In a January 2020 statement, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced their intention to stop receiving funds from British taxpayers – as the Royal Family do for their duties – and start earning their own income.
It read: ‘The Duke and Duchess of Sussex take great pride in their work and are committed to continuing their charitable endeavours as well as establishing new ones.
‘In addition, they value the ability to earn a professional income, which in the current structure they are prohibited from doing.
‘For this reason they have made the choice to become members of the Royal Family with financial independence.’
At the time, it appeared the couple’s hope was to continue carrying out duties on behalf of The Queen while achieving this goal.
But plenty has changed in just over a year. The duo have been stripped of all remaining royal patronages and are due to speak to Oprah in a CBS special about their new life.
So, are Meghan and Harry finally financially independent? And what does that mean?
The couple are now reportedly financially independent from the Royal Family.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were previously receiving 5% of their income from the Sovereign Grant – which is funded by the taxpayer.
As of their 2020 split with the Royal Family, they no longer receive this official contribution.
In January 2020, they also expressed their intention to pay back the Sovereign Grant for the £2.4 million refurbishment of their UK home, Frogmore Cottage in Windsor.
In September 2020, this intention was fulfilled. An official statement said: ‘A contribution has been made to the Sovereign Grant by The Duke of Sussex.
‘This contribution as originally offered by Prince Harry has fully covered the necessary renovation costs of Frogmore Cottage, a property of Her Majesty The Queen, and will remain the UK residence of The Duke and his family.’
So, they no longer receive any taxpayer money.
When they were working royals, 95% of the funding for Harry and Meghan’s office came from income allocated by Charles, Prince of Wales – generated through his private estate, the Duchy of Cornwall.
Newsweek reported in September 2020 that Prince Charles was no longer funding the couple with the Duchy of Cornwall.
Therefore, it seems the couple have achieved their financial aim, thanks to savvy business deals with Spotify and Netflix.
It is understood the Duke and Duchess of Sussex won’t receive any money for their Oprah With Meghan And Harry special.
An Oprah rep told Page Six: ‘A spokeswoman for the Oprah Winfrey Network confirmed that the couple won’t be collecting a pay cheque and said that no donations are being made to their charity.’
But the couple have taken on a variety of projects since cutting ties with ‘The Firm’.
Most notable is their Archewell Foundation – however this is a not-for-profit, charitable organisation.
Classed as a ‘501(c)(3) organisation’, the IRS (US taxman) website states the organisation is exempt from paying federal income tax as ‘none of its earnings may inure to any private shareholder or individual’.
Normally, non-profit organisations pump any earnings they incur back into the work itself. So, the couple won’t receive any profits from this venture.
However, there are also the Archewell Audio and Archewell Productions umbrellas of the organisation – which appear, based on their website, to be separate entities under the same branding.
Archewell Audio’s Spotify deal was said to be worth £30 million for a multi-year contract.
As for Archewell Productions’ Netflix deal – an exact figure has yet to emerge.
It’s also believed the couple brought personal wealth into their newly-independent lives.
Meghan, who starred in seven series of TV legal drama Suits, was earning – according to Fortune in 2017 – a reported $450,000 (£326,000) a year for her work on the show.
It’s not currently known whether she receives any royalties for reruns and streaming, either.
Currently, the couple are living with son Archie in California, where they have purchased a $14.7 million (£10.6 million) Montecito mansion.
When you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice, you may know that your society is doomed