket sales to royal palaces and a $6.2 million jump in sales of souvenirs over the last year thanks largely to everyone's favourite former actress. Photo / Getty Images

While the royal family might be famed for their pomp, majesty and regal bearing, they are also very good at turning a fast buck by selling a variety of teapots, cheesy Christmas decorations and knock-off crystal jewellery.

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Because, while the Queen might be an imperious figure who believes she has been ordained by a higher power to be Defender of the Faith, she is not above slapping a crest on a packet of tea bags or trinkets such as $28 corgi socks to make a bit of coin.

And no member of the Windsor Firm is currently doing more to help shift this vast selection of twee tchotchkes than Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.

New figures from the Royal Collection have revealed an 18 per cent boost in visitor ticket sales to royal palaces and a $6.2 million jump in sales of souvenirs over the last year thanks largely to everyone's favourite former actress.

According to the report, this "noticeable growth" came from online sales "reflecting the popularity of Royal Wedding-related merchandise". (It's the biggest increase in admissions and sales since 2011 when those crazy kids Kate and Wills rushed to the altar after nine years of dating.)

Translation: Meghan has proven to be a nice little earner for the royal family.

And here's the thing — Meghan has faced a barrage of criticism for her hugs, all that damn Givenchy and very nebulous understanding of what privacy means, however, right now she is the Windsors' secret weapon.

While all that dosh is handy (polo ponies don't come cheap) Meghan is also responsible for something far more valuable. Right now, the royal family is enjoying a significant uptick in popularity and interest, thanks largely to their newest recruit, a woman who traded life on civvy street to unveil plaques for a living.

Take the @KensingtonRoyal Instagram account. Since Harry and Meghan launched their own breakaway @SussexRoyal account in early April, the Kensington Palace account has added more than two million new followers, bringing them to 9.7 million followers. (Meanwhile, Harry and Meghan's account boasts a not-too-shabby 9.2 million.)

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Also, for all the alleged tiara drama, feud rumours and the contentious visits to Wimbledon, Meghan has succeeded in achieving something that generations of royal family members have failed to do — to get the US truly, obsessively hooked on the Windsor soap opera.

In only 18 months or so since the Sussexes' engagement, Meghan has miraculously made vast swathes of Yanks deeply invested in, and passionate about, the familial squabbles, disputes and plodding charitable endeavours of a bunch of (mostly) middle aged, white Brits with more than their fair share of weak chins. And that is a truly admirable feat.

(Diana was hugely popular in America, yes, and Kate has been too, however, nowhere near the level of adoration Meghan enjoys.)

Because, the royal family needs people to care. However, this is not about ego — this is about survival.

The royal family is about to face their greatest test in a generation.

When the Queen passes away, it will be her far (FAR) less popular son who ascends to the throne. Replacing a revered, grandmotherly figure with a slightly gormless, pontificating 70-something bloke will be a huge test of the public's appetite to keep forking out tens of millions for a royal family.

The monarch and her gaggle of offspring, with their phone calls about tampons, $4.3 million renovations highly unusual real estate deals with Kazakh powerbrokers need the public to not write them off as a bunch of overindulged toffs and instead retain some level of slack jawed curiosity in (and respect for) their goings on.

To very poorly paraphrase Oscar Wilde, for the Queen and her extended brood, it is far better to be obsessively talked about, even if that means being raked over the coals of public opinion, than to be blithely ignored.

Essentially, they need to shore up interest in this aristocratic melodrama, like a Jilly Cooper novel but with more nude tights and visits to regional recycling plants.

And while Kate might be a charming, photogenic Duchess who has done her duty by producing three perfect children like some sort of glossy broodmare in a Jigsaw frock, it is Meghan with her restless and defiant approach to royal life who is really keeping the ratings up (and cash registers ringing).

Being an HRH might not be a role Meghan was born to play, but damn it, thanks to this one woman, the world is now binge-watching the real life Crown and for that, the Queen should be saying, "Danke".