Touching right down to a metropolis in lockdown can not have been what the Duke and Duchess of Sussex had in thoughts after they had imagined beginning a brand new life in Los Angeles. With a stay-at-home order in place, all actions normally related with the metropolis – premieres, events, occasions and schmoozing – had been on maintain after they reportedly arrived final month, and studios had stopped manufacturing.
Following months of drama swirling round Harry and Meghan’s determination to step down as working royals, which formally got here into pressure on Wednesday, in the face of a lethal world pandemic they’ve lastly taken a backseat in the public consciousness.
Reports of their sudden arrival in Meghan’s hometown from Canada, simply earlier than the US closed its border amid the coronavirus outbreak, had been greeted with subdued shock. They had been residing on Vancouver Island with their 10-month-old son Archie since their shock announcement in January that they had been leaving in the hunt for a “more peaceful life”.
Donald Trump made time to greet them – by way of Twitter after all – in trademark fashion. “The US will not pay for their security protection,” he wrote. “They must pay!” They don’t seem to be cowed by the president’s welcome word, issuing a swift rebuttal to Trump, saying they’d “no plans to ask the US government for security resources”, including: “Privately funded security arrangements have been made.”
According to their ultimate Instagram put up below their former identities – they will now not use the time period “Sussex Royal” – they’re “focusing this new chapter to understand how we can best contribute”.
Clearly main modifications are already below manner. As they parted methods with Buckingham Palace, in addition they wasted no time in saying the appointment of new chief of staff Catherine St-Laurent, who beforehand labored for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
So what lies in retailer for the couple? And when life in the metropolis begins to return to regular – assuming it will – what would possibly their day-to-day lives seem like?
Melanie Bromley, chief news correspondent and head of news operations for E!, says: “As much as they both have – Meghan especially – some roots in Canada, LA is her home. It is where she grew up, it’s the place that she knows best, and so it isn’t a surprise that they’re here. I think what has surprised people is just the fact that they came here so quickly.”
As quickly as the metropolis kicks again into enterprise once more, the couple are anticipated to shoot to the prime of everyone’s invite lists. “Ultimately, this is a city where royalty trumps celebrity,” says LA-based Bromley. “They are potentially the most famous residents of Los Angeles – or at least they’re on the same level as Oprah [Winfrey], as that kind of celebrity, AAA list.”
The couple are presently residing in a “secluded compound”, based on People. Meghan, a self-professed “Cali girl”, grew up in LA in Woodland Hills, and her mom, Doria Ragland, lives in the metropolis. But Harry, 35, and Meghan, 38, are reportedly house-hunting in the ocean-facing movie star hotspot of Malibu.
To get a way of the scale of their intentions, Bromley says look no additional than the appointment of St-Laurent.
“That’s a huge hire of somebody who knows the foundation world, who has relevance in that industry, who’s a real heavy hitter – and that hire alone tells me how serious Meghan and Harry are when it comes to what their new life will look like,” she says.
While they’ve but to supply particulars on what kind their charity would possibly take, causes are prone to embrace psychological well being, the atmosphere and the local weather disaster, gender equality and girls and ladies’ rights.
And what about work? Under their new plan, they will now not depend on taxpayer funding and will as an alternative earn their very own revenue.
Meghan’s first gig, doing the voiceover for Disneynature documentary Elephant, launched on streaming platform Disney+ on Friday, was met with usually heat opinions. But it gained’t earn her cash as a result of she donated her charge to conservation charity Elephants Without Borders.
However, the documentary will be an attention-grabbing take a look at of her “bankability” as a star, says LA Times leisure business reporter Anousha Sakoui. “Disney will get the first insight into the sellability of their name when it comes to content. Immediately, that has got some profile.” While royalty “has a mystique that sells’, she says that “the popularity is what’s important to studios. They are money-making organisations”.
Ted Sarandos, Netflix chief content material officer, has voiced his curiosity in working with the couple, and final yr Prince Harry introduced he had teamed up with Winfrey for a documentary collection on psychological well being for Apple TV+.
Sakoui warns, nonetheless, that everyone in LA has a lifespan and has to work for consideration – even A-list celebrities and royalty. “There’s a lot of people competing for attention, and they will have to compete for them as well. But they have great connections.”
Joe Bel Bruno, editor-in-chief of web site dot.LA, believes that after the metropolis reopens for enterprise, the couple will be wanted for each Hollywood and charity perform.
“We already have a lot of celebrities, and we have multibillionaires who live here from the business world who like to entertain and like to throw these sort of events, and they will be No 1 on the list. Everyone will be clamouring to get them because we don’t have royals here, so this elevates the scene a bit.”
The proliferation of wealth in LA additionally makes it an excellent place to fundraise. “It’s the perfect place for them building a foundation. And then on top of that, Meghan is able to pursue her Hollywood career, and she will be sought after just for her name and status,” he says.
Meanwhile, he thinks that lots of companies – reminiscent of Snapchat, primarily based in Santa Monica – and charities will be inquisitive about working with Harry. “There are companies based here that would welcome him to be on their boards, just as status.”
Mindy Weiss, social gathering marketing consultant to the stars, says when the Sussexes aren’t working with charities, she will be able to see Meghan as a fan of Goop – Gwyneth Paltrow’s life-style model, additionally primarily based in Santa Monica – and Harry taking part in polo.
But safety will be important, she says, as the paparazzi are “aggressive”. “The paps will love them, and it will be crazy at the beginning – but, just like anything and any celebrity, eventually they become part of the community and it just becomes a normalcy in La La Land.”
Phil Lobel, whose Hollywood PR firm Lobeline Communications lists Brad Pitt amongst its earlier purchasers, says Harry and Meghan will be “the new it couple” and can see them supporting quite a few charities in the southern California space.
The couple have enlisted the providers of PR agency Sunshine Sachs, whose purchasers embrace Ben Affleck and Leonardo DiCaprio.
But by way of their model, Jeetendr Sehdev, LA movie star branding professional and creator of US bestselling e book The Kim Kardashian Principle , believes they will not observe any preordained guidelines, and that their “disruptive” strategy particularly appeals to Generation Z.
“The Meghan and Harry brand has always been very disruptive. They’re going to show us all a different way in which royal family members can live,” he says.
He sees their prime income stream as being their charity – a “forward-thinking woke charitable foundation” – e book endorsements and different endorsements, talking engagements, and from “Harry opening up about his life as a royal family member”.
“The closest comparison to Meghan and Harry will be the Obamas and what they’re actually doing, I mean they’ve created an entertainment entity where they’re producing documentaries and I think that will be a similar route that Meghan and Harry can certainly take.”
But, he says, Meghan is a extra “natural fit” of their new environment than Harry, whose model goes to take a little bit extra work. While he doesn’t assume they need to mannequin themselves on present LA royalty, the Kardashians, he does assume they should observe their instance in terms of opening up. “Letting people into who they are – because at the moment we don’t really know who Meghan and Harry are. We just know that they’re part of the royal family.”
So, will they get the peaceable life they had been hoping for? “I don’t believe Meghan and Harry are moving out to Los Angeles for a peaceful life,” stated Sehdev. “I think they’re moving here for a particular type of lifestyle.”