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Harry and Meghan’s new life away from royal duties

As Harry and Meghan cement their new life in the US, tell-all talk shows, multi-million dollar media deals and some puzzling podcasts have done little to ease the rift with the royal family.

September 5, 2022
By Catherine Wylie
5 September 2022

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex established a new life for themselves after stepping down as senior working royals.

Megxit – when Harry and Meghan stepped down from royal duties and stopped using their HRH styles – made headlines around the world in 2020.

Since then, the couple have bought a multimillion-dollar home in the celebrity enclave of Montecito in California and launched a non-profit foundation called Archewell.

Archetypes podcast
The couple in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace, London, after the announcement of their engagement in 2017. (PA)

They have also signed lucrative deals thought to be worth well over £100 million with Spotify and Netflix, which have given them the cash to pursue their new lifestyle and public goals.

Harry and Meghan – parents to Archie and Lili – have taken part in a number of interviews since their departure from royal life, including a controversial sit-down with Oprah Winfrey in 2021.

They accused the royal family of racism, claiming an unnamed royal made a racist remark about Archie before he was born, and that the institution failed to help a suicidal Meghan.

The Duchess of Cambridge was publicly singled out by Meghan for allegedly making her cry in the run-up to the wedding.

Royal baby
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex with baby Archie. (PA)

Just last week, Meghan’s interview with The Cut hit the headlines as the former actress said it takes “a lot of effort” to forgive and hinted that she can “say anything”.

In the interview, running to more than 6000 words, Meghan said that “just by existing” she and Harry were “upsetting the dynamic of the hierarchy” before they stepped down as working royals.

Whilst in The Hague for the Invictus Games earlier this year, Harry did an interview with NBC’s Today show in which he appeared to issue a veiled warning to those closest to the Queen, saying he wanted to make sure his grandmother was “protected” and had “the right people around her”.

He did not elaborate on whether he was referring to royal aides or members of his family, but his comments are likely to have deepened the rift with his father, the Prince of Wales, and his brother, the Duke of Cambridge, as well as perplexing palace officials.

Royal Jubilee flypast
The Queen is joined by members of the royal family on the Buckingham Palace balcony in 2019. (PA)

Meghan has also been interviewed by US talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, while Harry has been interviewed by James Corden, host of the US talk programme The Late Late Show.

Last year, Harry was hired as a chief impact officer for BetterUp, which sells companies employee coaching and mental health help.

The couple became “impact partners” and investors at sustainable investing firm Ethic, with Meghan describing investing as a “luxury” that “sounds so fancy”.

They were introduced to tech-driven asset manager Ethic by friends, with the duchess saying Harry had been saying for years about how he wanted to invest sustainably.

Harry also joined the Aspen Institute’s new Commission on Information Disorder, joining 14 other commissioners and three co-chairs in conducting a six-month study on the state of US media.

Royal wedding
Harry looks at his bride as she arrives accompanied by the Prince of Wales. (PA)

The institute said his position would be part-time and involve regular meetings.

Meanwhile, Archewell Productions, created by the couple “to produce programming that informs, elevates and inspires”, is working on a documentary series called Heart Of Invictus, set to be released on Netflix.

The show follows people competing at the Invictus Games, with a camera crew seen close to Harry and Meghan during their time at the event in The Hague earlier this year.

Archewell Audio, meanwhile, aims to “produce programming that uplifts and entertains audiences around the world”.

Spotify has so far released two episodes of Meghan’s Archetypes podcast, featuring conversations with veteran tennis player Serena Williams and singer Mariah Carey.

Invictus Games – The Hague
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex attending the Invictus Games in The Hague. (PA)

Meanwhile, the royal family has been bracing itself for Harry’s forthcoming tell-all book, which he has vowed will be an “accurate and wholly truthful” account of his life.

The memoirs are expected to be published in late 2022 by Penguin Random House but a release date has yet to be confirmed.

There will be concern in royal quarters that the duke will delve into his rift with William, his troubled relationship with Charles, his view of stepmother the Duchess of Cornwall and the turbulent fallout of Megxit.

Meghan has already been published through a children’s book called The Bench, which she said she wrote as a poem for Harry on Father’s Day.

Commonwealth Day 2020
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrive at the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey in 2020. (PA)

Harry and Meghan have been back in the UK since Megxit and have made a few public appearances.

Harry travelled to Windsor for the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral in April 2021, and in April this year he and Meghan visited the Queen and met Charles in Windsor before travelling to the Netherlands for the Invictus Games.

Their appearance at the games was the first time the couple had been seen together publicly on this side of the Atlantic for two years.

They travelled to the UK in June for the Platinum Jubilee celebrations but kept out of the limelight for the majority of the weekend, with the Queen deciding only working royals should grace the Buckingham Palace balcony during the historic festivities.

Platinum Jubilee
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex after the National Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral on day two of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations. (PA)

Last month, Harry rode to victory in an annual charity polo tournament in Aspen, Colorado, with commentators praising his “superstar” play in the Sentebale ISPS Handa Polo Cup.

He also visited Rwanda as part of his work as president of African Parks and travelled to Mozambique to highlight wildlife conservation.

The couple’s first major public trip post-Megxit was to New York last September, when they took part in a worldwide event urging leaders to adopt a vaccine equity policy to help end the Covid-19 pandemic.

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