Books, podcasts & TV: Harry and Meghan continue to expand media footprint after royal exit

·Producer
·5 min read

 

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are once again expanding their business and media empire — over one year after exiting the royal family.

Riding the momentum from the couple's blockbuster televised interview, Prince Harry confirmed that he'll be publishing a memoir with Penguin Random House, set for a 2022 release date. 

This week, Page Six reported that Harry is set to make at least $20 million upfront from the deal, although the royal said on Monday that he would be donating all proceeds to charity. 

It's unclear at this time whether or not he will keep the reported multi-million dollar advance, Page Six said. 

Britain's Prince Harry attends a rugby event at Buckingham Palace gardens in London, Britain January 16, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Britain's Prince Harry attends a rugby event at Buckingham Palace gardens in London, Britain January 16, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

"I'm writing this not as the prince I was born but as the man I have become," said Harry in a statement. "I've worn many hats over the years, both literally and figuratively, and my hope is that in telling my story — the highs and lows, the mistakes, the lessons learned — I can help show that no matter where we come from, we have more in common than we think."

Harry reportedly told the Palace about his upcoming memoir, although sources say he wouldn't have needed their permission to publish the piece. 

Meanwhile, Meghan Markle recently published her children's book, "The Bench," through Random House Books for Young Readers last month. 

Yahoo Finance reached out to both Prince Harry and Penguin Random House for comment but has yet to hear back.  

Britain’s Prince Harry gestures next to his wife Meghan as they ride a horse-drawn carriage after their wedding ceremony at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle in Windsor, Britain, May 19, 2018. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Britain’s Prince Harry gestures next to his wife Meghan as they ride a horse-drawn carriage after their wedding ceremony at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle in Windsor, Britain, May 19, 2018. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

The move comes after the couple made several announcements earlier this year, including a new partnership with Procter and Gamble (PG) — the same company a young Meghan Markle called out over sexist ads 28 years ago.

The multi-year, global initiative was publicized through the couple's Archewell Foundation, and is set to “focus on gender equality, more inclusive online spaces, and resilience and impact through sport.” A financial agreement has not yet been disclosed.

In addition, Prince Harry's much-anticipated Apple TV+ (AAPL) series with Oprah Winfrey— titled "The Me You Can't See" — dropped on the streaming platform on May 21.

In the series, Winfrey and Harry, who serve as co-creators and executive producers, lead discussions on mental health with high-profile guests including Lady Gaga, Glenn Close, San Antonio Spurs’ DeMar DeRozan, celebrity chef Rashad Armstead, and more.

The news follows Harry's hiring as the chief impact officer at San Francisco-based mental health startup BetterUp.

At the moment, there are no details on his compensation or employment agreement, although the Wall Street Journal reports he will be joining the company’s leadership team as an “officer of the corporation."

BetterUp, which serves over 300 enterprise businesses including Hilton, NASA, Chevron, Mars, Genentech, Snap Inc., and Warner Media, raised $125 million in its latest funding round — valuing the company at an impressive $1.73 billion.

BetterUp's growth means there's more wealth for Prince Harry to share in, putting him further down the road toward financial independence.

In addition to BetterUp, Harry also took on a six month role as a commissioner for the leading non-profit Aspen Institute's new Commission on Information Disorder. Journalist Katie Couric, Color of Change president Rashad Robinson, and the Former Director of the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Chris Krebs all serve as co-chairs of the agency. It is unclear whether Harry will be paid for the part-time gig.

And then there are the couple's media and investment deals.

In December, the couple signed a 3-year podcast deal with Spotify (SPOT) for an estimated $15 million - $18 million. That same month, Markle invested an undisclosed amount in the powdered oat milk latte startup Clevr Blends — her first public personal investment, according to Fortune

Still, it was their 5-year Netflix (NFLX) deal that's generated the most buzz, with multiple reports saying the deal could be valued at up to $100 million.

Combined with the duo's various speaking appearances, which are reported to go for around $1 million, the couple is poised to build a $1 billion brand as mental health advocates, content creators and venture capitalists.

Financial Impact of Royal Departure

The couple's polarizing departure from the House of Windsor may in fact be fueling interest in the couple's mushrooming business ventures. Yet with the prince relinquishing his royal duties, it's unclear how much — if anything — he'll continue to receive from the royal family.

Before their new spate of deals, the couple's combined net worth stood at $10 million, according to Forbes, with a sizable portion lying in the equity of their nearly $15 million California mansion. For context, Queen Elizabeth II is worth an estimated $500 million.

Prince Harry inherited roughly $10 million from his late mother Princess Diana's estate, with Meghan Markle contributing approximately $2 million (after taxes) from her various works as an actress.

The Sovereign Grant, funded in part by British taxpayers, previously contributed 5% to the couple’s total income. It is currently used to finance and support the official duties of the Queen including travel, security, staff and building upkeep.

The remaining 95% of their income came from the Duchy of Cornwall, a private estate account maintained by Prince Charles. The estate is valued at roughly $1.2 billion, with Prince Charles receiving approximately $28.3 million to distribute amongst his family.

Alexandra is a Producer & Entertainment Correspondent at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alliecanal8193

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