Royals

What’s next for Harry and Meghan

The Sussexes won’t be out of pocket for long

The news that one of their major sources of income has been axed has come as a blow for Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.

Meghan’s Archetypes podcast will not be renewed by Spotify for a second season and according to the Wall Street Journal, the fact only 12 episodes and a one-off holiday special were produced means they won’t receive the entire $30 million agreed on with the music streaming giant when they signed a deal in 2020.

However, losing the Spotify deal is not the end of the world for the couple, who are looking at other even more lucrative ways of bringing in cash. And Meghan, 41, is set to be the big money-maker in the family, with talk of a possible multimillion-dollar deal with fashion brand Dior. She’s also tipped to become one of the most successful influencers in the world and her defunct website The Tig could become a big earner if she decides to reboot it.

A US expert in managing reputation crises expects some big deals will be announced soon. “Meghan is a woman who constantly moves forward,” says Eric Schiffer. “This is about building a global brand.”

He says staying clear of dramas in the royal family – and keeping away from events such as the coronation – has been a wise move on Meghan’s part. “This is an opportunity to distance Meghan from the negativity of the past. She will focus on the positive.”

Meghan signed with top talent agency William Morris Endeavour (WME) in April and CEO Ari Emanuel has “thrown all his energy” into finding the best deals for her, says an insider at the agency. Offers of work have been “pouring in”, including the possibility of running her podcast elsewhere. “Meghan is continuing to develop more content for the Archetypes audience on another platform,” says the source.

A spokesperson for Spotify said they and the company that made Meghan’s podcasts had “mutually agreed to part ways”, and were proud of the episodes that had aired. But Spotify executive Bill Simmons was much less gracious, describing Meghan and Harry as “grifters” (American for con artists).

Now fellow streaming giant Netflix, which has been cutting costs and laying off staff, is said to be reviewing the $120 million deal it has with the couple, who made their docuseries Harry & Meghan for the company.

Finding new ways of generating income is crucial for the Sussexes, who vowed to be financially independent when they quit working for the royal family. They have large outgoings, including a security bill of around $4 million a year and, according to US public records, a mortgage of nearly $15 million on their $23 million California home. Plus Harry faces large legal bills as a result of suing several UK

newspaper publishers over stories about him that he says were obtained via illegal methods such as phone hacking.

But Meghan’s potential to earn big bucks will help take some of the pressure off. If the rumours about her being the next brand ambassador for Dior are true, she could match or eclipse the $30-million deal Johnny Depp received as the face of the company’s men’s fragrance Sauvage.

“Meghan could command millions by being a face of Dior and make hundreds of thousands of dollars per post [on social media],” says brand expert Nick Ede. “She could become one of the biggest influencers in the world.”

Meghan adores Dior.

Re-launching her website The Tig could also make financial sense. She started the blog in 2014, at the height of her acting fame, mixing glamorous pictures with information about everything from food and fashion to travel and politics. But she had to pull the plug on it after getting engaged to Harry in 2017, as expressing her thoughts online was seen as incompatible with her royal role.

However, Meghan has renewed her trademark for The Tig and if it is resurrected, it could compete with Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle website Goop, which has 80 employees, makes around $28 million a year and has been valued at $400 million. Payments of up to $400,000 per post to endorse brands are within the realms of possibility for Meghan, and she could even put her name to a range of products, such as skincare.

Ari at WME will have a “strategic and tactical battle plan” in place for Meghan, says Eric Schiffer, which will present the duchess as “a strong, successful woman who built her own career and will focus on serious women’s issues, but also things that are fun and aspirational, like couture fashion”.

He predicts she will continue to distance herself from the royals. Meanwhile, other experts say it’s fortunate the mum-of-two has a plan that doesn’t rely on her connections with her in-laws. Royal writer Richard Eden says she and Harry are “in exile” more than ever, as evidenced by the fact they weren’t asked to attend the King’s first Trooping the Colour ceremony as Monarch.

When they left their royal duties in 2020, palace officials stressed they would still be invited to traditional celebrations, like the Monarch’s birthday. “The fact they haven’t been invited is very significant,” says Richard.

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