Harry: Trapped within the system, like the rest of my family are. My father and my brother, they are trapped. They don’t get to leave. And I have huge compassion for that.”
Harry: Enjoying the life because there were photographs of me smiling while I was shaking hands and meeting people? Like, I’m sure you guys have covered some of that. That’s . . . that’s a part of the job. That’s a part of the role. That’s what’s expected. No matter who you are in the family, no matter what’s going on in your personal life, no matter what’s just happened, if the bikes roll up and the car rolls up, you’ve got to get dressed, you got to get in there. You wipe your tears away, shake off whatever you’re thinking about and you got to be on your A-game.”
Oprah: Because you didn’t have a plan?
Meghan: We didn’t have a plan.
Harry: We didn’t have a plan. That was suggested by somebody else by the point of where my family literally cut me off financially, and I had to afford . . . afford security for us.
Oprah: Wait. Hold . . . hold up. Wait a minute. Your family cut you off?
Harry: Yeah, in the first half, the first quarter of 2020. But I’ve got what my mum left me, and, without that, we would not have been able to do this.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s explosive interview with the Queen of Media has the Windsors tied in knots. Here’s how it affects their 1,000-year-old business.
The saga of the royal family has also been a mother lode for the British media. In the Oprah interview, Markle spoke of the “invisible contract” with the tabloids, describing a relationship that is at once symbiotic, sycophantic and sinister. It’s also been great for newsstand sales and TV ratings. Three years ago, Brand Finance, a U.K.-based brand valuation firm, estimated The Firm’s contributions to the media industry at nearly $70 million. That number seems small after Harry and Meghan’s interview was broadcast in more than 60 countries. And even the prince acknowledged that they have watched the acclaimed Netflix series The Crown.
Who gets to be part of The Firm and reap the benefits has become a point of great contention over the years. Following Harry and Meghan’s departure from official duties, the number of full-time senior royals has been winnowed down to eight. Aiding Her Majesty as members of The Firm are an elite group of seven royals: Prince Charles, who is next in line for the crown, and his wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall; Prince William, second in line to the throne, and Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge; Princess Anne, the Queen’s daughter; and Prince Edward, the Queen’s youngest son, and his wife, Sophie, Countess of Wessex. According to historian and royal commentator Carolyn Harris, the move to narrow the inner circle is as much about consolidating resources as it is about maintaining reputational control.
“These efforts to streamline are clearly trying to counter public opinion concerned about the Sovereign Grant going to too many people and there being too much funding for minor royals,” Harris says.
The organizational chart of The Firm is a testament to the 1,000-year-old family business, and the public perception that sustains it is vital to its success. “It is a very formalized influencer business,” explains David Haigh, chief executive of Brand Finance. Unlike a celebrity family such as the Kardashians, however, the Windsors don’t personally profit from the business itself—although they contributed an estimated $2.7 billion annually to the U.K. economy prepandemic. The impact the royal family has on the U.K. economy is mostly through tourism, but Haigh notes there are other financial benefits, such as free media coverage of Britain (which was an estimated $400 million in 2017). There are also many valuable royal warrants granted by the monarch—essentially a stamp of approval on high-end consumer products like Barbour jackets and Johnnie Walker whisky. Haigh estimates that a royal warrant can boost the holder’s revenue by as much as 10%. The economic advantages for companies and institutions in the royal family’s orbit far exceed the $550 million cost associated with the family’s massive operating expenses, according to Haigh.
Not everybody wants to be a part of the monarchy machine, however. The enormous pressures that come with the job have driven members out of the family, including, of course, Princess Diana and now Harry and Meghan. It has not always ended well for those who leave—or are pushed out—but armed with powerful celebrity friends in America and several Hollywood deals, Harry and Meghan may find themselves far better off financially (and emotionally) than those, in the words of Prince Harry, who remain “trapped.”
Since she inherited the throne from her father in 1952, Queen Elizabeth has chaired The Firm—even if she doesn’t have the final say over how the business is managed. Prince Philip, the 99-year-old patriarch of the Windsor family, was once a powerful member of The Firm, but he has formally stepped back from his official duties. In addition to losing Prince Harry, the Firm ousted another senior member in the past year, after Prince Andrew’s close relationship to late pedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein was exposed—and he had a disastrous television interview of his own in 2019.
Beyond the extended family, the House of Windsor has thousands of employees around the world. Buckingham Palace alone employs some 1,200 people—even if they aren’t always paid a Queen’s ransom to work there. An entry-level IT specialist can make upwards of $40,000 a year, as well as benefits, at Buckingham Palace, according to a recent job listing on an official palace portal. The Crown Estate, the institution that oversees the assets of the monarchy, also employs an additional 450 people, including a board of directors that make the financial decisions for the monarchy.
Being a member of The Firm also comes with high expectations for keeping the moneymaking machine running for generations to come. The crown holds, but cannot sell, nearly $28 billion in assets through the Crown Estate ($19.5 billion), Buckingham Palace (est. $4.9 billion), the Duchy of Cornwall ($1.3 billion), the Duchy of Lancaster ($748 million), Kensington Palace (est. $630 million) and the Crown Estate Scotland ($592 million). Forbes also estimates that Queen Elizabeth has another $500 million in personal assets.
In the fiscal year ending March 31, 2020, the Crown Estate pulled in more than $700 million, with more than $475 million in profits. The royal family receives 25% of the Crown Estate income, which is also known as the Sovereign Grant, and the remaining 75% goes to the British Treasury. The latest Sovereign Grant received by the royals was roughly $120 million, which the family uses solely for official expenses, which include payroll, security, travel, housekeeping, maintenance costs and IT expenses. The private expenses of the Queen, and her extended family, are also supported by another allowance through the Duchy of Lancaster called the Privy Purse. In the latest fiscal year, the Duchy of Lancaster reported a net profit of $30 million.
As with any business, the pandemic has taken a toll on royal revenue. In September, the Keeper of the Privy Purse acknowledged that the royal balance sheet faced a potential $45 million shortfall, mostly due to a major drop in tourism and visits to royal landmarks in the U.K. because of lockdowns. He also added that the royals wouldn’t be asking for extra funding from the Treasury. Not that the Queen needs to fill her coffers. Her Majesty’s $500 million in personal assets is thanks to her investments, art, jewels and real estate, including two castles: Sandringham House and Balmoral Castle. The bulk of that will pass down to Prince Charles when he finally ascends the throne. And like his mother, he won’t directly own most of that $28 billion, which includes the Queen’s personal wealth, the assets under the Crown Estate, its holdings in Scotland, the Duchy of Lancaster, the Duchy of Cornwall and two palaces: Buckingham and Kensington.
Now 72, Prince Charles has the second-biggest operation within the royal family. As the Duke of Cornwall, Charles gets an income from the Duchy of Cornwall in addition to what he already receives from the Sovereign Grant. The Duchy was founded in the 14th century by Edward III to keep his first-born son occupied (and flush) while waiting to become king. Nowadays, the Duchy has a staff of 150 managing a portfolio of more than 130,000 acres of property across southwest England worth nearly $1.3 billion.
As with the Crown Estate, Prince Charles cannot sell the assets belonging to the Duchy, but he can earn money from them. By renting out property to retailers, farmers and residents, the Duchy brought in more than $50 million in revenue last year, $30 million of which went to the Prince of Wales and his descendants to support their respective staffs and operations. Even without the crown, the Duchy of Cornwall is far more lucrative for Charles than the Sovereign Grant, which paid him less than $2.5 million last year. Of that, $7.3 million funded the Prince’s 132 personal staffers, $6.75 million went to taxes and $4.4 million was dedicated to charitable activities, including the Prince’s Trust, Charles’ charity to help unemployed youth.
A good portion of this income has also been used to support his sons. Prince William and Prince Harry received a combined $7.8 million last year to support their own operations, but as Harry suggested in the Oprah interview, that is no longer the case for him. In the same interview, Meghan also suggested that part of what fueled the couple’s departure was the family’s intention to deny their son, Archie, from assuming the title of prince, along with the financial support from being a working royal. This, royal historian Harris says, is the manifestation of Charles’ particular focus on limiting the number of senior members—and consolidating the resources—of the family. Even if the decision to shut out Archie was strictly business, Harris notes that “the optics of that are not good, as that could be interpreted as excluding a mixed-race member of the royal family.”
“The worst possible accusation in their speech to Oprah was that the royal family is racist,” Brand Finance’s Haigh says. “That would damage the economic effect [of royals].” In her first statement after the Sunday interview, the Queen addressed the matter in an effort to mitigate the gallons of negative press ink spilled covering the scandal. “The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning,” Her Majesty said in her official announcement. “Whilst some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately. Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved family members.”
The first son of Prince Charles and third in line to the throne, Prince William, does not have a direct source of income through his father’s Duchy—but he and his wife, Kate, certainly have the power to boost the sales of brands without the royal warrant, which, according to Brand Finance, added more than $165 million to the U.K. economy annually in 2017. Kate’s halo effect has often increased the sales of brands she is seen wearing or even those that emulated her style. In 2015, G.H. Hurt & Sons, which made Princess Charlotte’s baby shawl, recorded 100,000 visits after photos of the newborn appeared in the British press.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge don’t receive any money from their influence, however. Now 38, William receives an annual income from the Duchy of Cornwall to cover his family’s private expenses. In the fiscal year ending March 2020, the prince received a portion of nearly $8 million, which he had to share with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle before they announced they were stepping away from their royal duties. Yet the Duke of Cambridge is not fully dependent on the income from the Duchy—neither is Harry. Part of the estate of their late mother, Princess Diana, went to the princes on their 25th birthdays. Thanks to what he inherited from Diana—which Forbes estimated to be $10 million—Harry and his family were able to settle down in California, he told Oprah on Sunday, after his family “literally cut [him] off financially.”
Going Out Of Business
Being cut off from the British royal family is hardly a financial death sentence. Now settled down in a $14.7 million Santa Barbara mansion in California, Harry and Meghan have several sweet deals to sustain them over the next few decades. The income will be necessary to fund round-the-clock security, which could cost as much as $4 million per year.
They also have multiple revenue streams. In December, the couple released their first podcast with Spotify, called Archewell Audio. That same month, the couple signed a three-year podcasting deal with the music giant that could be worth from as much as $15 million to $18 million, Forbes reported in February. This is in addition to the Apple TV+ series on mental health that Harry will executive produce with Winfrey for an undisclosed sum and a $100 million, five-year Netflix deal the royal couple signed in September. They are expected to produce documentaries, docuseries, feature films, scripted shows and children’s programming for the streaming service, and also rake in nearly four times the allowance they received from the Duchy of Cornwall.
Choosing Winfrey to conduct their first post-royal interview was as good for their future endeavors as it was for television. When Meghan opened up about her struggles with suicidal thoughts during her time at Frogmore Cottage and not having access to mental health support, Oprah mentioned her partnership with Harry. “No one should have to go through that,” she said instantly. “You know Harry and I are working on this mental health series for Apple, so we hear a lot of these stories.”
Free from the constraints of The Firm, Harry and Meghan will not likely struggle financially as his great uncle, King Edward VIII, did when he gave up the crown to marry an American divorcée, Wallis Simpson, in the 1930s. As Brand Finance’s Haigh notes, if they expand beyond their Netflix and Spotify deals and delve into jewelry and apparel, “Harry and Meghan could become a $1 billion brand.”
END OF THE ARTICLE
CHARLES, PRINCE OF WALES
DIANA, PRINCESS OF WALES
PRINCE WILLIAM, DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE
PRINCE HARRY, DUKE OF SUSSEX
”At St James’s Palace, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales, her sons, and her brother joined to walk behind”
FUNERAL OF DIANA, PRINCESS OF WALES/FUNERAL
FUNERAL OF PRINCESS DIANA, PRINCESS OF WALES
“It was all happening just because I was breathing,” Meghan said, breaking down in tears during the interview, which was broadcast on ITV on Monday night. “I just didn’t want to be alive any more. That was a clear, real, frightening and constant thought.”
”Morgan questioned on Monday’s edition of GMB whether she was telling the truth. “Who did you go to?” he said. “What did they say to you? I’m sorry, I don’t believe a word she said, Meghan Markle. I wouldn’t believe it if she read me a weather report.”
PIERS MORGAN LEAVES GOOD MORNING BRITAIN
AFTER MEGHAN ROW
Decision to quit follows Ofcom launching investigation after receiving more than 40,000 complaints
Piers Morgan has quit as co-host of ITV’s breakfast show Good Morning Britain after critical remarks he made about the Duchess of Sussex’s mental health prompted an on-air row with a colleague and an Ofcom investigation.
Pressure had mounted on Morgan since he made the comments on Monday’s edition of the show, which followed the airing of Meghan and Prince Harry’s tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey in the US on Sunday night.
The Guardian understands that a formal complaint was lodged with ITV on behalf of the duchess after the broadcast.
By early evening on Tuesday, Ofcom had received more than 41,000 complaints about Morgan’s behaviour, prompting the broadcasting regulator to launch an investigation into whether his comments broke the UK broadcasting code relating to harm and offence.
Just a couple of hours later, ITV released a statement saying: “Following discussions with ITV, Piers Morgan has decided now is the time to leave Good Morning Britain. ITV has accepted this decision and has nothing further to add.”
In Winfrey’s interview, Meghan detailed how her mental health had deteriorated while she was pregnant amid a barrage of negative press and lack of support from “the firm” – the apparatus surrounding the royal household – which had repeatedly turned down her appeals for help and discouraged her from leaving the house for months.
“It was all happening just because I was breathing,” Meghan said, breaking down in tears during the interview, which was broadcast on ITV on Monday night. “I just didn’t want to be alive any more. That was a clear, real, frightening and constant thought.”’
She told Winfrey she had asked to go somewhere to get help with these suicidal thoughts, but was told it would not look good by one of the most senior people in the institution of the monarchy.
Morgan questioned on Monday’s edition of GMB whether she was telling the truth. “Who did you go to?” he said. “What did they say to you? I’m sorry, I don’t believe a word she said, Meghan Markle. I wouldn’t believe it if she read me a weather report.”
The remarks provoked a backlash, and it is understood that ITV executives wanted Morgan to apologise for them on-air. During Tuesday’s programme Morgan said: “When we talked about this yesterday, I said as an all-encompassing thing I don’t believe what Meghan Markle is saying generally in this interview, and I still have serious concerns about the veracity of a lot of what she said.
“But let me just state on the record my position about mental illness and on suicide. These are clearly extremely serious things that should be taken extremely seriously, and if someone is feeling that way they should get the treatment and help they need every time.”
On the same show, Morgan stormed off set after a discussion about Meghan with his colleague Alex Beresford. The weather presenter defended the couple, telling Morgan: “I understand you’ve got a personal relationship with Meghan Markle, or had one, and she cut you off. She’s entitled to cut you off if she wants to. Has she said anything about you since she cut you off? I don’t think she has but yet you continue to trash her.
As Beresford continued, Morgan got up and stormed out of the studio, saying: “OK, I’m done with this, sorry, no, can’t do this.” Beresford called his behaviour “pathetic” and “diabolical”, while co-host, Susanna Reid, was forced to send the show to an early break.
Beresford later tweeted of the discussion, in which he had also shared some of his own experiences of racism: “I wish I had the privilege to sit on the fence. In order for me to do that I would have to strip myself of my identity and that’s not something I can do. It’s not any of our places to pick apart claims of racism in order to make us to feel more comfortable.”
ITV’s chief executive, Dame Carolyn McCall, subsequently said the row was not “manufactured”.
McCall added that ITV’s managing director of media and entertainment, Kevin Lygo, had been in discussion with Morgan in recent days regarding his coverage of the Harry and Meghan interview. She said Good Morning Britain was a balanced show, adding: “ITV has many voices and we try and represent many voices every day. It’s not about one opinion.”
Among those reacting to Morgan’s exit from GMB, where he has been co-host since 2015, was Lorraine Kelly, who presents the 9am show on ITV that follows it. She told the BBC’s The One Show that Morgan had only just emailed her to break the news and said she had “no real details”.
“It’s certainly going to be quieter,” she said. “We all wish him well … Like I say, it will be calmer.”
Piers Morgan tweeted late on Tuesday: “Thinking of my late, great manager John Ferriter tonight. He’d have told me to do exactly the same thing. @GMB #TrustYourGut”
END OF THE ARTICLE
”Just a couple of hours later, ITV released a statement saying: “Following discussions with ITV, Piers Morgan has decided now is the time to leave Good Morning Britain. ITV has accepted this decision and has nothing further to add.”
PIERS MORGAN LEAVES GOOD MORNING BRITAIN
AFTER MEGHAN ROW
END OF THE GUARDIAN ARTICLE
Piers Morgan first met Meghan Markle at a bar in Kensington in 2016.
At the time, the US actress was starring in legal drama Suits. She met Morgan while on a spring visit to the UK, as part of a trip that also included watching Wimbledon matches with her friend Serena Williams.
“We spent two hours in a pub, she had a couple of dirty martinis, I had a couple of pints, we got on brilliantly,” Morgan told Ryan Tubridy on RTÉ’s The Late Late Show.
“And then I put her in a cab, and it turned out to be a cab which took her to a party where she met Prince Harry. And the next night they had a solo dinner together, and that was the last I heard from Meghan Markle.
“She ghosted me, Ryan,” Morgan concluded. “Meghan Markle ghosted me.”
She might have gone quiet on Morgan, but it certainly wasn’t the last he and the rest of the world heard of Meghan.
Five years after those dirty martinis, she is the Duchess of Sussex, and her recent interview with Oprah Winfrey prompted so much anger from Morgan that it ultimately led to his exit from Good Morning Britain.
His departure has prompted a huge reaction from viewers and commentators, both positive and negative. But beyond those declaring their love or hatred for him, many have pointed out the far-reaching consequences of his exit.
It may be a symbolic and important gesture by a broadcaster concerned not to contradict its own message about mental health. But it will also mean the show loses its Rottweiler, who was widely praised for holding government ministers to account during the pandemic.
His absence will also almost certainly harm viewing figures. ITV shares fell nearly 5% on Wednesday, wiping almost £200m off its market value, following the announcement of Morgan’s departure.
At the point Morgan entered the world of breakfast television, ITV had been suffering poor viewing figures for several years. GMTV had been rebranded as Daybreak in 2010, but that was failing to match the ratings of its predecessor.
In 2014, ITV decided it was time for another change. Daybreak was scrapped, Good Morning Britain was launched, and Susanna Reid was poached from BBC Breakfast.
Morgan’s arrival the following year was disruptive, to put it mildly. He was combative and opinionated, a far cry from the usual warm, cuddly tone of breakfast television, and closer to the style of some morning programmes in the US.
Scepticism of woke culture was at the core of Morgan’s appeal, to the point where he wrote a book on the subject in 2020. While the rest of society grappled with issues of social progress, Morgan’s refusal to toe the politically correct line led to both backlash and praise.
His impact could be measured in a number of ways. First, there were the viewing figures, which increased dramatically. While BBC Breakfast held on to its crown, GMB improved its viewing share as people tuned in to hear Morgan’s take on the day’s events. As a result, ITV made more money from advertising.
You could also look at the column inches. The more outrageous Piers was, the more people would talk about him. The more news outlets wrote stories about him, the more clicks and ad revenue they got. By complaining so vocally, his critics were keeping him relevant, completing the cycle.
Those complaints from viewers and campaign groups were made both to Ofcom and ITV.
In 2019, an item about gender identity in which Morgan claimed he now “identifies as a penguin” prompted 1,000 complaints to the media regulator and outcry from charities and viewers. It sparked a petition, signed by more than 90,000 people, calling for his sacking. Proving his divisiveness, a counter petition was set up to keep him, and was signed by 72,000.
When a TV producer said on Twitter earlier this year that he would not work with Morgan again, the presenter responded by saying he would “rather employ a lobotomised Aardvark”. That led to an open letter to ITV accusing Morgan of bullying, signed by more than 1,000 industry workers.
And yet, Morgan has always considered himself to have liberal views. His CNN programme in the US was famous for his campaigning on gun control. And he claims “not to have a prejudiced bone in his body”, much to the incredulity of his opponents.
“The woke crowd loathe me, because the informed ones know I’m actually a liberal,” he wrote in his book, Wake Up, last year. “So on paper, I’m one of them. I’m therefore the enemy within.”
Morgan added that he considers himself a feminist and a supporter of gay rights, civil rights and transgender rights – “apart from the absurd new trend of limitless self-identification”.
But the damage his words have inflicted also cannot be ignored, such as his apparent dismissal of mental health issues. This is what ultimately led to his downfall after the Duchess of Sussex said she felt she “didn’t want to be alive any more”.
Morgan said he “didn’t believe a word” the duchess had said in the interview. He later attempted to clarify his comments, saying his disbelief referred specifically to her claim that her request for support was rejected by Buckingham Palace. But by then, the damage was done.
Welsh Health Minister Vaughan Gething spoke for many when he described Morgan’s comments as “wholly unacceptable, incredibly unkind and exactly where we should not be in public debate and discourse”.
“We’ve won lots of ground by talking and being more open about mental health challenges,” he said. “I think the comments and the tone of them would have set a number of people back.”
Morgan was also accused of missing the mark on the issues of racism raised by Meghan. He has always maintained the press’s coverage of her is motivated by her behaviour, not underlying racism.
“I’m sorry Piers, you don’t get to call out what is and isn’t racism against black people,” Trisha Goddard told him on Monday’s programme. “I’ll leave you to call out all the other stuff you want, but leave the racism stuff to us, eh?”
However, Morgan had also won over some of his previous critics in the past year, for his challenging interviews with government ministers. The absence of these exchanges will be a big loss to the show, as Kevin Maguire and Krishnan Guru-Murthy have pointed out.
Hiring a shock jock was always going to result in controversy. But could ITV have done more to rein him in?
Channel 4 historian and media commentator Maggie Brown said: “Piers Morgan needed a stronger editor or producer to just keep him in check while allowing him to be bombastic, mainstream and successful. Himself. This is a common pattern for much appreciated TV stars who go on to overstep the mark.”
And what might Morgan do next? Losing jobs has never stopped his career progression in the past.
After his exit from GMB, former politician George Galloway tweeted: “Dear Piers Morgan. You told me once ‘a sacking is an opportunity’. It turned out that way for me and I hope it will for you. In fact I’m sure it will.”
Morgan will not come cheap, but many would be keen to hire him all the same, particularly the soon-to-be-launched GB News. The channel’s chairman Andrew Neil said on Wednesday that he would be open to giving Morgan a job.
It is perhaps fitting that Morgan’s last ever appearance as a GMB presenter saw him finally get his six-year long wish.
“Good Morning Britain beat BBC Breakfast in the ratings yesterday for the first time,” Morgan pointed out when he received the viewing figures for Tuesday’s episode.
“My work is done.”
END OF THE ARTICLE
”Five years after those dirty martinis, she is the Duchess of Sussex, and her recent interview with Oprah Winfrey prompted so much anger from Morgan that it ultimately led to his exit from Good Morning Britain.”