When Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced they were stepping away from their royal duties last year to pursue their own careers, the shock of the revelation was felt around the globe. But according to Duncan Larcombe, a former royal editor and author of the book Prince Harry: The Inside Story, that huge amount of controversy is precisely why there’s so much riding on their success now.
Speaking with Closer this week, Larcombe explained that the stakes are high for the couple when it comes to their new projects—like their production company Archewell Productions, a reported multimillion-dollar, multiyear deal with Netflix, a tell-all memoir, and a speculated podcasting deal with Spotify. “With these deals, there’s tremendous pressure on Harry and Meghan to deliver and make a success of their life in America,” Larcombe told the publication. “They’ve caused such an uproar—for both the royal family and in the media—that they don’t really have the option of failing. It would be the ultimate humiliation.”
Larcombe also guessed how Harry and Meghan might be feeling about their standing with the rest of the royal family, and how the UK backlash to their Oprah interview may be affecting them emotionally. “I’ve reported on Harry since he was a teenager and he was the most popular member of the royal family. And going from that to where he is now must be really hard for him and probably adds to his anger,” he told the publication.
He added, “It’s worrying to think what Harry has left if his American life fails for him. I don’t think he’ll be welcomed back as a working royal, but he would as a brother, son and grandson.”
Obviously all of this is speculation, but it raises the question of whether the multiple, high-profile deals that Harry and Meghan have been signing off on can justify the controversy their departure from the royal family caused. While Americans can’t seem to get enough of the royal couple, it remains to be seen how much audiences stateside will react to every project in the current pipeline. Then again, even when we get radio silence from the Harry and Meghan, we’re still glued to any news about them—a good indicator that U.S. audiences are willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. We'll see when their first Archewell Netflix series, Heart of Invictus, which follows athletes preparing for the 2022 Invictus Games, premieres.