Prince Harry and Meghan Want Financial Independence: How Other British Royals Earn Their Keep
When Prince Harry and Meghan Markle made their shock announcement to “step back” from their roles as senior royals last week, one of the reasons they cited was their desire to become “financially independent”. Previously funded by the Sovereign Grant (five per cent) and Prince Charles’ Duchy of Cornwall (95 per cent), these led to many questions about how the royal couple hoped to earn their keep. Prince Charles was also quick to express his stance that he would stop funding the Duke and Duchess of Sussex if they were to step away from their duties.
Now, following the Sandringham “summit” on Monday that saw Queen Elizabeth, Harry, Prince William, and Prince Charles discussing the couple’s future roles, this remains unclear, although the Queen has given her blessings—albeit regrettably—to help Harry and Meghan transition into their new roles.
While it is not uncommon for non-working royals to establish their own careers, senior royals, like Harry was, haven’t had much luck in that area.
Take Queen Elizabeth’s youngest son Prince Edward, for instance, who was determined to carve a career in entertainment. After producing an ill-received programme The Grand Knockout Tournament and subsequently a failed venture in launching television production company Ardent Productions, Edward stepped down from his role in 2002 and devoted his time to public duties in support of the Queen instead. Edward and his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex are currently funded by the Sovereign Grant for official duties and the Queen’s funds from the Duchy of Lancaster for their daily lives and the running of their royal residence.
Most recently, the Queen’s second son Prince Andrew has also been through public scrutiny for his links to financier and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, a friend he had made during his work as an international trade emissary for the British government, before he was forced to step down from the position. Following a disastrous interview to BBC Newsnight, Prince Andrew has since been removed from his official royal duties and has been lying low ever since.
As we await more announcements from Buckingham Palace to clear up our doubts, we take a look at the success stories from financially-independent royals who were raised away from the throne.
1/7 Princess Beatrice of York
Princess Beatrice, who is ninth in line to the British throne, studied at the Goldsmiths University of London for a BA in History and History of Ideas. Set to wed her multimillionaire boyfriend Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi this year, the elder York sister is currently employed with software company Afiniti, where she serves as vice-president of partnerships and strategy. Her company profile reveals that she was previously an associate at consumer-focused private equity firm Sandbridge, and a business development associate at Sony Pictures Television. Like most royals, she is also engaged in philanthropic work and is a patron to many charities and non-profits.
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2/7 Princess Eugenie of York
Prince Andrew’s youngest daughter Princess Eugenie majored in Art History, English Literature and Politics at Newcastle University. The more sociable and well-connected of the York sisters, Eugenie has forged a career for herself in the art scene as a director at the Hauser & Wirth art gallery. Prior to working with the gallery, Eugenie worked for New York-based online auction firm Paddle8 as a benefit auctions manager. She also supports various charities and is the co-founder of the Anti-Slavery Collective.
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3/7 Peter Phillips
Queen Elizabeth’s eldest grandson and Princess Anne’s eldest son, Peter Phillips is 15th in line to the throne. Graduating from the University of Exeter with a degree in sports science, the royal has held various sports-related positions in the course of his career. He has worked as a corporate hospitality manager for Jaguar, a senior account manager for Williams racing team, as well as a manager at the Royal Bank of Scotland in Edinburgh, where he helped “design and implement their first-ever global Formula One sponsorship programme". He is currently the managing director at Sports and Entertainment Limited UK, which he set up with long term mentor James Erskine.
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4/7 Zara Tindall
The younger daughter of Princess Anne, Zara Tindall is 18th in line to the throne. Known to be an accomplished equestrian, she won the Eventing World Championship in Aachen in 2006 and remained the reigning Eventing World Champion until 2010. Zara has also competed in the Olympics as a member of the British equestrian team, clinching a silver medal in the team event during the 2012 London Olympic Games. Like her mother, she is passionate about supporting charities, especially causes for spinal injuries, equestrian and children.
5/7 David Armstrong-Jones
The son of Princess Margaret and Antony Armstrong-Jones, David Armstrong-Jones is known professionally as David Linley, the same Linley that is responsible for founding the eponymous bespoke furniture brand. He has since lost control of the company, after selling its controlling shares for 4 million pounds in 2012. David was also the chairman of Christie’s UK in 2006, and eventually became the honorary chairman of Christie’s EMERI (Europe, Middle East, Russia, and India) in 2015.
6/7 Lady Sarah Chatto
Princess Margaret’s younger daughter, born Sarah Armstrong-Jones, is an award-winning artist, awarded The Windsor & Newton Prize in 1988 and The Creswick Landscape Prize in 1990. A professional painter represented by The Redfern Gallery, she has been exhibiting her work at the gallery since 1995. She has also been the vice-president of The Royal Ballet since 2004, which Princess Margaret was a patron of.
7/7 Lady Amelia Windsor
Lady Amelia Windsor, who is 39th in line to the throne, is the granddaughter of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent. Often dubbed the “most beautiful member of the royal family”, the young royal has carved out a career for herself as a fashion model with Storm Model Management, appearing on runways and fashion covers. She is also a contributing fashion editor at Tatler.com.
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This story originally appeared in Singapore Tatler.