When you think about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, you probably don’t think about Netflix. But the royal couple was trying to change all of that. After they left England and eventually established themselves in America, Harry and Meghan struck a variety of media deals.
With these deals, their Archewell Productions would be dominating books, podcasts, shows, and more. To hear the couple talk about it, they want to revolutionize the multimedia landscape. And to hear the critics talk about it, this is the couple’s transparent attempt to rebrand as American celebrities and keep the money rolling in since Prince Charles cut them off.
Unfortunately for Megan and Harry, some of that money just stopped rolling in. Why? Because their Netflix deal fell to pieces!
What was the deal all about, and why did things fall apart? Keep reading to discover the answers!
Meghan and Harry’s Netflix deal
Back in September 2020, Harry and Meghan were on top of the world. That was when they inked a major deal with Netflix to produce multiple programs. According to Us Weekly, the two made nearly a cool $100 million off of the deal.
The royals seemed to have a lot of leeway about the content they would create. The first was a documentary series called The Heart of Invictus. It follows the inspirational stories of the 2020 Invictus competitors. Considering that Harry helped found the Invictus games, this project seems near and dear to his heart.
The second Netflix project was an animated series called Pearl. It was meant to follow the adventures of a 12-year-old girl who gets guidance and inspiration from women throughout history. This series was a real passion project for Meghan, but it has now been canceled due to Netflix’s own drama.
Netflix might as well be its own drama series
If you could stream the current Netflix situation, it would definitely be filed under “drama.” It all started with some shocking news: for the first time in more than 10 years, Netflix actually lost subscribers instead of gaining them. While TechRadar reports that Netflix still has more subscribers than any other streaming service, news of subscriber loss seriously lowered Netflix’s market value.
How low are we talking? According to CNBC, Netflix lost a staggering $50 billion off of its market cap. To make matters worse, most of Netflix’s recent attempts to right its ship have further eroded consumer confidence.
For example, they are now cracking down on account sharing. But across social media, users were quick to remind Netflix they once jokingly encouraged account sharing on Twitter. Netflix has also been consistently raising prices even as competition from other services (mostly Disney Plus) means less high-quality content. Finally, the company announced they would offer a lower-priced subscription model supported by ads, causing an outcry from users who say the lack of commercials is the best thing about Netflix.
As you might imagine, Netflix had to cancel a number of projects in the wake of the devastating financial news. Netflix’s animation division was arguably hit the hardest, resulting in the cancellation of the much-anticipated Bone cartoon. In other words, Harry and Meghan’s Pearl show was just one of many project casualties.
Meghan’s passion project
Meghan Markle made no secret of the fact that she was excited to create Pearl. Express reports that when the show was first announced, she said, “I’m thrilled that Archewell Productions, partnered with the powerhouse platform of Netflix and these incredible producers, will together bring you this new animated series, which celebrates extraordinary women throughout history.”
Describing the series’ titular protagonist, Meghan said, “Like many girls her age, our heroine Pearl is on a journey of self-discovery as she tries to overcome life’s daily challenges.”
It seems obvious that Meghan saw herself in Pearl. After all, Meghan was inspired by many women over the years, and she has been transparent about using different platforms to inspire young women. Now that the show has been canceled, though, we’ll never see what she had in store for us.
Royals now facing criticism
The sudden cancellation of a show presumably deep in production is bad news for Harry and Meghan. However, news of the cancellation actually sparked some rather venomous criticism.
For example, Express reports that royal commentator Angela Levin described the Pearl news as “Not only a disaster but the fact that it was announced last July and apparently there’s still nothing to show for it.” Continuing, she said that “Being a royal opens every door for you but if you leave you can’t just take the money you have to do some work.”
Is the criticism fair? That depends on how you look at it. For example, the two inked their deal in 2020 and announced Pearl in 2021. Levin seems to believe that if the royal couple was really putting in the effort, we would have seen something of this show before it was canceled.
However, animated productions tend to take longer than live-action productions. The show was formally announced in August 2021 and was formally canceled nine months later. It’s entirely possible that Harry, Meghan, and Netflix were still hiring vocal talent, designing characters, finding the right animation studio, and so on, meaning there really would be little to show less than a year later.
Fortunately for the couple, the end of Pearl is not the end of their partnership with Netflix. And if The Heart of Invictus is a big hit, we may see more from these royals in the near future.