No business like showbusiness for Sussexes as they launch new entertainment firms

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Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex - Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images
Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex - Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have laid out a blueprint for their work outside the Royal family with a series of business filings, showing more than half their new companies set up for the “entertainment” business.

The couple, who now live in California and have already signed deals to produce Netflix shows and a Spotify podcast, are to pursue entertainment in earnest after stepping away from their life as working members of the Royal family to find “financial independence”.

Last week, it emerged that the couple had set up 11 companies in Delaware, the state known for its flexible business laws and low personal income tax rates.

The Telegraph can reveal that two further companies were registered on the same date, by the same lawyer and business manager who have represented the Duchess since she was an actress.

They appear to have names which are meaningful to the couple, with one – Cloverdale Inc – bearing the same name as the street that the Duchess lived on with her mother in Los Angeles when she was young.

Both Cloverdale and a second company, Riversoul Productions Inc, are set up explicitly in the “entertainment” industry, and join companies Hampshire LLC, Bridgemont LLC and IPHW LLC.

Meghan Markle in an episode of Suits in 2017, before she left to become the Duchess of Sussex - Shane Mahood/USA Network
Meghan Markle in an episode of Suits in 2017, before she left to become the Duchess of Sussex - Shane Mahood/USA Network

The couple are already known to be working under the names Archewell Productions, to create their television output for Netflix, and Archewell Audio, which is expected to produce podcast episodes under a deal with Spotify.

They total seven separate companies specifically in the entertainment industry, along with another two publishing companies and three investment firms to match their one not-for-profit foundation.

The companies appear to be a significant change of direction for the Sussexes, who have emphasised their dedication to their philanthropy and non-profit work through Archewell.

The pair appear on the paperwork for two publishing companies: Peca Publishing, which has the rights to the Duchess’s children’s book The Bench, and is thought to be named for the Spanish word for her freckles; and Orinoco Publishing, reported to house the Duke’s forthcoming autobiography.

Three other companies, Nemawashi Holdings, Baobab Holdings and RPV Holdings, are set up for investments.

The companies were each incorporated by Richard Genow, the Duchess’s long-time attorney, and Andrew Meyer, her business manager.

Most were registered on July 16 2021, and can be found in public records registered in California and Delaware.

A spokesman for the Sussexes declined to comment.

Sussexes’ growing portfolio

It is not uncommon for business leaders to set up multiple entities in the US, with experts suggesting the practice protects them from the potential failure of one company impacting on another.

They follow numerous commercial ventures for the Sussexes, both of whom have recently been announced as “impact officers” at US fintech firm Ethic.

The Duke has already taken several new roles in the US, including as chief impact officer at coaching app Better Up and one of a panel of commissioners at the Aspen Institute’s “Commission on Information Disorder”.

It is not thought the Duchess is planning a return to acting, although she has done voiceover work since becoming a member of the Royal family.

The couple have both, however, made high-profile television appearances including the Duchess performing a comedy sketch on chat show Ellen, and the Duke making a star turn on The Late Late Show with James Corden.

Fans have expected them to build on their production work, following in the professional footsteps of Barack and Michelle Obama after they left the White House in creating on-message programmes in line with their public campaigning.

The Duchess is already creating an animated children’s series for Netflix about a 12-year-old girl called Pearl “who learns to step into her own power when she embarks on a heroic adventure and meets important women from history along the way”.

When the couple, at the time Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, announced their engagement, they were asked in a BBC interview about the actress’s decision to leave her career in television drama Suits to join the Royal family.

“I don’t see it as giving anything up, I just see it as a change,” she said then. “It’s a new chapter.”

Saying she had been “very fortunate” to work on a long-running series, she told the Duke on camera: “I feel really proud of the work I’ve done there [on Suits] and now it’s time to, as you said, work as a team with you.”

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