A flailing charity and a disappearing act: What Meghan and Harry's life looks like now.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle made history when they stepped down as senior royals in January 2020.

The pair announced they would take a "step back" from their duties, work to become financially independent and split their time between the United Kingdom and the United States. It was a move that seemed to shock the rest of the British royal family who, by all accounts, had no idea the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were removing themselves from the fold.

After their departure from England, Harry and Meghan moved to the affluent town of Montecito, California, lined up many new business deals and ventures and in January 2021, welcomed their daughter, Lilibet. 

But fast-forward to 2023, and the past year has been less than successful for the public's perception of them, it seems.

Watch: Meghan tells Oprah about The Firm 'perpetuating falsehoods'. Post continues below.

Video via CBS.

Prince Harry kicked off the year with the release of his memoir, Spare, in January. The much-anticipated book detailed his life as a child, how he dealt with the loss of his mother, Princess Diana, and of course, the breakdown of his relationship with both his father, King Charles, and brother, Prince William.

It was one of the best-selling books of 2023, but it didn't win Harry any popularity points, with many criticising the Prince for sharing too many intimate details.


The couple were then involved in a car chase with paparazzi in New York in May. But while the pair were terrified during the ordeal and their team calling it "near catastrophic", various media outlets and royalists criticised Prince Harry and Markle for playing up an exaggerated version of events.

Then in June, Spotify abruptly cut ties with Meghan, declining to renew her podcast, Archetypes, for a second season and ending what would've been a very lucrative deal. The decision came not too long after Netflix abandoned its animated series Pearl, which Markle was supposed to narrate.

Of course, with the November release of the new royals book Endgame, written by journalist and author Omid Scobie, the pot was stirred once again for the former royals – although it seems the pair are lying low amid the chaos this time around.

It's a purposeful move from the Duchess, who "doesn't want anything to do with it", Scobie told PEOPLE magazine. 

"For Harry it's different," Scobie continued. "He still has unfinished business when it comes to his battles with the press. 

"His challenge will be to find something that balances that out so we can see him working in a space that isn’t connected to the ties that bind from the past," Scobie added.

But on the work front, things have been looking fairly grim, too, with the organisation they founded, the Archewell Foundation, taking a massive financial hit this year – to the tune of a reported AU$16.7 million.

Just this week, tax filings showed that in 2022, only two major donors gave around AU$1.5 million each – a huge drop compared to the almost AU$15 million they received from an unidentified donor a year prior.

Despite this, a clip showing Archewell's 2023 impact was released, promoting a seemingly successful 12 months. In the short video, the Duke and Duchess show the people and causes their foundation helped in 2023, including a mental health summit talk, a group of workers rebuilding a playground in Uvalde, Texas, following the school shooting, and Markle hosting a panel discussion at the World Mental Health Day Festival.


In December, the pair then released their family Christmas card - a very royal tradition.

They chose a photo from the closing ceremony of the 2023 Invictus Games, which took place in September in Düsseldorf, Germany. The card was released just hours after Harry won his phone hacking lawsuit against Mirror Group Newspapers.

Meghan and Harry's Christmas card. Image: Archwell. 


British crisis manager Mark Borkowski said the past year for the couple has not played out in their favour – and the new book by Scobie, he continued, "backfired spectacularly".

"Something is beginning to unwind at the heart of Meghan and Harry. I think 2024 is going to be seismic, either because they're going to do something to recover and find a new positive tactic or it's going to be the undoing of the brand. It can only go one or two ways. It can't stay where it is at the moment. Because it's clearly not working," he told Daily Mail Online.

Not seeing Markle in public is also having an impact on the public's perception of her, Borkowski continued.

"We've seen countless appearances of Meghan on red carpets. The story of her being back in play in Hollywood is all about Meghan trying to return to her own turf and being available for work and getting back to Hollywood," he explained.

"But I would suggest they are getting – perhaps conveniently – left behind by the Hollywood machine, who have probably had enough of them and enough of the negativity.

"They're hinting [at] their big plans ahead, but you know, we've heard that all before. So they have to deliver something now."

Either way, Markle and Prince Harry are making their own rules – and whether that benefits them or not doesn't seem to be stopping them from trying.

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