Meghan Markle ‘controls the narrative’ says Tom Bower
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced in late 2020 to have struck multi-year deals with streaming giants Spotify and Netflix. These announcements came just a few months after Meghan and Harry had officially stepped down as full-time members of the Firm.
The Spotify announcement was followed by the release of a holiday episode hosted by both the Duke and Duchess, during which they reflected on 2020 and hosted an array of guests sharing their inspirations, reflections and ideas.
The special episode ended with Meghan and Harry’s son Archie Harrison wishing all listeners a happy new year – the first few words the toddler ever said to members of the public.
Over the following months, the Duke and Duchess announced the production of two Netflix shows.
The first is Heart of Invictus, a docu-series focused on participants in the 2020 Invictus Games which took place earlier this year at The Hague.
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry struck deals with Spotify and Netflix in 2020
Prince Harry’s book is expected to be released later this year
The second statement was about Pearl, an animated series for which Meghan would have been one of the executive producers.
However, the show has been axed earlier this year as part of a wider cost-cutting move by Netflix.
In March, Spotify announced the Duchess was to launch her first podcast series this summer – but did not provide a date.
Titled Archetypes, it will see Meghan and her expert guests looking into “the labels that try to hold women back”.
Separately from his Netflix and Spotify deals, Prince Harry also announced last July he is penning an intimate memoir focused on his life from childhood to fatherhood, and will donate his proceeds to charity.
READ MORE: Meghan and Harry’s biographer’s new book to ‘have the world talking’
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry during their visit of New York in September 2021
Following these announcements, the royals have yet to release any of their finished products.
Noting little has so far been released by Archewell’s production powerhouses, commentator Guy Martin wrote in Forbes: “When we last visited some of the deals drawn and generated by the principals of the budding foundation/political engagement engine/entertainment production house/self-betterment entity/lifestyle empire, there was the problem of content.
“They haven’t managed to make that problem go away.
“Concretely, that means that there is a large creme-de-la-creme superstructure of Hollywood (production) and Silicon Valley talent across Archewell’s divisions.”
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry at Global Citizen Live in September
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry were at the UN headquarters last month
However, Mr Martin added, “there has been no product” besides the announced ongoing production of Heart of Invictus and the rumoured creation of a docu-series about Meghan and Harry’s work and lives.
He noted Harry also released in May last year the mental health docu-series The Me You Can’t See he co-created with Oprah Winfrey – however, this show had been announced when Meghan and Harry were still working royals and, published by AppleTV+, is not part of the Sussexes’ deal with Netflix.
He added: “The couple has a lot riding on this autobiography and on the Netflix documentary of their lives, in other words.”
While Mr Martin referred to the rumoured at-home docu-series as a show currently being in the works, the Sussexes have never made any official announcement regarding it.
Prince Harry’s life in pictures
In May, a source claimed the Sussexes are also filming an “at-home” documentary series for Netflix, adding the streaming platform would like to air the series at the end of the year, tying it in with Harry’s upcoming memoir expected to be published in late 2022.
Meghan and Harry did not comment at the time on these claims first published by Page Six.
In September 2020, following speculation they would film a Kardashians-style reality show, their representative had issued a swift denial.
They said: “The Duke and Duchess are not taking part in any reality shows.”
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry leaving St Paul’s Cathedral
Commenting on the chances for the Sussexes to film a documentary about their lives, leading biographer Andrew Morton had previously said Meghan and Harry are free to do what they want as “they are not part of the Royal Family, they don’t take any money from either the taxpayer or the Royal Family themselves.”
However, speaking to Express.co.uk, he added: “I doubt they are making a documentary because it would go against everything they have said about wanting a degree of privacy in their lives.
“And quite frankly, people are less interested in Harry and Meghan and more interested in their kids.
“So they are not going to film a story of their lives without involving their children, and the one thing they are trying and done manfully over the past months is to keep their children out of the public eye.
“So on that basis, I’d say the odds of them working on a documentary about their lives are pretty slim.”