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MEGXIT Meghan Markle and Prince Harry ‘made plans to cash in before split with royals’

A royal source said: "A lot of it was orchestrated by Meghan's people in America."

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Meghan and Harry began leaving the British royal family in early 2020. Photo: Simon Dawson

Meghan and Harry began leaving the British royal family in early 2020. Photo: Simon Dawson

Meghan and Harry began leaving the British royal family in early 2020. Photo: Simon Dawson

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were discussing future projects with a new billion-dollar backed US streaming service a year before they stepped down as senior royals, it has emerged.

Harry and Meghan had meetings with Quibi, a now-defunct rival to YouTube, from early 2019 until after they dropped their "Megxit" bombshell in January last year.

The Duke of Sussex rushed back from the so-called Sandringham summit with Queen Elizabeth to meet executives from the short video platform in London as plans for him to provide content apparently reached advanced stages.

In their interview with Oprah Winfrey, the couple said they “didn't have a plan” when leaving the British royal family but it is understood they had talks with executives of the €1.5bn start-up before their son Archie was born in May 2019.

The discussions are understood to have led to tensions with Buckingham Palace staff fearful they would be accused of "cashing in" on their status, and because the couple were predominantly consulting Meghan's US-based advisers.

According to someone with knowledge of the situation: "There were well developed proposals in place with Quibi from early 2019 onwards."

A royal source added: "A lot of it was orchestrated by Meghan's people in America."

Multiple sources in the UK and US confirmed there were numerous conversations with Quibi, including its founder Jeffrey Katzenberg, described as "one of Hollywood's premier political kingmakers", and Meg Whitman, chief executive, a former president of eBay.

Worth an estimated €750m, Mr Katzenberg, a former chairman of Walt Disney Studios, is one of the Democratic Party’s leading fundraisers, having supported Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Ms Whitman was a senior member of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaigns in both 2008 and 2012 and ran for governor of California as a Republican in 2010, but supported Democrats Mrs Clinton in 2016 and Joe Biden in 2020.

Harry and Meghan were viewed as the key to getting their “mobile-based Netflix” off the ground, and they were actively courted in the run-up to its eagerly anticipated launch in April 2020.

After Quibi drew up a proposal in early 2019, there were calls to discuss a plan for their own series of 10-minute videos. There was a meeting in London last January, which Harry attended with James Holt, the new executive director of Archewell, the couple's non-profit organisation.

Shortly afterwards, the couple relocated to Los Angeles, and the pandemic put all plans on hold.

Quibi did well on its launch last April, but by September, around the time the Sussexes announced they had signed a multimillion-dollar deal with Netflix, it was on the verge of shutting down.

(© Telegraph Media Group Ltd 2021)


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