Three and a half years after Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stepped down as royals, the couple has been dealing with business drama on top of the heap of other issues they’re constantly negotiating, whether it’s lawsuits against tabloids, that NYC “car chase” and the daily scrutiny from British tabloids amid their royal feud.
People magazine digs into the “serious growing pains” they’re going through establishing their post-royal life brand, Archewell. In June, their deal with Spotify, worth a reported $20 million-plus for the Archetypes with Meghan podcast, was cut short. Then, their $100 million Netflix deal was deemed a “flop” by the Wall Street Journal. While their doc Harry & Meghan was the brand’s “biggest documentary debut,” it capitalized on their royals ties. Ditto his successful memoir, Spare. They’ve been slower to find their footing in projects unrelated to the royal family.
And while there have been bumps in the road as they launched their independent business, a royal insider told the outlet, “there wasn’t necessarily a five-year plan” when they pulled up the stakes and left the U.K. for California. Royal life “wasn’t a world they wanted for their family,” now including Lilibet, 2, and Archie, 4. “Everything else flows from that, for whatever time period it takes.”
When they made the Spotify and Netflix deals, “the drama around them inflated the price … and expectations,” a Hollywood insider told the outlet. A source close to the Archetypes production said they were “on unsteady footing” with Spotify “even before the ink was dry.” While they had “a lot of ideas and did pitch them,” there a lot of red tape between Spotify and the Sussexes, so everything moved “very slowly” on both sides. Another source close to the couple said they’re being held to a higher standard than others as their production company is just getting started.
Don’t write them off, another industry exec told the outlet. “Hollywood loves a comeback,” and their “final chapter” in Hollywood has “absolutely not” been written.
All of this has led to reports that their marriage, just five years young, is on the rocks. People worked to dispel that.
Living in Montecito, Calif., where the family hits up July 4th parades and the local farmers market, is one King Charles’s son is “embracing,” a family insider said. A pal added, “They’re playful and flirty when they’re hanging out.” However, they mostly keep to themselves, camping out at their $14.65 million estate, where they have offices. “They’re not into a big scene. They prefer smaller group hangouts at home, karaoke, that sort of thing,” the friend added. It’s noted that while Harry is out and about more, walking their dogs at the beach, Markle is very social at school pickup.
Meanwhile, Us Weekly has the pair on its cover as well. While a source acknowledges it being “a challenging time,” for the pair with the constant scrutiny straining on their relationship, another insider close to the couple added, “They’re a united front. As far as they’re concerned, it’s Harry and Meghan against the world.”
The insiders said the public scrutiny has been the hardest part, including Spotify exec Bill Simmons calling them “grifters” and United Talent Agency CEO Jeremy Zimmer saying Markle “was not a great audio talent, or necessarily any kind of talent.”
“Harry and Meghan can’t keep track of the negative things people say about them,” the source said. “It’s relentless.” But “they are 100 percent committed to making their marriage work.”
And their business. The insider said, “Harry and Meghan are regrouping” and trying to figure out how to “best expand the entertainment side of things.” While they do it, they’re leaning on each other, as they “always have.”
They are keeping busy while they figure it all out. Harry will go to Africa soon for a Netflix documentary. Then the couple will travel together to Germany for the Invictus Games in September. They’re also apparently considering a move to Malibu, but we’re not sure what would happen to their “Montecito Mafia.”
On Wednesday, they made their first joint engagement in months, releasing a videoof themselves congratulating winners of the Responsible Technology Youth Power Fund grant their Archewell Foundation helped fund.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle feel it’s them ‘against the world’ Prince Harry and Meghan Markle feel it’s them ‘against the world’