How will Prince Harry and Meghan Markle make their money now?
The pair are not the only members of the British royal family who are financially independent. So, how does it all work?
After a bumpy few months for the British royal family, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have officially announced they will be taking a step back. While they have pledged to continue to “fully support” the Queen, they will stand down as senior members of the royal family and work to become “financially independent”.
The announcement has left many shocked and slightly confused. So, what exactly does it means to be a financially independent member of the British royal family?
How do the British royal family get their money?
The British royal family receive income in a number of different ways. The Queen, and other members of the House of Windsor, receive support from UK Parliament thanks to the Sovereign Grant. This grant is worked out by HM Treasury based on the income of the Crown Estate, the vast number of properties and land owned by the royal family. Those profits are paid back to HM Treasury, and 15 to 25 per cent is paid back to the royal family in the form of the Sovereign Grant.
The official website for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Sussex Royal, states that in the 2018-2019 fiscal report, the Queen surrendered approximately £329 million (Dh1.5bn) from the Crown Estate to the government. In return, the government granted the sovereign approximately £82 million to cover the costs for official expenditure.
How much of that money goes to Harry and Meghan?
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have confirmed that, from 2019 until now, five per cent of the funding for their official office has been provided by the Sovereign Grant. The other 95 per cent comes from income allocated by Prince Charles derived from the Duchy of Cornwall. The Duchy of Cornwall is a private estate consisting of 53,000 hectares of land across 23 counties, mostly in the South West of England. The Prince of Wales has afforded this privilege to both Prince Harry and Prince William since their offices were established in support of the Queen.
Following the Sussex’s announcement on Wednesday, they will use the rest of 2020 to step back as senior members of the royal family, and will no longer receive any funding from the Sovereign Grant. This will be a phased approach, they have confirmed. Receiving the Sovereign Grant had prohibited Prince Harry and Meghan Markle from earning any private income in any form, but once they become financially independent, they will be free to do so.
Are any other members of the royal family financially independent?
Yes. Princess Beatrice, 31, the eldest daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, and Prince Harry’s cousin, works as the vice president of partnerships and strategy at Washington DC-based data and software company Afiniti. The Queen’s granddaughter is known as Beatrice York in her professional life. Her younger sister, Princess Eugenie, works as a director at Mayfair-based gallery Hauser and Wirth. Both princesses receive no funding from the Queen.
Zara Tindall, the daughter of Princess Anne, has a successful equestrian career, and won a silver medal at the 2012 London Olympics. She is also an ambassador for a number of well-known brands including Rolex and Land Rover.
So, how will Meghan and Harry make their money?
The Sussex Royal website has not revealed any information about where the couple will make their money in the future, but a “new working model” is mentioned in their statement. Let’s not forget, that before Meghan Markle met Prince Harry, she was a successful television actress with a prominent roll on US legal drama Suits, making approximately $450,000 (Dh1.6m) a year. In 2018, Town & Country estimated her personal net worth at around $5 million, thanks to side gigs including her lifestyle website The Tig, designing clothes and Instagram partnerships. Prince Harry also has his own personal wealth. On turning 30, he is said to have inherited $13.3 million from his late mother, Princess Diana.
It also seems that they are moving into television. It was announced in April last year that Prince Harry is teaming up with Oprah to produce an Apple TV+ mental health documentary series. While his financial ties to the project have not been announced, this be a future source of income for the couple.
The Sussex’s have said they “value the ability to earn a professional income” and are committed to “continuing their charitable endeavours”. So watch this space.
Updated: January 9, 2020 12:45 PM