After giving up royal titles, Harry and Meghan announced they will not receive taxpayer funds from the UK. This may not pose a great difficulty for the couple, who might continue receiving an allowance, and have trademarked the brand “Royal Sussex”.

In this file photo from January 7, 2020, Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, leave Canada House in London, Britain.
In this file photo from January 7, 2020, Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, leave Canada House in London, Britain. (Toby Melville / Reuters)

Prince Harry and the Duchess of Sussex Meghan announced on January 8, 2020 that they wanted to “step back” from royal duties and finance themselves independently. 

Once the shock wore off, the Queen and senior royals got together and came up with a solution: Harry and Meghan were to remain Duke and Duchess, but could no longer use the HRH (His/Her Royal Highness) titles. They were also to pay back renovation costs on their UK domicile, Frogmore Cottage, as it belongs to the Queen and public funds were used to refurbish it before they moved in.

Frogmore Cottage, a mansion about an hour outside of London, was renovated before the couple’s son Archie was born, to the tune of more than $3 million. The funds were public funds coming out of taxpayer money, and with the couple intending to keep the cottage as their UK residence, they are now expected to pay back the renovation costs.

Harry and Meghan’s official website, sussexroyal.com, explains that “As they step back as senior members of the Royal Family and no longer receive funding through the Sovereign Grant, they will become members of the Royal Family with financial independence which is something they look forward to.”

The Sovereign Grant “sets the single grant supporting the monarch’s official business, enabling The Queen to discharge her duties as Head of State,” says and official UK government website of HM Treasury. It consists of a portion of the revenue raised by the Crown during the year (for example, The British Royal Family generates an estimated $2.43 billion [£1.8 billion] a year in tourism revenues for The United Kingdom, the sussexroyal.com site points out.)

The HM Treasury page explains this further as The Queen “surrenders the revenue from The Crown Estate to the government,” which for 2017-18 was $444.4 million (£329.4 million). The Sovereign Grant for 2019-20 is $111.2 million (£82.4 million) which is 25% of £329.4 million.

After surrendering the revenue raised by the Crown, the Queen receives one fourth of it to “discharge her duties as Head of State”. Prince Harry receives a portion of the Sovereign Grant, but it is not the bulk of his income.

Of all the funding Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex receives per year, only 5% comes from the Sovereign Grant, i.e. taxpayer money, the sussexroyal.com website reports. The remaining 95% of Prince Harry’s income comes from “income allocated by HRH The Prince of Wales, generated through the Duchy of Cornwall”, that is, Harry’s father Charles.

Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex and his wife Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex have shared, along with his older brother Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge and his wife Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, a combined £5 million pounds from the Prince of Wales in 2019. This is not part of the Sovereign Grant and does not come from taxpayer money but instead from income generated by “His Royal Highness’s [Charles’] private income from the Duchy of Cornwall”.

Receiving an income through the Sovereign Grant prevented Harry and Meghan from earning a professional income, which they will now be able to do starting spring 2020.

In the meantime, Prince Charles is reported to have offered a substantial cash injection to his younger son and his family, according to the Telegraph. This funding is not from the revenue generated through the Duchy of Cornwall, which is allocated to brothers William and Harry, but  is expected from Charles’ own private investment income, the Telegraph writes.

According to a source the Telegraph has discussed the matter with, this was not an “inexhaustible” source of funds.

Prince Harry’s net worth, according to Business Insider, is at least $30 million, including an inheritance from his mother Princess Diana, and an annual allowance from Prince Charles, his father. The BBC reports that Prince Harry and Prince William have received the bulk of their mother’s £13 million fortune.

Town & Country also reports that the Duchess of Sussex Meghan’s net worth is in the vicinity of $5 million, earned during her television days as an actor on the series “Suits” and other income such as endorsement deals.

As it turns out, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are hardly poor after cutting off their financial ties with the Queen. The couple plan to continue their charity work and have trademarked the name Sussex Royal for items covering “printed matter such as magazines and greeting cards, clothing ranging from footwear to pyjamas, charitable fundraising and management, as well as education and social care services including the organising and conducting of emotional support groups,” the Guardian reports.

Meghan may also be planning to restart her acting career, which she had had to put on hold once she married Prince Harry. Rumours have circulated of the couple utilising their connection  with talk show host and inspirational figure Oprah Winfrey, as well as Meghan making a deal with Disney for a voiceover project.

Source: TRT World