What do Netflix, Spotify, an oat milk latte startup, a mental health platform, and a fintech asset manager have in common? They are all part of Prince Harry’s and Meghan Markle’s post-royal business enterprise. Ever since the pair announced they were stepping back from their royal duties in January of 2020, the world has watched them begin to build a business empire.
In a Forbes article “How Much Are Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Worth? Surprisingly Not Much,” Dawn Chmielewski explains that until recently the couple’s net worth was about 10 million dollars. This changed quickly after relinquishing their royal duties. Just six months after leaving the royal family, Harry and Meghan announced their first big business move – founding their own production company and signing a multi-year deal with Netflix. The deal, which is reportedly worth 100 million dollars, involves the creation of content that “informs but also gives hope” according to a statement put out by the couple.
Months later, Meghan invested an undisclosed amount in Clevr Blends, which describes itself as a “woman-led, mission-driven wellness company” that specializes in the sale of lattes. Around the same time, Harry and Meghan announced a multi-year podcast deal with Spotify; their podcast Archewell aired at the beginning of 2021 with a special holiday episode, which featured the likes of Tyler Perry, Naomi Osaka, Elton John, and Stacey Abrams. Sources familiar with the podcast industry reported that the deal likely averaged 15 to 18 million dollars.
More recently, Harry has taken on the role of Chief Impact Officer at BetterUp Inc., a Silicon Valley startup with mental health and startup coaching at its center. He has also since taken on a part-time role at Aspen Institute, a global nonprofit and top think tank in the United States. In addition, Harry and Meghan have entered the sustainable investing space by joining Ethic, a fintech asset manager, as impact partners and investors.
Ultimately, the key leading to each of these business ventures was Harry’s and Meghan’s ability to monetize their personal brand. Leveraging their worldwide fame and recognized good deeds, they have been able to attract varied partners interested in capitalizing on the couple’s far-reaching influence. In the book “Think and Grow Rich,” Napoleon Hill wrote “[i]t should be encouraging to know that practically all the great fortunes began in the form of compensation for personal services, or from the sale of ideas.” This is one of the first references to the importance of personal branding and its accuracy is reflected by the extraordinary success already achieved by the royals.
Harry’s and Meghan’s personal branding goes well beyond their recognizable name and extends to their overall persona both in their personal and business lives. Rather than marketing themselves as “Harry and Meghan” in the vein of “Brangelina,” they instead operate under a group of companies such as Archewell and Cobblestone Lane LLC. According to its recently allowed trademark application, the Archewell name covers products (ranging from magazines, books, CDs, clothing, charitable services, and educational materials to a website directed to nutrition) as well as services (including providing information on emotional support groups and providing online software for accessing digital content). It appears that Archewell will indeed be the primary brand.
After becoming financially independent from the Crown, Harry and Meghan have built a brand as investors, producers, and advocates. We can expect that the pair will continue to leverage their public personas to expand their business empire – which already includes million dollar deals with the likes of Spotify, Netflix, and a variety of niche startups.