Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have announced they have signed a deal with Netflix.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who are currently living in their $14 million mansion in Santa Barbara having officially stepped back from royal duty in March, are set to embark on their new Hollywood careers.
The couple have founded a yet-to-be-named production company and signed a multiyear deal with Netflix, which will pay them to make documentaries, docu-series, feature films, scripted shows and children’s programming, according to The New York Times.
In a statement, they commented: ‘Our focus will be on creating content that informs but also gives hope. As new parents, making inspirational family programming is also important to us.’
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have announced they have signed deal with Netflix. Pictured, in a video supplied on Monday July 6, 2020 by The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have announced they have signed deal with Netflix. Pictured, in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace, London, after the announcement of their engagement on 27 November 2017
They added that Netflix’s ‘unprecedented reach will help us share impactful content that unlocks action.’
Their content will be exclusive to Netflix, which has 193 million subscribers worldwide.
While Harry and Meghan may appear on camera in documentary programming, the former Suits actress has previously made it clear that she has no plans to return to acting.
Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer and co-chief exec, added: ‘We’re incredibly proud they have chosen Netflix as their creative home and are excited about telling stories with them that can help build resilience and increase understanding for audiences everywhere.’
Rumors of Harry and Meghan seeking to gain a foothold in Hollywood have run rampant ever since the couple announced their plans to quit as senior royals, seek financial independence and move to North America in January.
Meghan’s first post-Megxit job in showbiz was as a narrator of the Disney Plus docuseries Elephants, which came out in April.
The 39-year-old Los Angeles native nabbed the job after Harry bragged about her voice-over skills to Disney chairman Bob Iger at the London premiere of The Lion King live-action remake last summer.
Prince Harry and the Duchess of Sussex attend ‘The Lion King’ film premiere in London, July 2019
Her fee for the project went entirely to the Elephants Without Borders charity – an organization dedicated to conserving wildlife and helps protect the animals from poaching.
Harry followed in her footsteps by appearing in a new Netflix documentary about about the Paralympic Games called Rising Phoenix, which aired on August 26.
Last year Harry announced that he was partnering with Oprah Winfrey on on an Apple TV+ docuseries about mental health.
It’s unclear whether the couple pitched their secret project to Disney, Netflix or Apple TV+.
Shortly after the Duke and Duchess announced their intention to step back from royal duty, a senior Netflix executive said the streaming giant would like to work with them.
Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos said at the Screen Actors Guild Awards in January that the streaming giant would like to work with Harry and Meghan, adding: ‘Who wouldn’t be interested? Yes, sure.’
The decision to work with Netflix is also a move reminiscent of former President Barack Obama and his lawyer wife Michelle.
In January, sources confirmed the couple had discussed their plans with the Obamas and wanted to mimic the way they had managed to build a successful, but dignified, life for themselves after the White House.
Since leaving the White House, the Obamas have earned a small fortune by selling rights to their autobiographies and setting up their own production company, which has bagged a lucrative deal with Netflix.
A source said: ‘They have found huge commercial success without actually looking like they are getting their hands dirty, to put it bluntly, and retaining their popularity.
‘In fact it is fair to say that their star has soared since leaving the White House, particularly Michelle’s, and this is something Meghan admires very, very much.’
After stepping down as senior royals, Meghan and Harry signed with New York-based Harry Walker Agency in June, which represents the Obamas and the Clintons.
Meghan has made several appearances as a speaker at various online summits, however it is understood that she did not receive payment for these engagements.
Experts estimate that the Sussexes stand to earn an impressive sum from public speaking however, with one agency estimating that the couple could rake in up to $500,000 each from a single appearance.
In February, a PR expert told DailyMail.com that the couple may have earned ‘up to $1 million’ between them to speak at a star-studded JP Morgan summit in Miami, insisting that the couple will be the ‘highest-paid speakers that exist on the corporate market’.
‘I would not be shocked if they earned in excess of $1 million,’ Ronn Torossian, CEO of New York-based firm 5W Public Relations, said of their JP Morgan engagement.
‘Over the year their earning power could be unlimited.’
Meanwhile, GDA Speakers, whose clients include Nicole Kidman and Diane Keaton, told TMZ that the Duke and Duchess will likely attract much higher fees than regular celebrities, even without their HRH titles.
The majority of big-name celebrities earn between $200,000 and $300,000 for a speaking engagement, however the agency estimates that Harry and Meghan could each earn close to double that amount thanks to their impressive global standing.
Finding Freedom co-author Omid Scobie also claimed the couple have big plans for the next few years, and are basing their working model on the Obamas.
He said their plans were ‘not too dissimilar’ from what the former president created after leaving the White House and setting up Higher Ground production company.
He pointed to the Obama’s multiyear production deal with Netflix to produce films and documentaries covering topics like race, class and civil rights.
Harry and Meghan’s public interests have been largely focused on social issues, environmental concerns and mental health – so it’s possible their project could be centered in those areas.
Although it is not known exactly how much the former president and first lady made off their Netflix deal, those who have signed onto similar agreements are set to make millions.
Shonda Rhimes, who created Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, signed a five-year deal with Netflix in 2017 that is estimated to be worth $150 million.
The following year, American Horror Story creator Ryan Murphy reportedly scored up to $300 million when he inked his own five-year deal with the streaming giant.
Reports of Harry and Meghan’s elusive project came days after it emerged that the couple had secretly purchased a private family home in Santa Barbara, ditching Tyler Perry’s 12-bedroom Beverly Hills mansion for ‘considerable privacy’.
The couple bought the sprawling nine-bedroom and 16-bathroom mansion in upscale Montecito for $14.65million on June 18.
Property listings say the home took nearly five years to build and included a library, office, spa with a separate dry and wet sauna, a gym with a stripper pole, game room, arcade, theater, wine cellar and five-car garage.
It also comes with a bevy of A-list neighbors who could help them achieve their Hollywood aspirations, including Ellen DeGeneres and Oprah.