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Harry and Meghan’s Netflix documentary exposes media empire’s burden

When Prince Harry and Meghan stepped back from their royal duties in 2020, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were soon faced with an urgent question: how to make a living.

Although they are well-off by normal standards, last year Forbes estimated their net worth at $10 million, which includes the remnants of an inheritance from Harry’s mother, Princess Diana, and the pair’s equity in their California mansion. They were also financially cut off from the British Crown’s assets of an estimated $34 billion.

The answer, ironically, was to capitalize on the public fascination with the glamorous couple who dared to escape the royal family’s gilded cage, as well as media scrutiny of their official roles. And despite the mixed critical response to his new Netflix documentary series, “Harry and Meghan,“What is certain is that the enterprise has made them very rich.

Here’s what is known about the royal family’s wealth and sources of income.

harry’s legacy

Prince Harry told Oprah last year that the couple had “no plans” when they moved to California in 2020 and were relying solely on an inheritance from Princess Diana, who died in a car crash in 1997.

Harry told Oprah, “I owe my mother everything, and we wouldn’t be able to do this without her.”

According to the Independent, Diana left an estate worth around £13 million to be divided by her two sons, which grew to £20 million by the time they could legally access it at the age of 30. This means Harry’s share was around £10 million, or $12.2 million at current exchange rates.

That money was partially offset by the $3 million they paid to cover renovations carried out on the couple’s UK residences – costs that were initially covered by British taxpayers.

According to TMZ, Harry and Meghan have about $5 million in equity on their mansion in Montecito, California, which has a mortgage of about $10 million, though they are reportedly looking to move.

Meghan’s performance

Prior to the couple’s marriage, Meghan was an actor, then known as Meghan Markle, and ran a lifestyle blog. The bulk of his income came from his performance in the USA Network drama series “Suits”, for which he was paid $50,000 per episode.

According to the Independent, she entered the marriage with a net worth of approximately $5 million.

netflix deal

Following their break with the royal family, Harry and Meghan set up Archewell Productions, an arm of their non-profit organisation, with the stated goal of creating “programming that informs, elevates and inspires”. According to Deadline and Us Weekly, the company signed a multi-year production deal with Netflix worth between $100 million and $150 million.

The first three episodes of his debut documentary series – an intimate look at his personal life – were released this week,

Under the multi-year deal with Netflix, the couple will produce documentaries, scripted shows, feature films and children’s programming, though they have said reality shows are on the way out, according to Town & Country. A series in development follows participants in the Invictus Games, a charity founded by Harry that provides athletic programs to wounded military veterans, CNN reported last year.

But the planned animated series created by Meghan, known by its working title “Pearl”, was one of many canceled programs as a result of cuts by the streaming service this year.


Harry and Meghan Detail Life in the British Royal Family in New Netflix Documentary

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a memoir with penguins

Harry’s memoir, “Spare”, dubbed “an object of obsessive anticipation” by the Associated Press, is set to be released next month by Penguin Random House. According to the publisher, the book will deliver “raw, unflinching honesty” as well as “insight, revelation, self-examination, and hard-won wisdom about love’s eternal power over grief.”

As Page Six reports, Harry received a $20 million advance last year when he sold the book. The deal includes three other books by the couple, reports Vanity Fair. The publisher has also agreed to make two charitable donations totaling $1.6 million as part of the deal, reports the BBC.

Meghan also published a children’s book, The Bench, last year. It is unknown how much she was paid for this, but a branding expert told the Daily Mail that the advance could be as high as $600,000.

spotify podcast

Through Archwell Audio, Meghan and Harry also produce podcasts for the streaming service Spotify as part of a three-year deal. Meghan’s first podcast with the company, a series called “Archetypes,” features guests such as Judd Apatow, Amanda Gorman, Mindy Kaling, Issa Rae and Serena Williams. This week the series won a People’s Choice Award for Podcasting.

Forbes and the New York Post estimated the deal at between $15 million and $25 million, respectively—a vast difference from what most creators earn on the platform, which is often a fraction of a penny per stream.

The couple also has a number of other creative endeavors whose financial value is unknown. Before Harry left the royal family, he had inked a deal with Oprah to executive produce an Apple TV series on mental health. Harry and Meghan have also signed with speaking agency Harry Walker, whose roster of A-listers includes the Clintons, Obamas and Oprah.

To be sure, the young couple and their two children are likely to have substantial expenses, not the least of which include security services. Given this reality, and the uncertain value of some recent mega-deals, estimates of his net worth vary widely – from less than $10 million according to Forbes, to $60 million according to Hello and Women’s Health magazine.

But with a budding media empire taking shape, it is likely that number will grow exponentially in the coming years.

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