This week, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry declared their independence from the Royal Family, and now it’s all that anyone can talk about.
I like to think they decided to ‘consciously uncouple’ from the Royal Family, a la Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow back in the day.
Piers Morgan pounced on the chance to talk about that time Meghan ghosted him again. He also pointed out that ‘financial independence’ might not mean what we think it does.
The royal couple is probably holding on to their titles, Frogmore Cottage and their extensive security detail, all of which is at the taxpayers’ expense.
Outside of the royal funds, they also plan on making their own money, and the Financial Times thinks they might know how that’s going to happen.
Drawing inspiration from the Obamas, the Clintons and the commercial savvy of Gwyneth Paltrow, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle this week embarked on a fraught attempt to transform their philanthropic royal brand into a lucrative private business.
Fed up with Britain’s voracious tabloids and frustrated by being reliant on others for their means, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex on Wednesday stunned Buckingham Palace by declaring their intent to find “financial independence”.
Princess Diana famously referred to the Royal Family as “the firm”, a term that seems to be back in vogue now that it’s clearly possible to quit the house of Windsor. So what now?
There are few examples to emulate within the royal household. The Duke and Duchess of York’s brushes with business have been blighted by scandal. Prince Edward’s television production business also struggled. Prince Charles enjoys financial independence with the Duchy of Cornwall, but the estate is granted by charter to the heir to the throne.
To find their way the Sussexes are instead looking further afield to the ranks of ex-presidents, prime ministers and Hollywood stars who have turned personal brands — and championing good causes — into formidable income streams.
The Daily Mail reckons the couple could be worth billions. They even created a spreadsheet of their predictions.
So they’re not poor…
Back to The Financial Times:
While on a smaller scale, the pulling power of the Sussexes is likely to be prized by publishers, the television industry and speaking agents. The Duke’s recent deal to make a film series on mental health with Oprah Winfrey and Apple TV is a possible template for other projects.
More controversial will be any moves to extend the Sussex brand to a lifestyle portal that offers a gateway to promoted products or corporate sponsors. One former courtier likened the idea to “a posh, royal version of Goop”, the lifestyle website of the actress Gwyneth Paltrow.
Please, no. The world does not need another Goop.
The groundwork for commercial enterprise has already been laid to some extent. With the announcement of their separate foundation in June, the couple filed trademark applications on “Sussex Royal”. It covered everything from branding “pyjamas, suits, and hooded tops” to “advisory and consultancy services” and “health and wellness training”.
Meghan and Harry are also expected to cash in on Instagram. If they start charging per post, they could break all sorts of records.
As things stand, it’s rumoured that they will spend their time in North America in Los Angeles or Canada (possibly Vancouver Island), or perhaps both.
Of course, nothing is going to happen until after discussions with the Queen.
Once a royal, always a royal.
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