Netflix is Pulling Out All the Stops for the Success of Its Partnership with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

A recent move shows the streaming service’s deep commitment to its collaborative efforts with the Sussexes.

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle
(Image credit: Getty)

As Prince Harry and Meghan Markle approach the three-year mark since signing a lucrative contract with Netflix, the streaming service seems as intent on their collaborative success as ever. As Marie Claire reported yesterday, Harry and Meghan have secured the film rights to the bestselling fiction book Meet Me at the Lake by Carley Fortune; however, whereas yesterday it was understood that Harry and Meghan’s production company, Archewell Productions, paid around $3 million for the rights to the novel, new information is emerging that it was reportedly Netflix that fronted the money—showing the streaming giant’s commitment to the partnership.

prince harry and meghan markle

(Image credit: Getty)

The deal was inked within the past few weeks, Page Six reports, and, while the rights are being paid for by Netflix, Archewell Productions will produce the film. The novel tells the story of a couple who meet in their thirties—Harry and Meghan met when they were 31 and 34, respectively—and has several ties to the couple’s real life experiences: Childhood trauma surrounding losing a parent in a car accident (reminiscent, of course, of Harry’s mother Princess Diana’s death in 1997, when he was just 12) and post-natal depression, which Meghan has opened up about experiencing. The book is “right up their alley,” a source told Page Six. “They love love stories and rom-coms.”

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle walk side by side

(Image credit: Getty)

The Sussexes have been restructuring Archewell Productions as of late, following the departure of producer Ben Browning, who was the company’s head of productions—he oversaw Harry and Meghan’s hit docuseries on Netflix, the eponymous Harry & Meghan. The company has also parted ways with its senior vice president of scripted television, Nishika Kumble. Meghan, who signed with talent agency William Morris Endeavor (WME) back in May, and Harry “have a lot of logs in the fire,” a source told Page Six. “Production is one piece of the pie. It’s not all entirely shaped by Ari [Emanuel, who is leading Meghan’s team]—they’ve had the deal with Netflix for a while.” Now, the source added, they “have the right team and vision in place and execution is happening.”

Referring to Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine production company—which has many times turned books into film or television projects—“Meghan’s not doing a Reese or making acquisitions for herself,” they said. “She doesn’t want to direct or act.” Someone who knows Harry and Meghan told the outlet that Meghan wants to be “a bit of Reese, a bit of Gwyneth [Paltrow, founder of Goop], a bit of Princess Kate, a bit of Gloria Steinem.” (Or maybe, perhaps, she could just be Meghan and do it her way? Just a thought.)

Meghan Markle

(Image credit: Getty)

In addition to Harry & Meghan, Harry’s project Heart of Invictus, about his Invictus Games organization, is due to premiere this month, and Harry will also do another solo documentary that will take him to Africa, a continent long close to his heart. After that, it seems the focus will shift from documentaries to fiction projects.

Fortune, who wrote Meet Me at the Lake, called her collaboration with the Sussexes a “perfect partnership,” per The Independent. Fortune, who is based in Toronto (a city that Meghan loves, and where she filmed Suits), has previously called the book a “love letter to Toronto” and told The Independent “I’m so thrilled about working with Netflix and Archewell to bring Meet Me at the Lake to the screen. Will and Fern [the book’s main characters]’s love story is dear to my heart, and I can’t imagine a more perfect partnership.” 

The book, which came out this past May, debuted at No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list.

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.