How Prince Harry, Meghan Markle are raking in their financially-independent fortune

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Photo credit: Getty

It's approaching the one-year anniversary of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's landmark decision to pursue financial independence - yet according to figures revealed by The Sun, the couple are still making a comfortable living after stepping down as senior members of the royal family.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are raking in a fortune with a slew of recent media deals, securing a lucrative contract with Spotify to produce and host their own podcasts, and landing a multi-million-dollar production agreement with Netflix.

The hefty earnings follow allegations the couple accumulated a significant taxpayer bill in the UK. 

As reported by The Sun, former Liberal Democrat and Privy Council member, Norman Baker, calculated that the Sussexes cost the British taxpayer £44 million (NZ$83 million) - at least - in the two years from their wedding to March 2020, when they came off the royal payroll.

"Now from their right-on California pad, they have embarked on a massive spree to get rich, trading on their fading royal status while it lasts," Baker told the outlet.

"The cash-in couple are now raking it in."

Earlier this week, Spotify announced its exclusive partnership with Archewell Audio, a new, audio-first production company founded by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Baker, the author of ...And What Do You Do? What The Royal Family Don't Want You To Know, told The Sun the Sussexes' Spotify deal likely banked the couple at least £30 million (NZ$56 million).

Comparatively, Joe Rogan - the highest-earning podcaster according to Forbes - netted about NZ$41 million in 2019. 

In September, Prince Harry and Meghan partnered with media giant Netflix, signing a lucrative, multi-year deal to produce their own content. As reported by The Sun, the deal is estimated to be worth £112 million (NZ$212 million) and will see Harry and Meghan - the former star of Suits - produce their own documentaries and television shows.  

When it comes to speaking engagements, the two are currently signed with the elite New York firm, the Harry Walker Agency, which represents clients such as tennis star Serena Williams and the Obamas.

There are suggestions the couple could bank around £756,000 (NZ$1.4 million) - roughly US$1 million - for each strictly-controlled speech they deliver. 

This week, it emerged that Markle had enlisted the help of media mogul Oprah Winfrey to promote her latest investment, the Californian coffee start-up Clevr Blends - an investment that could spell a major windfall if purchased by a food and drink giant, according to The Sun.

The "super latte" start-up sells packets of various mushrooms and adaptogen-infused instant powdered-oat milk latte blends, said to be inspired by Chinese and Ayurvedic healing traditions, for £21 each (NZ$39). However, the validity of the company's 'superfood' claims are under debate by nutrition experts.

In 2017, actor Jared Leto and U2 star Bono raked in a fortune after Nestle purchased a majority stake in the small coffee brand they'd invested in, Blue Bottle Coffee - which is now believed to be worth more than £515 million.

Other ways the Sussexes are expected to build their empire include book deals - worth at least £47.5 million - and sponsored Instagram posts, which could earn them around £85,000 per picture.