Prince Harry and Meghan Markle may have taken a financial hit upon moving to the US and leaving their royal lives behind – but the Duke has reportedly scored £16 million for his book, Spare. This adds to the £109 million the Sussexes have already made in media deals with both Spotify and Netflix.
However, their luxurious home in Montecito and the necessity for expensive security means it’s not clear that the lucrative deals will have left them stress-free when it comes to finances. Let’s take a look at just how Harry and Meghan have funded their lifestyle since leaving the royal family in 2020 – and the pair’s biggest expenses.
The most recent media output from the Sussexes and likely the most controversial since Megxit is Prince Harry’s memoir, Spare. According to Forbes, Spare is just the first in a reported four-book deal with Penguin Random House which netted the couple £16 million.
A massive 750,000 copies of Spare have been sold since its publication on January 10, leading the publisher to claim it is the fastest-selling non-fiction book ever.
Harry reportedly paid his ghostwriter, JJ Moehringer, $1 million for the book, which includes details of an alleged fight with William, in which the Prince claims William physically assaulted him, as well as multiple rows between Meghan and Kate. The Prince has also given £1.2 million of his proceeds to charity.
It is not known what future books by the Sussexes will be about – although Prince Harry has told the Telegraph that Spare included just half of what he has to say, with the couple already accused of “blackmailing” the royal family with the potential contents of future biographies.
But Spare is not the only book the Sussexes have put out, with Meghan bringing in a $700,000 advance for the children’s book “The Bench”, which was released in June 2021 to widespread sales but middling reviews.
Harry and Meghan secured a reported £18 million deal with Spotify in 2020, although production has reportedly hit several snags. In January 2022, the Sun claimed Spotify had taken the project “into its own hands” due to a lack of content being produced by the Sussexes.
A “full-scale” launch of shows had been promised in 2021 – but this seemed not to materialise, with reports from unnamed Spotify sources claiming that in-house staff was being brought into the project to make sure it stuck the landing. In 2022, Meghan’s podcast was finally released, titled Archetypes and exploring sexist labels and stereotypes surrounding women.
It is not known if it will return for a second series. Harry is scarcely present throughout Archetypes, although the pair also produced a 35-minute “holiday special” together in December 2020, featuring celebrity friends such as Elton John and James Corden.
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According to various reports, the Sussexes made £88 million for their Netflix deal which includes their six-part docuseries, which was released in December last year and has just reached the title of the streaming giant’s second most successful documentary.
They had already released an earlier docuseries titled Live to Lead, which featured interviews with world leaders and celebrities including Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Gloria Steinem.
An animated kids show, named Pearl, was announced but then scrapped in May before release, but Heart of Invictus, a docuseries following a group of injured service members preparing for the Invictus Games, is slated for release later this year.
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While the pair have undoubtedly taken a lot to the bank with their various media deals, their outgoing funds are also substantial. In 2020, the couple splurged on a $14.7 million home in the secluded seaside town of Montecito, California, seeing them share a neighborhood with the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres and Ariana Grande.
They took out a $10 million mortgage for the home, but it’s unclear based on available records whether the loan has been paid off. Meanwhile, according to Forbes in 2021, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s annual security bill could easily reach $2 to $3 million for around-the-clock protection.
This may seem like a lot, but it’s necessary – the Metropolitan Police’s former head of counterterrorism Neil Basu revealed in November that Meghan was the target of “disgusting and very real” threats from the far right.
He told Channel 4: “If you’d seen the stuff that was written and you were receiving it. . . you would feel under threat all of the time.”