United Kingdom

Prince Harry will be 'the bloke in the corner who used to be royal' at parties, royal expert says

Prince Harry is set to become 'the bloke in the corner who used to be in the Royal Family' at parties, a royal expert has claimed. 

Stephen Bates, author of Royalty Inc: Britain's Best-Known Brand, said his and wife Meghan's 'celebrity' status and 'brand Sussex' will only carry them so far in the future. 

Speaking to The Guardian, Bates said the couple will still be answerable to the Royal Family and unable to profit from their affiliation to it.

'Their association, via their name, is chiefly what they have,' he told the publication, for which he was the royal correspondent from 2000 until 2012.

Earlier this month the Duke and Duchess of Sussex quit as senior members of The Firm and vowed to become 'financially independent'

'All this stuff about huge marketing opportunities, and people talking up "their brand" and how much it will earn them… Obviously their celebrity will carry them so far – but in a year or two's time, what are they going to do?'

Earlier this month the Duke and Duchess of Sussex quit as senior members of The Firm and vowed to become 'financially independent', with rumours they want to model themselves on the Obamas, who have signed a deal with Netflix.  

Sources have claimed Meghan and Harry hope to make a fortune with their own film and television production company, providing voiceovers and producing documentaries on 'worthy' issues such as mental health and climate change.

Netflix's chief content officer Ted Sarandos said at the Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday that the streaming giant would like to work with Harry and Meghan, adding: 'Who wouldn’t be interested? Yes, sure.' 

Bates claimed Harry and Meghan will struggle to follow in the footsteps of the Obamas, who earned a small fortune by selling rights to their autobiographies and setting up their production company, when it comes to securing such lucrative deals

Meghan has already signed a voiceover deal with Disney in return for a donation to an elephant charity. Last week video footage emerged of Harry highlighting his wife's talents to Disney chief executive Robert Iger during the European premiere of The Lion King in July. 

Harry has already collaborated on an Apple TV series on mental health with US talk show host Oprah Winfrey, who is also a friend. 

But Bates claimed Harry and Meghan will struggle to follow in the footsteps of the Obamas, who earned a small fortune by selling rights to their autobiographies and setting up their production company, when it comes to securing such lucrative deals.

'Obama wasn't a hereditary president – or worse, a hereditary president's younger brother,' he said, drawing on Prince Edward's TV production company which provoked ire within the Royal Family in the Nineties.

The couple plan to continue marketing themselves under the Sussex Royal brand for the time being

'I can see a lot of parties with Harry standing in the corner and people saying, "There's the bloke who used to be in the royal family".'  

Referring to rudderless royals who surround themselves with wealthy celebrity friends, he added: 'Prince Andrew is an awful warning in this, because he lost his purpose in life.'

The couple plan to continue marketing themselves under the Sussex Royal brand for the time being, even though they have agreed not to use their HRH titles in the future, it is understood. 

The couple boast 11 million followers on Instagram, with their post revealing their decision to step back as senior members of the Royal Family garnering 1.8million likes.

Meghan, pictured in 2016 in Toronto, was arguably an Instagram influencer before she met Harry, thanks to her lifestyle blog The Tig

So could they realistically make a living as Instagram influencers - something Meghan arguably was before she met Harry, thanks to her lifestyle blog The Tig? 

Sara Flanagan, who founded the 'digital talent' books at global modelling agency IMG in Sydney, said Harry and Meghan could 'absolutely clean up' in the short-term, doing single posts 'for sums in the hundreds of thousands'. 

But, she added, it would be 'very foolish of them, and very short-term'. 

'What will be new is these hurdles they're going to have to get over as far as being royal, and not being seen to cheapen the royal brand,' she told The Guardian. 

Yesterday broadcaster Andrew Castle predicted on This Morning that Meghan will have 'wellness range' in two years, while Harry will start his own line of 'Sussex Royal underpants'.

But friends say the couple will be 'forever grateful' to the Queen for thinking 'outside the box' and have promised they will not bring the royals into disrepute through any 'dodgy deals'.

The duke and duchess have been allowed to keep Frogmore Cottage, their Windsor home, but agreed to pay back public funds used to refurbish it. The couple will, however, continue with their personal patronages, such as The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust and WellChild. 

It is understood that Charles will continue to fund his son for the first year at least, either via the Duchy of Cornwall, the estate which provides him with private funding, or more likely from his own personal investments from income such as his bequest from the late Queen Mother. No public funds will be used.