How will Harry and Meghan make money in the US?

With life in the UK in the rearview mirror, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex find greener pastures in the land of opportunity

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In March 2020, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex walked away from free digs at Frogmore Cottage and a reported $5 million yearly stipend for royal public duties — which begs the question, how can Harry and Meghan afford their American dream?

"I've got what my mum left me and without that, we would not have been able to do this," Prince Harry told Oprah Winfrey in 2021.

At the time of her death, Princess Diana’s estate was worth a reported $15.8 million, an amount he split with brother Prince William.

Prince Harry also received millions from his great-grandmother, the Queen Mother, who died in 2002.

The couple’s Montecito, California mansion is mortgaged and their private security detail reportedly costs upwards of $3 million a year.

Doing the maths, it would appear that the couple have decided to do what most Americans do — roll up their sleeves and get to work.

You've got to work

Since relocating to warmer climes, the couple has signed a $100 million deal with Netflix and launched their podcast, Archewell Audio, with Spotify in a three-year deal worth $18 million.

They also are reportedly earning $1 million a speech through top booker Harry Walker.

Prince Harry said deals with Netflix and Spotify were "never part of the plan" but after the Royal Family cut him off he had to support his family.

"That was suggested by somebody else by the point where my family literally cut me off financially," he said.

So far, the Netflix deal has yielded the six-episode Harry and Meghan and Live to Lead, a documentary inspired by the life of Nelson Mandela.

Both were produced under the banner of Archewell Productions, the couple’s company.

Two steps forward, one step back

After steep stock drops and lost subscribers, Netflix quietly cut its roster sheet, including Pearl, an animated series that was to be voiced by Meghan, who along with David Furnish, husband of Elton John, will also be among the executive producers.

In spite of this setback, the couple is far from having to eat packaged noodles.

Not only is the tell-all memoir Spare set to be one of the fastest and bestselling books of all time, his deal with publisher Penguin Random House is rumoured to have yielded Harry $20 million.

And although no official figures have been reported, the three-book deal is set to gather even more million-dollar paydays.

In March 2021, Prince Harry was appointed "chief impact officer" for Californian lifestyle coaching company BetterUp, though his compensation, if any, has not been disclosed.

“Look, I'll be honest, I had no idea about BetterUp before I moved to the US,” he said. “The chief impact officer role for me at BetterUp is 100 per cent about driving advocacy and awareness for mental fitness.”

During her acting career, Meghan was reportedly paid $50,000 an episode for her small role on the legal drama Suits, appearing in more than 100 episodes.

She also ran a lifestyle blog and designed items for a Canadian fashion brand.

Harry also said he suspected his mum “saw it coming”, in reference to the backlash he and his future wife would experience.

“I’m just really relieved and happy to be sitting here talking to you with my wife by my side, because I can’t begin to imagine what it must have been like for [Diana] going through this process by herself all those years ago,” Prince Harry said.

“Because it’s been unbelievably tough for the two of us."

So paying the bills is not a concern since being cut off — yet.

It’s not yet known whether Prince Harry was left anything by Queen Elizabeth, whose personal net worth was estimated to be anywhere between $500 million and $600 million, with other assets tied to real estate and stocks worth hundreds of millions.

Montecito real estate - in pictures

Updated: January 12, 2023, 12:11 PM
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