Financial independence is a royal fantasy no more.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have made their unprecedented move official: they’ve relinquished their royal backing, and paid back a $3 million loan from the Sovereign Fund that was used to refurbish their home, Frogmore Cottage. With that, the couple is officially independent. Their income will now have to be earned; support from Buckingham Palace, no more.
The update is a follow-up to a January declaration that took the world by storm: the couple was giving up the titles awarded to a handful of people in human history in hopes of plotting their own course. Financial independence, they declared, was more valuable to the Duke and Duchess than any prestige their crowns or titles could offer.
A Peek at the Queen’s Receipts
The development brings another question to mind: where was all of that money coming from anyway? The answer is a controversial one. The costs associated with Buckingham Palace and the Royals’ lifestyles are paid by a fund known as the Sovereign Grant. Why is that controversial? The Sovereign Grant is a budget of public funds. Cue the outrage! Hold on. It’s not that simple. Those public funds were provided in exchange for the Queen putting her Crown Estate into a public trust. And that estate? It brought in a surplus in the hundreds of millions of dollars in the last two years alone. The trade isn’t such a bad deal for the Brits after all.
So what does a royal budget look like? In 2019, it totaled £67 million. Among the line items: £2.3 million for housekeeping and hospitality and £4.6 million for travel. Talk about living like a queen! And next year, some of those receipts will shrink a bit, as Harry and Meghan move on with their own lives. As to how they plan to manage life’s expenses, this week offered a big clue.
Their ticket to financial independence? A large check from a different source.
Wondering just how could someone could give up a seemingly endless supply of, well, anything in exchange for a life without official duties? The answer, it appears, is a windfall of another kind. The Royal couple was able to repay their $3 million loan thanks to a deal with streaming giant Netflix.
Not a bad payday. Say, Meghan and Harry, you might want to watch our episode, What to do with a Windfall.