The “Harry and Meghan” multipart docuseries, which debuted on Netflix earlier this month, has been one of the most popular streaming series of the latter part of 2022. As of Thursday, the series is #3 on Netflix’s daily Top Ten list. The show also had the biggest debut ever for a Netflix documentary series.
Netflix Paid Big for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
According to Forbes, it was reported in 2020 that Harry and Meghan had reached a five-year, $100 million deal with Netflix, through their production company Archewell Productions. However, that deal was not only for their own docuseries. It’s described as a deal to “produce documentaries, docuseries, feature films, scripted shows, and children’s programming.” The deal came a few months after the Duke and Dutchess announced in the spring of 2020 that they were stepping away from their official royal duties.
It’s not always clear whether the $100 million figure for such a deal was what the participants were paid directly, or whether that includes the budget for the production of the shows.
“Our lives, both independent of each other and as a couple, have allowed us to understand the power of the human spirit: of courage, resilience, and the need for connection,” Harry and Meghan said back in 2020 when the deal was first announced. “Through our work with diverse communities and their environments, to shining a light on people and causes around the world, our focus will be on creating content that informs but also gives hope.”
In addition to the “Harry and Meghan” show, the couple this week announced another series, called “Live to Lead.” It’s about “extraordinary leaders” who share “messages of courage, compassion, humility, hope, and generosity.” According to Yahoo Life, the series is “inspired by the legacy of Nelson Mandela.”
Harry and Meghan will have an on-camera role in the series, which will also feature the likes of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Greta Thunberg, Bryan Stevenson, Jacinda Ardern, Siya Kolisi, Gloria Steinem, and Albie Sachs. That series is set to arrive on Netflix at the end of December.
Earlier this year “Pearl,” an animated series created by Markle that was early in development, was canceled by Netflix, as part of its cutbacks after its announcement that it lost subscribers in the first part of this year.
The couple has also announced a series called “Heart Of Invictus,” which will feature the stories of wounded service members who have competed in the Invictus Games.
“Since the very first Invictus Games back in 2014, we knew that each competitor would contribute in their own exceptional way to a mosaic of resilience, determination, and resolve. This series will give communities around the world a window into the moving and uplifting stories of these competitors on their path to the Netherlands next year,” Prince Harry said of the series.
Not Just Netflix
Around the same time as the Netflix deal, Meghan and Harry announced a deal with Spotify to produce podcasts. The deal produced no content for over a year until Markle’s podcast “Archetypes with Meghan” debuted this summer. Page Six reported earlier this month that the head of audio has departed Archewell and that it’s not certain that a second season will be produced of Markle’s podcast. The head of Archewell also departed recently.
Exact, reliable dollar figures for the couple’s net worth are not known. The couple stepping away from their royal duties cut them off from income they had previously earned from the family directly. They expressed their desire to become “financially independent,” which led to the media deals, which also include Harry’s deal for a memoir, “Spare,” which will be published early next year. Harry did inherent a reported $10 million in 1997 when his mother, Princess Diana, died in a car accident, while Markle earned some money from her previous career as an actress, while Harry earned some from his past military service.
Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.