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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle plan to become 'financially independent,' but they're already worth about $30 million — and none of that money belongs to the crown

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle plan to become 'financially independent,' but they're already worth about $30 million — and none of that money belongs to the crown
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's net worth is around $30 million - Business Insider

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are effectively cutting themselves off but he's already worth at least $25 million and she's worth at least $5 million.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced in a statement released by Buckingham Palace that they came to an agreement with the Queen, in which they will completely step back from their royal duties, will no longer use their royal titles, and will stop receiving public funding starting in the spring.

The announcement comes almost two weeks after Harry and Meghan initially shared the news on their official website and via Instagram that they would plan to "step back" from the royal family and work to become "financially independent."

The palace's most recent announcement about Harry and Meghan read: "While they can no longer formally represent The Queen, the Sussexes have made clear that everything they do will continue to uphold the values of Her Majesty." 

In addition, Meghan and Harry will no longer receive money from the "sovereign grant" provided by the treasury and they will be free to work professionally. According to Daily Mail royal correspondent Rebecca English, Meghan and Harry are expected to still receive funds from the Duchy of Cornwall, a private fund managed by Prince Charles, which amounts to $2.5 million (£2.3 million) a year.

They also plan to pay back the sovereign grant for the $3 million, taxpayer-funded renovation of Frogmore Cottage, which will still be their UK family home even as they move into the new role in the spring, according to the statement.

So, their lifestyle will effectively no longer be maintained by the crown — but that doesn't mean they don't already have financing separate from it.

Before marrying Prince Harry, Markle was earning close to half a million dollars a year starring in the USA Network drama "Suits," plus a five-figure income from endorsement deals and sponsorships. Money.com reported in 2018 that her total net worth was estimated to be $5 million.

Their combined net worth, however, is more than five times that. Prince Harry's net worth is at least $25 million (£19 million) and as much as $40 million (£30 million), according to 2018 estimates from Money.com.

Here's where all that money comes from.

Along with Prince William and Kate Middleton, Harry receives an annual seven-figure allowance from his father, heir to the throne Prince Charles, which is used to cover expenses like travel and wardrobe.

prince harry prince philip prince william
Prince Harry, Prince Philip, and Prince William.
Phil Walter / Getty

Between April 2016 and March 2017, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Harry split nearly $5 million (£3.5 million) in allowance from their father, according to an annual review released by Clarence House.

Prince Charles derives that money, in part, from a private estate called the Duchy of Cornwall, which has funded the royal family's public and private lives for nearly 700 years.

Charles Duchy of Cornwall
Prince Charles in front of a Duchy of Cornwall crest in Newquay, Cornwall.
Getty Images

The majority of the British monarchy's wealth comes from inherited lands and investments. The Duchy of Cornwall, specifically, provided a total of $28.8 million (£22 million), including Harry and William's allowance, to Prince Charles and his wife Camilla between 2016 and 2017.

Since age 21, Harry and William have also been receiving a $450,000 a year investment profit from Princess Diana's estate, which they pay taxes on to the UK government.

prince harry age 2 with diana
Princess Diana holding Prince Harry, age 2.
AP / John Redman

They received a sizeable inheritance from their late mother estimated to be around $10 million each, which each prince gained access to on his 30th birthday.

Plus, Prince Harry served in the British Royal Air Force for 10 years.

Prince Harry in military uniform
Getty Images

For his service as a helicopter pilot for the Army Air Corps, he earned an annual income of between $50,000 and $53,000, per Forbes.

These factors combined suggest Prince Harry's net worth is at least $25 million.

prince harry
Matt Dunham - WPA Pool/Getty

Source: Money

Meghan Markle, on the other hand, was potentially worth around $5 million herself before she and her now-husband combined their finances.

Meghan Markle
Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Source: Money

Before marrying Prince Harry, Markle was was earning close to half a million dollars a year starring in the USA Network drama "Suits."

meghan markle suits
Hypnotic

Source: Town & Country

She was also earning a five-figure income from endorsement deals and sponsorships.

Meghan Markle
Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Source: Business Insider

When the couple got married in 2018, they chose to skip a prenuptial agreement and merge their finances.

meghan harry royal wedding
Ben Birchall / Getty

The merging of the couple's finances was expected to "cause tax headaches" and create some "mundane hurdles" for the royal family, as The Washington Post first reported before the wedding.

Markle is a citizen of the US and was purportedly living in the UK on a family visa, according to the BBC. If she eventually becomes a dual US-UK citizen, Markle will have to continue filing her taxes each year with the IRS. If she has more than $300,000 in assets at any point during the year, she will have to file a specific form that details foreign assets, which could include foreign trusts, subjecting the royal family "to outside scrutiny," according to the Post.

"The key for Meghan and her advisors would be to figure out what type of income she will be getting," Avani Ramnani, director of financial planning and wealth management at Francis Financial, told Business Insider before the royal wedding. "Will this income be from the investments of a trust, or 'wages' for any work that she does, or any other type of income? Sometimes, getting one form of income is more advantageous than another."

But, as a royal, the Duchess was not eligible to work professionally or earn a professional income, leaving her beholden to the crown.

The couple's recent announcement about stepping back from their royal duties will change that, allowing them to pursue becoming "financially independent" starting in April.

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