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Prince Harry and Meghan: Where do they get their money?

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Buckingham Palace has announced the Duke and Duchess of Sussex "will no longer receive public funds for royal duties".

It follows the revelation that the pair are to step back as senior royals and intend to become financially independent. But where do they now get their money, and what might this new arrangement look like?

What does being 'financially independent' mean?

According to the Sussexes website, 95% of their income comes from Prince Charles's income from the Duchy of Cornwall, a vast portfolio of property and financial investments, which brought in £21.6m last year.

Money from the Duchy - just over £5m in total in 2018-19 - pays for the public duties of Prince Harry and Meghan, as well as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and some of their private costs.

It is understood the couple will continue to receive money from Harry's father under the new agreement, although it is unclear whether this will come from the Duchy, his personal wealth, or a combination of the two.

However, the pair will stop receiving money from the taxpayer-funded Sovereign Grant, which makes up the other 5% of their income.

This grant is paid from the government to the Royal Family to cover expenses for official duties and looking after royal palaces. It is worth a total of £82.4m this financial year and is funded by profits from the Crown Estate - commercial properties owned by the Crown.

This, and all the other terms of the arrangement, are thought to be up for review by Harry, Meghan and the senior royals in a year's time.

Additionally, the Duke and Duchess are to repay the £2.4m cost of renovating their home, Frogmore Cottage in Windsor, a bill initially footed by the UK taxpayer. They will also pay a "commercial rent" on the property.

What is the Crown Estate?

  • An independent commercial property business and one of the largest property portfolios in the UK
  • The majority of assets are in London, but the estate also owns property in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
  • Holdings include Windsor Great Park and Ascot racecourse, but most is residential and commercial property
  • Managed by an independent organisation, with any profit paid to the Treasury for the benefit of all UK taxpayers
  • Funds the Sovereign Grant which supports official royal duties and maintains the occupied royal palaces

What other wealth do they have?

Both the duke and duchess have considerable personal wealth. Princes William and Harry received the bulk of the £13m fortune left by their mother Princess Diana.

Prince Harry is also thought to have been left millions of pounds by his great-grandmother, the Queen Mother, says BBC royal correspondent Nick Witchell.

During her acting career, the Duchess of Sussex earned a reported payment of $50,000 (£38,300) per episode for the legal drama Suits.

She also ran a lifestyle blog, and designed her own fashion line for a Canadian brand.

It is not known whether the couple will continue to be given a security detail paid for by the taxpayer-funded Metropolitan Police, which does not disclose the costs. Their intention to travel back and forth from North America would be likely to add to this cost, but it is possible they will pay towards this.

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image captionThe couple are expected to step back from official royal duties

Are royals allowed to make their own money?

As they will no longer be "working royals," Harry and Meghan will be free to make their own income.

But the palace says the pair "have made clear that everything they do will continue to uphold the values of Her Majesty".

The couple applied to trademark the Sussex Royal brand last summer, raising the possibility of launching their own lines of products, from beauty to clothing.

But now they have officially stepped back, and agreed not to use their royal titles, using this branding may be seen as at odds with those values.

Exactly how Harry and Meghan will finance themselves in future is up for debate, according to royal finances expert David McClure.

"I suppose they could get money from writing books, a more likely source is from television. There has been talk about Harry and Meghan doing a deal with Oprah Winfrey," he told the BBC.

As one of the most famous couples in the world, their brand has the potential to be highly lucrative. Their joint Instagram account @sussexroyal has more than 10 million followers, while Meghan was the most Googled person in the UK in 2018.

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  • Meghan and Harry step back: What does this mean for the Royal Family?