Colette Sheridan: No fear of Harry and Meghan going hungry as freelancers...

Do Harry and Meghan want their cake and eat it, asks Colette Sheridan in her weekly column
Colette Sheridan: No fear of Harry and Meghan going hungry as freelancers...
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Picture: Daniel Leal-Olivas /PA Wire

PRINCE Harry and Meghan Markle are launching themselves into the shark-infested waters of self-employment, which can be quite unforgiving for those with slacker tendencies.

This is not to suggest that the couple are lazy and not on the ball, although a six week break (from what? Waving at people and cutting ribbons at official engagements?) around Christmas time, holed up in some rich person’s mansion in Canada, suggests that the pair are very fond of themselves. (In Ireland, being overly fond of oneself is seen as a black mark.)

But the rich are different and prone to self-indulgence. That includes clocking up air miles with barely a thought for their carbon footprint.

Rich people simply have to travel by air, a lot, but that’s OK because they’re excellent at setting up charities which, they believe, will ensure good karma.

Harry and Meghan are going to need lots of positivity if they’re to continue to enjoy the trappings to which they are accustomed.

Not for them the life of a penny-pinching freelancer, wondering if dry-cleaning is a tax deductible business expense. (For the record, in the UK, it must be required for work and the dry-cleaned clothes must not be suitable for everyday use.)

As a long term freelancer, I can understand why Harry and Meghan want to break away from their frontline royal roles and all the decorum and imposed control inherent in that life.

There is freedom in freelancing and an absence of people breathing down one’s neck.

To an extent, one can choose one’s work, although, often, one is grateful for a gig, any gig, even if, among freelance hacks like myself, one gets a commission to write advertorial about incontinence pads.

Not that the couple will ever be reduced to such ignominy. As it stands, they’re both very wealthy (Harry is said to have amassed €35 million while Meghan has more than €4 million. But the rich don’t get rich by raiding their capital funds. They like to have an income stream so that they can spend stratospherically.

On their new website, Harry and Meghan complain that they have been unable to earn their own money as senior British royals. Doesn’t your heart bleed for them?

In their bold strike at independence, they will forfeit their income from the Sovereign Grant. That’s the hard-earned dosh that UK taxpayers give to the queen every year.

Harry and Meghan haven’t said whether they’ll relinquish the money they get from Prince Charles via his Duchy of Cornwall estate (worth €1.4billion). Either way, the couple won’t starve.

On the contrary, when they launch themselves onto the international celebrity circuit, they can expect to clean up. The top speakers in the globe can command nearly half a million euros for an after-dinner speech.

Apart from being happy (well, not really) for Harry and Meghan that they can trade on their backgrounds and fame, I can’t help but feel that the world is a very unfair place.

It isn’t begrudging to object to the vast sums that famous folk get (you can hardly call it ‘earned’) for imparting mediocre bull in front of a rapt audience at some posh (or bling) dinner.

That they will sometimes address world poverty in their speeches really sticks in the craw.

Meghan will probably be on safer ground, with her interest in feminism. She is no wilting violet but rather a privileged woman who refuses to play the submissive wife of a prince. More power to her, but she’s hardly beating a drum for your average office cleaner, given her money and access.

This is a woman who wants to have her cake and eat it. She will retain her royal title, which will likely result in lucrative gigs.

I don’t want to sound anti-feminist here, but it has struck me from the beginning that getting married to a prince was a good career move for Meghan. (She was ‘only’ being paid approximately €393,000 per annum for starring in US TV drama, Suits.)

The queen’s shock/horror response to Harry and Meghan’s brazen new move is out of all proportion. I mean, come on. What about Prince Andrew and his entanglement with billionaire sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein?

It seems that the only thing ‘Randy Andy’ did wrong was a really bad television interview in which he described himself as being almost too honourable.

Harry and Meghan are just getting away from the stuffy royal family and all its protocol.

The newly freelance couple hope to make money from merchandise. In recent weeks, they have trademarked their Sussex royal brand on more than 100 items, including T-shirts, books and magazines as well as teaching materials.

They have submitted trademark applications for textbooks, footwear, headgear, coats and even pyjamas.

This is another way of saying that they’re now in trade. How common, eh?

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