The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have announced they are stepping back as senior royals and intend to become financially independent.
But how are they currently funded, and what might this new arrangement look like?
Who pays for Harry and Meghan at the moment?
The couple say that about 95% of their income comes from the Prince of Wales. He 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.
In total, this funding – in the year Meghan officially joined the Royal Family – stood at just over £5m in 2018-19.
The money 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.
In addition, about 5% of the Sussexes’ income comes from the Sovereign Grant, according to their website. This money is paid from the government to the Royal Family to cover expenses for official duties and looking after royal palaces. The grant is worth £82.4m in this financial year.
The Sovereign Grant is funded by profits from the Crown Estate – commercial properties owned by the Crown.
These figures do not include security costs, which are met separately.
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.
What does being ‘financially independent’ mean?
On their website, Harry and Meghan say they will no longer receive funding through the Sovereign Grant, “thereby making them members of the Royal Family with financial independence”. However, the grant only provides 5% of their income and it is unclear whether they will give up their other sources of funding.
The couple will continue to be given a security detail paid for by the taxpayer-funded Metropolitan Police, which does not disclose the costs involved.
The couple’s 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 – although it will be a very big bill.
The couple say they have always funded their private travel, and this will continue to be the case. This suggests travel taken for official engagements will still be paid for by the taxpayer.
They plan to keep hold of their UK home, Frogmore Cottage in Windsor, which was renovated at the cost of £2.4m to the taxpayer last year.
Are royals allowed to make their own money?
As senior royals, Harry and Meghan are not allowed to earn income in any form.
The pair point out that there are other current members of the Royal Family who have full-time jobs.
Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, for example, are not “working royals”. That means they do not carry out official public duties as members of the Royal Family.
However, some costs are still met by the taxpayer, such as the security of Princess Eugenie’s wedding in 2018.
Exactly how Harry and Meghan will finance themselves in future is up for debate, according to David McClure, author of a book on royal finances.
“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, so that’s a possible way of making money,
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 could their next steps be?
In their statement, the couple said that launching a new charity would become one of their future priorities. This follows their decision to leave the Royal Foundation last year, which they shared with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Set up in 2009, the Royal Foundation focuses on causes close to the princes’ hearts, including the armed forces, conservation and mental health.
In June the pair trademarked the Royal Sussex brand, applying it to dozens of items and services from pencil cases to sport activities and education training.
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.