The rift between the royal family and Prince Harry and his wife, former Hollywood actress Meghan Markle, is no secret. According to a just-published book, one bone of contention was Markle complaining about not getting paid for a royal tour.
Markle reportedly earned around $50,000 per episode when she was on the TV series “Suits.” She appeared on the show for six seasons, from 2011-2017. In all, her net worth is about $4 million.
Royal for Hire
According to a new book, “Courtiers: The Hidden Power Behind the Crown” by Valentine Low, Markle complained about not “getting paid” during her first royal tour in the fall of 2018, soon after she and Harry married on May 19, 2018.
“I can’t believe I’m not getting paid for this” the book claims Markle was overheard saying when the couple embarked on their first tour together as Duchess and Duke of Sussex of Australia, Fiji, Tonga, and New Zealand in October 2018.
Markle, who assumed the position of Duchess of Sussex when she wed Prince Harry, “failed to understand the point of all those walkabouts [and] shaking hands with countless strangers,” Low writes. “According to several members of staff, she was heard to say on at least one occasion, ‘I can’t believe I’m not getting paid for this.” Markle, wrote Low, not only wanted to be compensated for her royal duties, she wanted to bring in “her people” instead of using the Buckingham Palace staff, Page Six reported.
Chided over Freebies
Another argument was over Markle accepting freebies. While Hollywood is all about the swag bag, accepting gifts is a no-no for royals and Markle didn’t want to follow this rule, according to Low.
“Clashes centered on the free gifts that some companies would send Meghan. Deliveries were constantly arriving at Kensington Palace. ‘Clothes, jewelry, candles … It was non-stop,” Low’s book cited a royal insider as saying. Markle also reportedly insisted on keeping clothes she received.
The Big Goodbye
By 2020, Markle, 41, and Harry, 38, had stepped back from their formal positions within the royal family and moved from the UK to the U.S., residing in California.
The two stated a desire to “work to become financially independent.” Prince Harry stopped receiving funds via the Duchy of Cornwall, and the couple also announced that they’d paid back the £2.4 million in public money taken from the Sovereign Grant that was used to renovate their Windsor Home, Frogmore Cottage, Newsweek reported.
Moving to the States, Harry and Meghan inked a lucrative Netflix deal, wildly speculated to be worth between $100 million and $240 million, and they landed a podcast deal with Spotify. Also, Oprah and Harry produced a docuseries on mental health for Apple TV+. And, Markle launched her own podcast, Archetypes, in 2022.
The Wealth of the Royals
After Queen Elizabeth II’s death on Sept. 8 at age 96, it was reported that the late monarch was worth $500 million and the Markle was left nothing in her will.
The royal family do have “salaries.” Charles and Camilla, for example, received nearly £22.2 million (about $23.3 million) in income from the Duchy of Cornwall in the 2019-2020 fiscal year, among other payments, Oprah Daily reported. From 2019-2020, the couple “undertook 580 engagements” in the U.K. and abroad.
After public backlash in November 2019, Prince Andrew, Queen Elizabeth’s second-youngest son, announced he would relinquish his annual payment of roughly $300,000 after stepping back from public duties.
Payments to the royal family are through a mix of public and private money; the family’s annual income and expenses were paid through three sources — the public Sovereign Grant, and the private Duchies of Cornwall and Lancaster, Oprah Daily reported.