7 Jun 2020

Prince Harry's Los Angeles plans 'in tatters'

From Sunday Morning, 4:00 pm on 7 June 2020

Dreams of a new life in Los Angeles have turned into a nightmare for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, as the pandemic strikes, says royal watcher Russell Myers.

Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, speaks to delegates as he attends a sustainable tourism summit at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre in Edinburgh.

Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, speaks to delegates as he attends a sustainable tourism summit at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre in Edinburgh. Photo: AFP

Myers, who is the Daily Mirror Royal Editor, said Prince Harry and wife Meghan provoked a crisis in the British monarchy when they stepped down as senior royals in January, but the plans they had hoped to pursue in Los Angeles have been thwarted by the Covid-19 outbreak.

It was understood Harry had told friends in the British Navy that he wanted to keep his role as a ceremonial head of the Royal Marines, Myers said. It is believed this will be allowed.

"Essentially what this means is he would need to back pedal a little bit from that infamous Sandringham summit he had in January with the Queen, his father Prince Charles, and his brother William at the helm, when he was essentially saying he wanted to leave his role, he wanted to go and seek his own financial independence, and he had to step back from all of his military roles and certainly some of his patronages... so he may have jumped the gun a little bit," Myers said.

"And certainly it would seem that Harry has been saying this to his military friends."

The pandemic had left Harry and Meghan facing an uncertain future, he said.

"All their plans are simply up in the air at the moment.

"They had huge plans once they settled in Los Angeles... to set up their own foundation and now obviously these plans are in tatters.

"They had plans to launch themselves into the corporate world, into the very, very lucrative world of public speaking, where they could potentially net millions and millions of pounds for a single gig."

Prince Charles was helping to support the couple for a year, but Myers said after that Harry and Meghan would need "an awful lot of money to maintain their lifestyle".

He said they were living in a 20 million pound mansion and paying 7000 pounds a day for security.

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Meghan Markle speaks at the Youth Employment Services Hub in Johannesburg, South Africa, while Prince Harry looks on. Photo: AFP

"Americans do see them as a couple who were constrained by royal life.

"Their celebrity culture is their royal family and that's kind of how they see Harry and Meghan.

"It remains to be seen how successful they will be."

Los Angeles was a foreign world for Harry, so he would be leaning on his LA-born wife, Myers said.

"It's been discussed about how many times can Harry wheel out this story of his own mental hardship?

"His mother dying very young has had a profound effect on him and he is able to speak from the heart on certain issues, but once you've done that... how many more times can you do it?

"I'm not sure how many strings he has to his bow."

October 30: THE DUKE AND DUCHESS OF SUSSEX'S VISIT TO NEW ZEALAND: Engagement 14. Public Walkabout, Viaduct Harbour, Auckland. October 30, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand.

Prince Harry and Meghan greet the public on a visit to Auckland's Viaduct Harbour in 2018. Photo: Supplied / Mark Tantrum (Tantrum Productions)

In contrast, Myers described Meghan as "very adaptable".

"She's a successful actress, she's had success speaking with the UN, speaking on a wide range of charitable endeavours.

"They could be a tour de force as a collective, but Harry really needs to find his feet.

"He's struggled since he left the army - perhaps that's why he's been speaking to his military pals, saying he misses his old life."

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Prince Harry leaves a Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey in London in March. Photo: AFP