In US or Canada, will Harry and Meghan find what they are looking for?
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New York (AFP)
Prince Harry and wife Meghan could make a fortune in North America but may not find the privacy there that they crave, say experts, as the royal family-loving United States buzzes with speculation about where the couple might live.
Celebrity speaking engagements, book and television deals, and even brand endorsements: the couple's opportunities on the other side of the Atlantic are "unlimited," according to public relations guru Ronn Torossian.
"Their global appeal rivals the Obamas, and their global appeal can rival Kylie Jenner or Jay Z or others," Torossian told AFP via email.
"There is no door which will not open for Harry and Meghan," added the CEO of New York City-based firm 5W Public Relations.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex rocked the British monarchy Wednesday by announcing they were resigning from frontline royal duties and planned to balance their time between Britain and North America.
Harry 35, and Meghan, 38, said they were seeking "financial independence," pricking the ears of US talent managers who would love to get the prince and former actress on their books.
Sharron Elkabas, the chief executive of booking agency MN2S, said the couple could charge seven-figure fees for a single speaking engagement.
"Harry and Meghan would be one of the most valuable talents in the global industry and become extremely sought-after, receiving hundreds if not thousands of potential opportunities," Elkabas told AFP.
"As the most progressive royal couple to date, they represent a new era and a change in the royal rituals, which provides a unique angle and only serves to broaden their audience," he added, calling them "pioneers."
- Philanthropy -
Analysts say they would likely restrict their work to the charity sector and causes they both believe in.
Last month, Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper reported that Markle had recently reconnected with contacts in Los Angeles as part of plans to launch a charitable foundation in the United States.
"For a similar example, look at Barack and Michelle Obama: they will only speak at events that seek to change the lives of others or empower those in need," said Elkabas.
Torossian estimates that the photogenic and globally recognizable couple could even earn eight or nine figures annually in deals, if their status within the royal family allows it.
"Any publishing house in the world wants their book, any brand wants social media posts, and any company wants endorsement deals from them," he said.
Some commentators have suggested that the couple could sign a television deal with Oprah Winfrey.
The US talk show queen was a guest at their star-studded wedding in 2018 and Harry is already teaming up with her to produce a documentary series about mental health for Apple TV+.
Monarchy-less America has long been obsessed with Britain's royal family.
The fascination is sometimes dated back to the abdication of King Edward VIII in 1936 to marry American divorcée Wallis Simpson.
The marriage into the family of LA-born actress Markle, whose mother is African-American, enhanced the admiration.
Almost 30 million television viewers tuned in for their wedding 2018, according to research firm Nielsen, well above the number who watched Harry's brother William tie the knot with Kate Middleton in 2011.
Speculation is rife in US tabloids about which North American city Harry and Meghan will choose to set up a home in.
The smart money seems to be on somewhere in Canada. The royals spent several weeks holidaying on Vancouver Island over Christmas and Markle lived in Toronto for several years while filming television series "Suits."
- Lower profile? -
The New York Post, citing an unnamed source close to the couple, said Markle wanted to live in California, however. Her mother, Doria Ragland, lives in Los Angeles.
Harry's cousin Princess Beatrice lives and works in New York but the couple are unlikely to find the privacy there that they apparently desire to bring up their son Archie.
Experts say the United States will appeal to them because Americans do not tend to demonstrate the cynicism and dislike of the royal family that some Brits do.
"My sense is that Harry and Meghan feel similarly about America, the more relaxed environment where they're still appreciated," Boston University Associate Professor Arianne Chernock told AFP.
But she warns that they will have to be "judicious" about the choices they make, so as not to undermine the crown.
Analysts also say that America's voracious paparazzi and celebrity-obsessed culture mean they may not be able to carve out the lower profiles they desperately want.
In 2012, naked photos of Harry playing strip billiards in a Las Vegas hotel went viral.
"They will have to be vigilant in maintaining their privacy," said Torossian.
© 2020 AFP