Barack and Michelle Obama have advised the Sussexes on their plans for a new life outside the Royal Family. Harry and Meghan have become close friends with the former US president and his lawyer wife and turned to them for help.
The Queen’s grandson and his wife want to model themselves on the Obamas, who have both brought out extraordinarily successful autobiographies. Mrs Obama’s Becoming sold 1.4million copies in its first week and is set to become the biggest-selling autobiography of all time, having shifted over 10 million copies so far.
It has also seen her embark on a lucrative global speaking tour. The couple have formed a production company and signed a deal to make films and documentaries with Netflix. Their ambition to produce a series of worthy ‘humanistic projects’, attracting participants using their ‘star power’, is a model that is said to appeal hugely to former actress Meghan. Harry has already collaborated on an Apple TV series on mental health with US talk show host Oprah Winfrey, who is also a friend.
It follows the duke and duchess’s bombshell statement on Wednesday announcing – against Buckingham Palace advice – that they were stepping down as senior royals. Royal aides last night told the Mail the Government is now involved in negotiations over the couple’s future roles. Sources close to Harry and Meghan said they were ‘hopeful’ that discussions to find solutions can be concluded ‘sooner rather than later’.
It is understood that a series of meetings and phones calls were held all day yesterday by officials trying to work up proposals, with the Canadian government consulted as well as British officials. But senior royal sources admitted that no one is entirely sure whether a compromise that would keep the Sussexes happy can be achieved. Harry is staying at Frogmore Cottage, the couple’s Windsor estate home.
Insiders insisted yesterday that he always planned to stay in Britain when his wife flew back to Canada this week.
Meghan is busy working with friends on their future plans. Sources confirmed Harry and Meghan had discussed their plans with the former US president and his wife and wanted to mimic the way they had managed to build a successful, but dignified, life for themselves after the White House. A source said: ‘They have found huge commercial success without actually looking like they are getting their hands dirty, to put it bluntly, and retaining their popularity.
‘In fact it is fair to say that their star has soared since leaving the White House, particularly Michelle’s, and this is something Meghan admires very, very much.’
Harry has been friends with the couple for years, bonding over humanitarian and military issues, as well as his inspirational Invictus Games for wound military personnel and veterans.
They even took part in a video skit with the Queen to publicise it. Meghan is also close friends with the former US first lady, and secretly attended a talk Mrs Obama gave in London in 2018. Last summer the duchess interviewed the mother-of-two for her collaboration with British Vogue. Meghan also wrote of how Mrs Obama had become ‘such a globally respected public figure’. She said: ‘Whatever your background, it’s easy to feel connected to Mrs Obama.
There’s something magical about the way in which she draws you in with her endearingly frank, down-to-Earth personality.’ Since leaving office Mr Obama, 58, and his wife, 55, have set up a charitable foundation that champions good causes including girls’ education. They signed a joint book deal with Penguin Random House worth a reported £50million in 2017 and spent some of their new-found wealth on a luxury home in Martha’s Vineyard, off Cape Cod.
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