From Windsor to the White House? Same publisher. Same Netflix and Spotify deals


When starting a new life, it’s always helpful to have the support of close friends. And if the friends in question are the former president of the United States and his wife, so much the better — as Prince Harry and wife Meghan are discovering.

As the Mail revealed last year, the couple have been taking advice from Barack and Michelle Obama about life outside the Royal Family

Harry has known them for years, bonding over humanitarian and military issues, as well as his inspirational Invictus Games for injured military personnel and veterans. 

Meghan is a huge admirer of the former U.S. First Lady, secretly attending a talk Michelle gave in London in 2018.

So when launching their new life in the U.S., no wonder it was to the Obamas that Harry and Meghan looked for inspiration.

Since leaving the White House in 2017, they have earned a fortune by selling rights to their autobiographies, embarking on lucrative speaking tours and setting up a production company and charitable foundation. 

The couple are now said to be worth $135 million (£97 million), and everyone loves them.

Who can blame the Sussexes for adopting a remarkably similar blueprint? Book deals, podcasts, Netflix deals, charitable deeds — they’re matching them step for step. Surely a run at the presidency is only a matter of time . . .

When starting a new life, it’s always helpful to have the support of close friends. And if the friends in question are the former president of the United States and his wife, so much the better — as Prince Harry and wife Meghan are discovering

FROM NETFLIX TO MEGFLIX

In 2018, the Obamas signed a $50 million (£35 million) multi-year deal to produce films and documentaries for Netflix. Projects include a documentary of Michelle’s arena-filling book tour and a biopic about Tenzing Norgay, the Sherpa mountaineer who, along with Sir Edmund Hillary, became the first to climb to the top of Mount Everest, in 1953.

But Harry and Meghan’s deal is said to be double that, at an eye-watering $100 million (£70 million).

One of their first offerings will be a collaboration between Meghan and David Furnish — husband of Elton John — to produce an animated show called Pearl about ‘a 12-year-old girl who finds inspiration in influential women’. Some have speculated the series will be based on Meghan’s own life.

PODCAST PLUTOCRATS

The Obamas’ multi-million-dollar deal with audio-streaming giant Spotify in 2019 was followed last July by the premiere of The Michelle Obama Podcast, in which the former First Lady discusses relationships with key people in her life.

Then, earlier this year, Renegades: Born In The USA was launched, featuring long-time friends Obama and rock legend Bruce Springsteen chewing the fat about everything from modern manhood to the state of present-day America.

At £18 million the Sussexes’ deal is said to be one of the largest ever signed for a new podcast. Thus far the content comprises a 35-minute ‘holiday special’ episode.

PECKING ORDER IN POLITICS

When a friend recently asked Michelle Obama whether she could ever be persuaded to run for president, she replied: ‘Absolutely not. I love the life I’m having now.’

But what about Meghan? Ever since the couple moved across the Atlantic, speculation has been growing that she is eying up a place in the history books — as America’s first woman president.

The couple have made little secret of their political beliefs.

During the U.S. election last year they levelled a thinly veiled attack on Donald Trump by urging voters to ‘reject hate speech’.

And earlier this year there were reports that Meghan had been networking among senior Democrats with a view to building a campaign and fundraising teams for a tilt at the U.S. presidency. Watch this space? Yes we can!

BIRTHDAY TWINNING

On August 4, Barack Obama celebrates his 60th birthday — and Meghan her 40th. The former president is said to be marking the day with a lavish party at his Martha’s Vineyard holiday home.

How Meghan intends to celebrate is unclear. But, with Oprah Winfrey and George Clooney reportedly on the Obama guest list, there’s the risk of old friends falling out over shared friends . . . 

IN STEP WHEN IT COMES TO STYLE 

If further proof were needed as to how powerful a muse Michelle is to Meghan, take a peek in their wardrobes. 

Never can there be a bigger compliment than someone copying you frock-for-frock. 

The striking, yellow Jason Wu sheath dress Michelle wore on a tour of Italy in 2009 (left) is strikingly similar to the £1,150 Brandon Maxwell crepe midi dress worn by Meghan to a Commonwealth Youth reception in 2018 (right). 

Michelle Obama

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex

The striking, yellow Jason Wu sheath dress Michelle wore on a tour of Italy in 2009 (left) is strikingly similar to the £1,150 Brandon Maxwell crepe midi dress worn by Meghan to a Commonwealth Youth reception in 2018 (right)

More glamorous still was the then First Lady’s black £2,500 Michael Kors one shoulder dress worn for a 2012 dinner for Shimon Peres, the late Israeli president. The look was mirrored by Meghan in 2018 with a £10,000 black velvet Clare Waight Keller at the London Fashion Awards. 

Then there are the turquoise dresses — worn first by Michelle in 2012 as she met members of the U.S. Olympic team and followed by Meghan’s similar Victoria Beckham number in London last year at a function. 

THE PLUSH PALACES

With their new-found wealth in 2019, the Obamas enlarged their property portfolio, purchasing a swanky $11.75 million (£8.5 million) waterfront home in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, the summer playground for America’s wealthy East Coast elite. It has seven bedrooms, a pool and sits in 30 acres of land.

Over on the West Coast, the Sussexes splashed out on a mansion of their own. Costing $14.65 million (£10.6 million), their home in Santa Barbara, California, boasts nine bedrooms, a library, office, spa, wine cellar and five-car garage. So who gets the first invite?

With their new-found wealth in 2019, the Obamas enlarged their property portfolio, purchasing a swanky $11.75 million (£8.5 million) waterfront home in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, the summer playground for America's wealthy East Coast elite. It has seven bedrooms, a pool and sits in 30 acres of land

With their new-found wealth in 2019, the Obamas enlarged their property portfolio, purchasing a swanky $11.75 million (£8.5 million) waterfront home in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, the summer playground for America’s wealthy East Coast elite. It has seven bedrooms, a pool and sits in 30 acres of land

Over on the West Coast, the Sussexes splashed out on a mansion of their own. Costing $14.65 million (£10.6 million), their home in Santa Barbara, California, boasts nine bedrooms, a library, office, spa, wine cellar and five-car garage. So who gets the first invite?

Over on the West Coast, the Sussexes splashed out on a mansion of their own. Costing $14.65 million (£10.6 million), their home in Santa Barbara, California, boasts nine bedrooms, a library, office, spa, wine cellar and five-car garage. So who gets the first invite?

TWO FIRST LADIES OF TV

Oprah Winfrey signalled an early interest in Senator Obama when she endorsed his run for the White House in 2007. Four years later, in 2011, she welcomed America’s first black President and First Lady to her famous sofa, marking the first time a sitting U.S. president and his wife had appeared together on the primetime show.

The trio have become firm friends, and Barack and Michelle have individually appeared with Oprah many more times since. 

The Sussexes’ association with Oprah began even earlier in their relationship — when they invited her to their 2018 wedding at Windsor Castle. 

US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama chat with talk show host Oprah Winfrey

US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama chat with talk show host Oprah Winfrey

Duke and Duchess of Sussex during their interview with Oprah Winfrey

Duke and Duchess of Sussex during their interview with Oprah Winfrey

And, this year, a huge 49 million viewers across the globe tuned in to the broadcasting coup of 2021 when the Sussexes celebrated finding freedom from the shackles of royal life — by talking for two hours to TV royalty Oprah about the shackles of royal life.

Oprah With Meghan And Harry: A CBS Primetime Special dropped a series of ‘truth bombs’ about racism, neglect and feuding within the House of Windsor — and it was only the warm-up act for a star-studded documentary series on mental health fronted by Oprah and her new BFF, Prince Harry, for Apple TV.

THE WORTHY CAUSES

With all this talk of mega-deals, multi-million-pound mansions and designer dresses, it would be easy to forget that the Obamas and the Sussexes do a lot of work for charity.

Neither Michelle nor Meghan are afraid to get their hands dirty — be it the former serving lunch to the homeless in Washington DC in 2009 or the latter, a decade later, helping out in The Hubb Community Kitchen in London.

And both couples have now set up their own charitable organisations in order to help spread their good works.

Michelle Obama serves lunch to the homeless at Miriam's Kitchen March 5, 2009

Michelle Obama serves lunch to the homeless at Miriam’s Kitchen March 5, 2009

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex visits the Hubb Community Kitchen in London on November 21, 2018

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex visits the Hubb Community Kitchen in London on November 21, 2018

Established in 2014, The Obama Foundation’s mission is to inspire ordinary people ‘to take action’ and to ’empower them to change their world for the better’.

Harry and Meghan’s charitable vehicle is called the Archewell Foundation. The name, the couple revealed, was inspired by the Greek word arche meaning ‘source of action’.

‘We connected to this concept for the charitable organisation we hoped to build one day, and it became the inspiration for our son’s name,’ they said in their mission statement.

‘To do something of meaning, to do something that matters.’

AFTER-DINNER SPEECHES

After leaving office, the Obamas signed up with New York-based Harry Walker Agency, with the former president commanding up to $400,000 (£288,000) for a single speech — a figure reflecting his extraordinary journey from humble roots to become the first ever African-American president. 

In June last year, the Duke and Duchess joined the same agency. 

Former US president Barack Obama

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex speaks on stage during WE Day UK 2019

After leaving office, the Obamas signed up with New York-based Harry Walker Agency, with the former president commanding up to $400,000 (£288,000) for a single speech — a figure reflecting his extraordinary journey from humble roots to become the first ever African-American president. In June last year, the Duke and Duchess joined the same agency

In February 2020, it emerged that Prince Harry had given a speech for bank JP Morgan in which he talked about being in therapy after the death of his mother.

Experts believe the couple will command similar if not higher fees than the Obamas.

MONEY-MAKING MEMOIRS… 

For their memoirs, the Obamas received a world-beating $65 million (£47 million) combined advance from Penguin Random House.

Michelle justified that early vote of confidence by selling 15 million copies of her autobiography, Becoming. 

The first volume of Obama’s presidential memoir, A Promised Land, cleared 887,000 copies on its first day of publication last year. 

Not to be outdone, last week Prince Harry announced his own book deal with the same publisher — said to be worth between £18 million and £29 million and involving up to four books in total, (although he says the proceeds of the first will go to charity).

The first is billed as an ‘accurate and wholly truthful’ account of Harry’s life written ‘not as the prince I was born but as the man I have become’. 

But some speculate that the real prize is a Meghan memoir — and the prospect of more dirt to be dished on the Royal Family.

AND CHILDREN’S BOOKS TOO

In 2010, Barack wrote Of Thee I Sing, a children’s book described as a ‘beautiful letter to his daughters’ and a ‘tribute to 13 groundbreaking Americans and the ideals that have shaped our nation’.

‘Have I told you how wonderful you are? How the sound of your feet running from afar brings dancing rhythms to my day?’ he wrote. This year, Meghan published her own children’s book entitled The Bench, with the same publishers.

Also illustrated by an award-winning artist, her 169-word long offering was inspired by a bench she bought for Harry for Father’s Day, on which she inscribed: ‘This is your bench/Where life will begin/For you and our son/Our baby, our kin.’

This year, Meghan published her own children's book entitled The Bench, with the same publishers.

In 2010, Barack wrote Of Thee I Sing, a children's book described as a 'beautiful letter to his daughters' and a 'tribute to 13 groundbreaking Americans and the ideals that have shaped our nation'.

In 2010, Barack wrote Of Thee I Sing, a children’s book described as a ‘beautiful letter to his daughters’ and a ‘tribute to 13 groundbreaking Americans and the ideals that have shaped our nation’. This year, Meghan published her own children’s book entitled The Bench, with the same publishers.



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