Following the announcement that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are stepping back from their roles as senior royals, and that they intend to become “financially independent” from the crown, attention has turned to what the couple might do next in terms of career or funding.
In a move that may hint towards Meghan’s future path, the royal has signed a deal with Disney which will involve her doing voiceover work to benefit a wildlife charity, reports The Times. The proceeds will go towards Elephants Without Borders, an organisation which helps to track and protect the animals from poaching.
Related article: The Duke And Duchess of Sussex To Step Down As Senior Royals
The report claims that the deal was referenced during tense talks with the royal family which took place before Christmas, during which the couple was accused of already signing deals “with firms including Disney”. However, there has been no indication that either Meghan or Harry has signed a commercial deal from which they themselves will personally profit; they don’t benefit financially from any of their charitable or cause-driven work.
The Disney agreement could have emerged following their endorsement of The Lion King live-action remake which was released last year. The couple attended the London premiere – memorably meeting with Beyonce and Jay Z in the process – which was held “in support of the conservation and communities work” that Prince Harry conducts through the Royal Foundation.
At the moment, the Sussexes don’t earn an income from any of their work, as they are prohibited from doing so under the current structure. On their new website, Sussexroyal.com, the couple said that they “value the ability to earn a professional income”, which they will have the opportunity to do when they become financially independent.
“There is precedent for this structure and applies to other current members of the royal family who support the monarch and also have full-time jobs external to their commitment to the monarchy,” their site notes.
Other members such as Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie hold more traditional jobs that pay an outside income, which is what the Sussexes plan to do.
As part of their new transition, Meghan and Harry will no longer be accepting money from the Sovereign Grant, which is funded by taxpayers. This only ever accounted for five per cent of their expenditure and was never used for private spending, they reiterate on their website. The majority of their income comes from the Duchy of Cornwall, the private estate owned by Prince Charles, and there is currently no indication that these funds will be cut.
“Their Royal Highnesses feel this new approach will enable them to continue to carry out their duties for Her Majesty The Queen, while having the future financial autonomy to work externally,” their website states. “This phased approach will take time to transition in consultation with other senior members of the Royal Family, but Their Royal Highnesses are hopeful that this change is in the best interest for all and look forward to carrying out their duties to the monarch as well as their charitable work with financial autonomy.”
The couple already use their celebrity status as royals to benefit the many charity organisations that they work with and are patrons of, and they will continue to do so. This could well involve more partnerships with global giants such as Disney in the future.
This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR UK.