How much Harry and Meghan have made from royal bombshells

Careers

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have been fast at work unveiling a slew of ventures since they shocked the world by stepping down as working royals three years ago, launching into books—with Harry’s bestselling Spare shattering records—along with movies, television and podcasts that have an estimated value of more than US$135 million.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have made more than US$135 million from their recent ventures. Images: Getty

Key Facts

Harry is rumoured to have received a $20 million advance for his latest venture, controversial tell-all Spare, which debuted earlier this month and sold more than 1.4 million copies on its release day, surpassing the 887,000 first-day copies shifted by former President Barack Obama’s 2020 memoir to become the fastest-selling nonfiction book of all time, according to Guinness World Records.

Still perhaps their most lucrative deal yet, the couple signed a five-year, $100 million contract with Netflix in September 2020 to produce documentaries, docuseries, feature films, scripted shows and children’s programming.

In 2020, the couple splurged on a $14.7 million home in the posh seaside town of Montecito, California, cozying up alongside moguls and celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres and Ariana Grande in a leafy residential area blocked to the public.

In December 2020, the former working royals penned a three-year podcasting deal with Spotify worth between $15 million to $18 million, according to industry sources, but some reports indicate it could be as much as $25 million.

Prince Harry’s bombshell memoir Spare has been making headlines around the world. Image: Getty

Books

In the U.S. alone, Spare sold 629,300 print copies its first week on shelves (falling short of Obama’s record, with 831,300 copies), according to figures compiled by NPD Bookscan, which monitors roughly 85% of the domestic print market. Spare’s publisher, Penguin Random House, said Harry planned to support British charities with donations from the book’s proceeds, including roughly $671,000 to nonprofit WellChild and $1.5 million already given to Sentebale, an organization he cofounded to help children in Southern Africa at risk of HIV.

Markle, too, has dabbled in publishing, though the works have netted much less: In 2021, she released a children’s picture book entitled The Bench that reportedly landed her an advance of up to $618,000 (500,000 British pounds).

The 167-word book, which features an illustration of the couple’s then newborn daughter, Lilibet Diana, landed on the New York Times bestsellers list, but it’s unclear how much it ultimately sold. In 2018, Markle also published a cookbook, and donated all the proceeds to a West London community’s cooking group.

Harry and Meghan have been vocal about their falling out with Prince William and Kate Middleton since their exit from the Royal family. Image: Getty

Tv & Entertainment

So far under their Netflix deal, Harry and Markle have released two docuseries, Live to Lead, which features interviews with world leaders and celebrities including Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Gloria Steinem, as well as Harry & Meghan, the buzzy tell-all that shattered Netflix documentary viewership records upon its release in December, but also garnered waves of criticism, with some reviewers calling the series a “tedious, narcissistic wallow.”

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.

Meanwhile, the couple’s first Spotify podcast, Markle’s Archetypes, briefly surpassed The Joe Rogan Experience as Spotify’s top podcast when it was released in August.

Before stepping down as a working royal, Harry announced in 2019 he would executive produce a mental health series for Apple TV+ alongside Oprah Winfrey. Because of pandemic delays, the show didn’t premiere until May 2021. Nevertheless, it’s unclear if Harry made any profit from the series, given that senior working members of the royal family cannot accept money from commercial projects.

It’s unclear how much money the couple made from their interview with close friend Oprah Winfrey. Image: Getty

Real Estate

Despite its steep $14.7 million price tag, the couple’s Montecito home seems a steal compared to the $25.3 million its former owner, Russian magnate Sergey Grishin, paid in 2009.

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. According to the Santa Barbara assessors’ office, the 14,500-square-foot estate sits on more than 5 acres and comes with seven bedrooms and 13.5 bathrooms.

View of the gate of the Estate where Prince Harry and his wife US actress Meghan Markle have their house, in Montecito, California. Image: Getty

Royal Inheritance

After stepping down as working royals, Harry and Markle largely relied on Harry’s inheritance from his late mother, Princess Diana, estimated at $10 million. Representatives told Forbes in 2021 that Harry was not a beneficiary of any of the $100 million left to the royal family by his great-grandmother, the Queen Mother.

It’s unclear if Harry was left any money from his grandmother the late Queen Elizabeth II, whose will is expected to stay sealed for at least 90 years.

Princess Diana, Princess of Wales with her sons Prince William and Prince Harry attend the Heads of State VE Remembrance Service in Hyde Park on May 7, 1995. Image: Getty

Key Background

Harry and Markle no longer receive money from Harry’s royal relatives. The pair announced in early 2020 they would step down as working members of the royal family, and they no longer receive money from the royal family.

Previously, the vast majority of the couple’s expenses—which Forbes estimated to be about $800,000 annually—were paid for by Harry’s father, now King Charles III, through the Duchy of Cornwall, which last year netted Charles some $27 million. (After Charles became king, the Prince of Wales title and the duchy were passed to Harry’s older brother, Prince William).

As the new monarch after Elizabeth II’s death last year, Charles assumed ownership of institutions that manage an estimated $42 billion in assets on behalf of the kingdom, including famous landmarks such as Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and the Tower of London. However, many of those assets aren’t his to sell, as they’re held “in trust” and must be passed on to his successors.

Upon stepping down, Harry and Markle dropped their HRH titles—short for His and Her Royal Highness—and voluntarily repaid more than $3 million to the Sovereign Grant for renovations at Frogmore Cottage, their family home in the U.K., which had previously been covered by taxpayers.

Before marrying Harry in 2018, Forbes estimated Markle netted an estimated $2 million from her previous career as an actress, most notably as a star in the legal drama Suits for seven seasons.

Harry and Meghan no longer receive any money from King Charles or any member of the royal family. Image: Getty

Surprising Fact

Harry and Markle are responsible for covering costs for their own security detail, which security experts in 2021 told Forbes could reach up to $3 million a year.

A British court ruled in July that Harry can proceed to challenge a British government committee’s decision to rule his family ineligible for police protection during visits to the U.K., even if he and Markle foot the bill.

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. “If you’d seen the stuff that was written and you were receiving it . . . you would feel under threat all of the time,” Basu told Channel 4.

Tangent

Harry and Markle founded their foundation Archewell in 2020. In October, the foundation announced it would distribute $1 million in grants to women who “serve as inspiration to young individuals” in partnership with the VING Project, which is funded by Groupon billionaire Eric Lefkofsky’s family foundation.

Lisette Voytko contributed reporting.

This story was first published on Forbes.com