As newly liberated royals, Britain’s Prince Harry and his wife Meghan have the world at their feet with the potential to make money in areas ranging from fashion and speaking engagements to forming their own production company.
But the couple, formally known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, should move wisely to make themselves financially independent in a world where social media influencers like Kim Kardashian reign and where their visibility will be magnified rather than reduced, branding experts and Hollywood observers say.
“I definitely think Harry and Meghan will pursue brand projects that have a philanthropic bent. You know, that was really the core of their work with the royal family, was charities that supported, you know, young women and conservation efforts and all that sort of thing. So, I see them definitely continuing on that philanthropic path in their new life. And they will have the opportunity to partner with brands who, you know, maybe already have a strong philanthropic bent on what they do and already have strong charitable efforts. So, it’ll really be a natural fit for them to partner with brands like that that have, of course, deep pockets to then sponsor, you know, more charitable giving and also write them a paycheck,” said Adweek deputy editor, Diana Pearl.
Harry and Meghan shocked Queen Elizabeth when they announced they wanted to lead a more independent life, and finance it themselves.
Meghan’s background as an actress on the U.S. television show “Suits” immediately prompted speculation she could return to acting. But the range of options open to them is far wider. It could include establishing an independent production company to make television shows, documentaries, podcasts or movies along the lines of the Higher Ground company formed by ex-President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle.
Harry already has teamed up with Oprah Winfrey to produce a forthcoming documentary focusing on mental health for Apple’s new streaming service. Apple declined to respond to queries about further collaborations with the prince.
The booming public speaking circuit in North America could prove to be a lucrative source of income.
Meghan has considerable clout in the fashion world. Global fashion search platform Lyst in November named her the world’s most powerful dresser of 2019 and last year she launched a clothing collection in Britain to benefit an organization that helps underprivileged women secure employment. Brands are known to benefit greatly by Markle wearing their products.
“We definitely experienced them Megan Markle effect. The first one was in 2017 when she wore the wide collar camel wrap coat during her first royal event with the Queen for Christmas Day. So, you know, right away that coat was sold out. It went on back order four times after that. And we’ve just seen a demand for the brands not just in that style but in every style that we offer all over the world. It was incredible,” said president and creative director of outerwear brand Sentaler, Bojana Sentaler,
The “half-royal” duo will also face stiff competition from established celebrities and YouTubers, who can earn hundreds of thousands of dollars from a single endorsement on social media.
“I think it’s safe to say that Meghan is the royal more than any other who knows the power of social media. You know, before she met Prince Harry, she had a very active Instagram page of her own. She had a blog, you know, she really use the Internet as a way to connect with her fans. I have to imagine now that she can have maybe a bit more of a personal relationship with fans of her and Harry on social media, that she and Harry will lean into it even more,” said Pearl.
Building a social media following means being candid, fearless and transparent.
(Production: Hussein Al Waaile, Alicia Powell)