Prince Harry and Meghan’s latest deal with Netflix highlights the big problem with their overpriced lifestyle.
Arranged marriages that have a bad habit of spiraling out of control are almost as royal as cucumber sandwiches and Nazi-sympathetic German relatives.
(When Henry VIII first saw Anne of Cleves, the Flemish princess sent to forge a political alliance, he is known to have said then: “I don’t like her,” and after the wedding he commented: “Now I like her much less.”)
While the monarchy may have abandoned matrimonial plots in the last century in favor of letting pheromones and university mixers do their job for them, mutually beneficial alliances are still an important part of the fabric of royal life.
The most famous marriage, if you will, in recent years has been between Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and Netflix.
In 2020, it was revealed that they had signed a streaming behemoth in exchange for a claimed payout of up to $140 million.
The line the Sussexes have taken ever since was that they were effectively forced into this commercial merger after his family quickly turned off the money faucet after Megxit.
As Harry told Oprah Winfrey during their legendaryly grumpy interview, their deals with Netflix and Spotify “were never part of the plan.”
“We didn’t have a plan. It was suggested by someone else as my family literally cut me off from finances and I had to afford to… ensure our safety.”
Consider a finger indicated in this way.
Attention to the Sussexes’ ties to Netflix is back in the news this week after the entertainment site Page six reports that the Duke duo were secretly filming “a homemade documentary series in the style of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex” for Netflix, something suspiciously like a reality show.
“Hollywood Insiders” Page six reported “buzz about the show”.
At the time, this seemed to be the tragicomic end point of Charles’ stingy frugality: Poor Harry and Meghan were left with little choice but to succumb to Netflix’s stares so they could pay for their retinue of beefy bodyguards.
But with Harry and Meghan looking like they’re going down Continuing with the Sussexes route, it is worth asking the question, was their money situation really so hopeless that their only recourse was to sell themselves to the highest bidder on television? How dire was their financial situation when they left the royal family?
The obvious starting point here is the money that both the Queen Mother and Diana, Princess of Wales left behind for Harry.
Although the exact figure has not been confirmed, Time said his total legacy, assuming it was invested wisely, would be worth about $40.7 million as of early 2021.
Meghan was not lazy in the cash department either, going down in history as the first self-made millionaire to marry a member of the House of Windsor. Her net worth on her wedding day was estimated at around $5.3 million. Time.
So collectively, when the Sussexes landed in Los Angeles in March 2020, they had an estimated $46 million. No small potatoes, I think we can agree.
The other part of this equation is obviously their running costs, the largest of which was their security. (Harry is currently being litigated in the UK over a decision by a specialized unit that looks after the prime minister and the royal family to remove the family’s official protection.)
Estimates for the Duke and Duchess’ entourage of private bodyguards range from $1.4 million to $4.7 million. While hardly cheap, for a $46 million couple who have books and performances always on the cards, it certainly should have been doable.
From which the obvious conclusion follows: they cannot – or do not want – to live within their means.
If there is anything that characterizes the post-royal life of the Sussexes, it is that it is a much more luxurious lifestyle than their former existence.
In 2020, they bought a $20 million home in the very upscale Montecito neighborhood, which sits on five acres and has 16 toilets, a five-car garage, a movie theater, games room, spa, sauna, and wine cellar. (Their old Frogmore Cottage? Comparatively miserable five bedrooms and no Japanese-style teahouse or carp pond in sight.)
Meanwhile, in 2021, according to bean counters in daily mailThe Duchess wore $25,990 worth of new jewelry in addition to her large existing collection this year alone.
Someone behind shouted: “Private jets”? It is too. When they flew to New York for three days in September to waltz around the city to take pictures at very important meetings and back, it was on a private jet.
For the same Big Apple trip, Meghan first wore a $11,957 Loro Piana ensemble to school in Harlem and a $7,696 embellished Valentino gown. Web site UFO is no morewhich closely tracks the wardrobes of various members of the royal family, revealed that the Duchess of Sussex unveiled $111,000 worth of new clothes last year alone.
While the royal family can be extremely wealthy in person, with the queen’s own net worth estimated at around $645 million, such a conspicuous display of wealth is cashmere! Diamonds! Gulfstream! – would be a complete anathema for a titled lot in the UK.
When it comes to the Sussexes’ bank accounts, the problem is that while $46 million may be an unthinkable sum for you and me, for the company that the Sussexes now hold, it’s a trifle. Their neighbor and friend Oprah is worth $4.4 billion, royal wedding guests George and Amal Clooney are worth $340 million, and their Montecito neighbor Katy Perry earned $54.9 million in 2020 alone.
All of a sudden, that $46 million is starting to look a little sparse.
There have been speculations in the past that the Sussexes have sought to model their new life after former President and First Lady Barack and Michelle Obama, which is understandable considering they are now worth $191 million and he spends his days doing nothing more difficult. than a record. podcast with Bruce Springsteen and waxing his wakeboard in the afternoon.
As royal biographer Tina Brown recently told reporters. Washington Post on Meghan: “I think she really looked at someone like Michelle Obama and thought, wow, she has everything. You know, she has a high status, and she has… the ability to live in amazing houses, go to amazing holidays, be a loud voice for [humanitarianism]”.
It’s obvious why this model would be so attractive; where it all falls apart is in the assumption that commercial partners like Netflix, which also has Obama in their books, will want the same high-brow content from the fifth heir to the British throne and his ex-wife, a cable TV star.
None of it was supposed to be this way. They didn’t have to buy such a grandiose (and clunky) mansion; they didn’t have to start wearing $1,830 jumpers from luxury brand The Row; and they didn’t have to hire staff for their charitable arm of the Archewell Foundation, an organization that had done nothing of substance almost two years ago.
In hindsight, one way to look at the position the Sussex Docs are in right now is that when they started out in the US, their eyes were bigger than their bank accounts, so now they’re in a position when they have no choice but to capitulate to the whims and desires of their corporate bosses. (An example of a green-eyed monster?) They needed a monstrous house worthy of Kim or Kendall; now they have no choice but to do what is necessary to pay for it.
I don’t agree with the idea that money is the root of all evil, but it certainly is the root of all reality shows and maybe even the occasional documentary series, whatever it is.
Daniela Elser is a royal expert and writer with over 15 years of experience working with a range of leading Australian media outlets.