From a Californian mansion to £100million Netflix deal – how Meghan Markle and Prince Harry got Megxit done

IN a whirl of vegan lattes and eye-wateringly lucra- tive media deals, they’ve attempted to get Megxit done.

Ensconced in their £11million, sun-drenched California mansion, Harry and Meghan’s search for “financial independence” from the House of Windsor seems to have gone to plan.

⚠️Read our Meghan Markle and Prince Harry live blog for the latest news on the Royal couple

After confirming 12 months ago that they were waving goodbye to draughty British palaces and grinding duties in the rain-lashed UK, they have secured a rumoured £100million Netflix deal and another said to be worth £30million from music streaming site Spotify.

Harry, Meghan and baby Archie, 20 months, appear to have settled seamlessly into family life in the celebrity playground of Santa Barbara.

When Meghan invested in Clevr Blends — which makes “wellness lattes” — her neighbour, US A-lister Oprah Winfrey, plugged the coffees to her 19.2million Instagram followers with a crown emoji.

There have been regular updates on their pet projects from Harry and Meghan layered in California woke-speak.

In one memorable interview — that was widely lampooned — the Prince said: “What if every single one of us was a raindrop?”

It was on January 8 last year that The Sun’s splash headline We’re Orf Again announced to the world that Harry and Meghan were looking to make their move to North America permanent.

The couple confirmed Executive Editor Dan Wootton’s scoop by rel­easing a bombshell statement saying they wanted to “make a transition . . . to carve out a prog­ressive new role within this institution”.

They said they wanted to “balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America” and become “financially independent while continuing to fully support Her Majesty the Queen”.

But the monarch wasn’t keen on this hokey cokey, half-in, half-out model.

Instead, at the now famous Sandringham Summit later that month, she demanded a hard Megxit.

On January 18 it was announced that Harry and Meghan would “no longer be working members of Britain’s Royal Family”, and would not use their “Royal Highness” titles.

The BBC’s royal correspondent, Jonny Dymond, said at the time: “It is harder to think of a much cleaner break than this.

“Harry and Meghan are still members of the Royal Family, but they are effectively no longer royal.”

A Palace spokeswoman said the couple would no longer receive public money and that they would repay the £2.4million cost of refurbishing their cottage — Frogmore — in Windsor, Berks.

The following day, Harry said in a heartfelt speech: “Our hope was to continue serving the Queen, the Commonwealth, and my military associations without public funding. Unfortunately, that wasn’t possible.”

Then he movingly paid tribute to the woman who has transformed his existence.

The Duke of Sussex, 36, said he had found the “love and happiness I had hoped for all my life” with 39-year-old Meghan.

Hailing from a family averse to public shows of emotion, the tender words were all the more poignant.

In March, it was reported that Harry, Meghan and then ten-month-old Archie had left Canada — where they had been temporarily living — and moved permanently to California.

A royal insider said of the flit to the Golden State by private jet: “They have a big support network there.

“It’s where their new team of Hollywood agents and PRs and business managers are based. Meghan has lots of friends there and, of course, her mum Doria.”

At first they stayed in Hollywood tycoon Tyler Perry’s Beverly Hills estate, which has more than 24,000 sq ft of living space, eight bedrooms and 12 bathrooms.

Soon they had snapped up their own mansion a 90-minute drive up the coast in the super-wealthy enclave of Montecito, Santa Barbara.

Nestled between tranquil sandy beaches and the Santa Ynez mountains, the couple are believed to have taken out a £7.25million mortgage on their lavish nine- bedroom, 16-bathroom estate.

The property — which the couple have called their “sanctuary” — has a library, office, a spa with a separate dry and wet sauna, a gym, games room, an arcade, a movie theatre, a wine cellar and a garage with space for five cars. Amid the well-manicured lawns are tiered rose gardens, a tennis court, a tea house, a children’s cottage and a large outdoor pool.

In September, the Duke paid back the £2.4million refurbishment costs of Frogmore Cottage in full.

Two months later, the Sussexes marked Remembrance Sunday “in their own way” at Los Angeles National Cemetery.

With his medals pinned to his chest, Harry, who served as Captain Wales in the British Army for ten years, and his wife were trailed by a hand-picked fashion photographer.

It led to accusations that the “cringeworthy” performance was inappropriate for the memorial day.

Later in November, Meghan revealed that she had suffered a miscarriage in July as she was changing Archie’s nappy. Writing in The New York Times, she said: “I knew, as I clutched my firstborn child, that I was losing my second.

“Hours later, I lay in a hospital bed, holding my husband’s hand.

“I felt the clamminess of his palm and kissed his knuckles, wet from both our tears.

“Staring at the cold white walls, my eyes glazed over. I tried to imagine how we’d heal.”

The couple continued their charity commitments and working on their media projects.

In September the pair had signed a deal with Netflix reportedly worth over £100million.

They were criticised in some quarters for inking the agreement with the streaming giant after its controversial portrayal of Harry’s family in its drama series The Crown.

Many have felt the latest outing should have had a warning on the credits that it was a work of fiction, rather than historical fact. The reported £30million deal with Spotify saw their schmaltzy debut episode last month.

The 34-minute podcast was spliced with woke-speak and famous guests, but it was little Archie who stole the show. Encouraging him to use the microphone, Harry told him: “You can speak into it.”

His son managed to say “fun” and “happy New Year” with an American accent.

Introducing the child to the media spotlight surprised many.

Previously the couple have fiercely defended Archie’s privacy, refusing even to confirm where he was born or who his godparents are.

Harry and Meghan released the full website for their Archewell Foundation last week with a focus on their mothers.

It featured a poem called A Letter for 2021, which includes the lines: “I am my mother’s son. And I am our son’s mother. Together we bring you Archewell.”

In full syrupy woke-speak, the poem invited people to “build a better world one act of compassion at a time”, saying the couple had witnessed “the best of humanity” from their “mothers and strangers alike”.

Arch critic Piers Morgan accused them of “airbrushing” their dads, Prince Charles and Thomas Markle, out of the picture.

He tweeted: “Sadly, Ginge & Cringe’s ‘compassion’ and ‘humanity’ doesn’t extend to either of their fathers, both of whom have been airbrushed out of this nauseating bilge.”

Meanwhile, Harry’s family are more than 5,000 miles away, doing the best to raise morale in his Covid-blighted homeland.

But what of the delicate tightrope act the Sussexes are walking between the Hollywood money-making machine and royal responsibilities?

The couple are reported to want an extension to their year-long so-called transition period that was brokered when the pair left The Firm last March.

Reports suggest that they want to hang on to their royal patronages despite their commercial commit- ments.

But a royal source said: “Every commercial deal that has been done by the Sussexes has been a nail in the coffin of any kind of return to royal life.” The couple may have found their freedom but, a year on, are they content?

Harry’s authorised biographer, Angela Levin, believes Meghan has “blossomed back in her native country”.

She adds that “a short stint with a royal title has opened many doors, enabling her to upgrade her contacts book and giving her new opportunities to showcase her impressive skills”.

And what of Harry, a man she grew to know as having “an extraordinary combination of royal stardust, accessibility, confidence and mischief”, as she spent 15 months getting to know him for her 2018 book?

Now the author of Harry: A Biography Of A Prince says: “He seems to have discarded his life as an action man to become an airy-fairy do-gooder.”

Harry’s Californication appears to be well under way.


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