What's Next for Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Amid Royal Family Estrangement and Business Shake-Ups

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's burgeoning media empire hit a few bumps in the road, but the parents of two are privately regrouping and coming up with new plans.

By Natalie Finn Aug 04, 2023 12:00 PMTags
Watch: Meghan Markle's Breakout Show Shatters Netflix Record

There's been a lot of noise swirling around Prince Harry and Meghan Markle lately, though very little of it has come from their corner.

Rather, it's been the summer of other people's discontent, critics feeling no need to hold back in the wake of the release of Harry's memoir Spare, the opinion being that the prince's harsh synopsis of his life growing up royal didn't exactly strengthen their argument for privacy.

But since the bombshell rollout of Harry's book (which followed the premiere of Netflix's six-part Harry & Meghan last December) and his glaring lack of a part to play in King Charles III's coronation, while Meghan stayed home altogether with son Archie, 4, and daughter Lili, 2, the couple have maintained a relatively low profile as rumors of varying seriousness have come and gone. 

A new video, released Aug. 2, shows them calling a few of the recipients of $2 million in grants from their Archewell Foundation's Responsible Technology Youth Power Fund—including one young visionary who founded an anti-cyberbullying initiative called Rethink Citizens.

"This is amazing," Harry told her. "This is exactly why we do what we do."

Meghan Markle Through the Years

The release marked the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's first joint appearance since a night out in May turned into a they-said, they-said debate over whether photographers really pursued the couple in a reckless fashion through the streets of New York. (Harry and Meghan's rep called the alleged chase "near catastrophic" and NYC Mayor Eric Adams chided the paparazzi for "reckless and irresponsible behavior," while the NYPD said the couple arrived at their destination without incident and photo agencies pushed back at the notion that their people put Meghan and Harry in danger.)

The Archwell Foundation

Since then, Harry had recorded a video (as did brother Prince William, separately) for the June 30 Diana Award ceremony, but otherwise, he and Meghan took a summer break from being so...visible.

Their burgeoning multimedia empire took a hit when they parted ways with Spotify, less than three years after the Swedish company signed Archewell Audio to a reported $20 million deal. Harry and Meghan's production company said they were in mutual agreement and "proud of the series we made together." They teased their overall endeavor in December 2020 with a holiday podcast, featuring a peal of Archie's laughter, and ultimately Spotify released 12 episodes of Meghan's People's Choice Award-winning interview podcast Archetypes.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Royal Wedding Day Photos

Complicated media landscape for everyone aside, the end of that era had Sussex watchers wondering about the fate of the nine-figure production deal Harry and Meghan signed with Netflix, also in 2020.

That deal—though Meghan's proposed animated series didn't get off the ground—resulted in record numbers for a Netflix documentary premiere, the streamer sharing that 28 million households cranked up the first three episodes of Harry & Meghan when they dropped Dec. 8.

Netflix removed itself from the Harry-and-Meghan-under-fire narrative a couple of weeks later, saying in a statement to multiple media outlets, "We value our partnership with Archewell Productions. Harry & Meghan was Netflix's biggest documentary debut ever, and we'll continue to work together on a number of projects, including the upcoming documentary series Heart of Invictus."

Incidentally, Netflix also has a surprise hit on its hands with... Suits! The streamer debuted the USA legal dramedy's first eight seasons June 17 (the whole series is still on Peacock), and apparently enough people have been bingeing that producers are being asked about reboot possibilities.

Executive producer Gene Klein said he didn't know of any "serious conversations" about reviving Suits. "It's just one of those things where, in this day and age, you wouldn't be surprised if somebody called you someday," he told TV Line. "But so far, nothing that I'm aware of."

USA Network/NBCU Photo Bank

The low-hanging question, naturally, was whether any reunion would or could involve Meghan, who played paralegal/law student Rachel Zane until 2017, when her imminent engagement to Harry hastened her exit from Hollywood. 

"I would assume that's just not possible," Klein said of the actress-turned-duchess' possible return. (Hey, Grace Kelly almost starred in Alfred Hitchcock's Marnie after becoming Princess of Monaco. Anything's possible.)

As for Meghan and Harry's other subversive-for-royalty endeavor—taking on the British tabloids—a High Court judge ruled July 27 that Harry's invasion of privacy lawsuit against News Group Newspapers could go forward, though minus allegations of phone hacking, because they were made after a six-year statute of limitations had passed. The case is due to go to trial in January.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Kids Appear in Harry & Meghan

In the meantime, the pair are celebrating Meghan's 42nd birthday on Aug. 4, with all signs pointing to their family enjoying low-key time close to home in Montecito, Calif.

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images Ms. Foundation for Women

Harry then heads to Tokyo with pal Nacho Figueras for the ISPS Sports Values Summit-Special Edition on Aug. 9, after which they'll play in the Aug. 12 Sentebale ISPS Handa Polo Cup in Singapore. The prince will be wielding his mallet for the Royal Salute Sentebale Team, while Sentebala ambassador Figueras rides for the Singapore Polo Club Team, but it's all in good fun—and for a cause close to Harry's heart.

"The annual Polo Cup is essential to Sentebale's vital work ensuring children and young people are healthy, resilient, and able to thrive," Harry, who co-founded the charity in 2006, said in a statement, per Hello. "The funds raised this year will support our Clubs and Camps program, which provides intensive psychosocial support to young people living with HIV."

Harry and Meghan will have a chance to return to the world stage together next month, when the Invictus Games—the multi-event athletic competition Harry founded for current and former military servicemen and women who've suffered injuries—kick off Sept. 9 in Düsseldorf, Germany.

If they both make the trip, it will be quite the symbolic reset, the 2017 Games in Toronto serving as the setting for their first purposely public date six years—and a couple of lifetimes—ago.

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