Meghan Markle is the ultimate transformer. She has gone from briefcase girl on a game show to esteemed actress to British royal and now entertainment mogul with a soaring net worth. It‘s been quite a rollercoaster journey – let‘s take a closer look.
Meghan‘s Early Life and Career Beginnings
Long before her royal fairytale, Meghan Markle was born on August 4, 1981 in Los Angeles. Her father was a lighting director and her mother a social worker.
Meghan attended Northwestern University, where she got her first taste of acting by starring in student films and productions.
After graduating college with a double major in theater and international relations in 2003, Meghan started landing minor acting roles. Her first gig was playing a nurse on an episode of the daytime soap opera General Hospital.
Over the next few years, she scored parts on shows like Century City, Love, Inc. and The War at Home, plus small roles in films like A Lot Like Love and Deceit.
While these were modest beginnings, it gave Meghan a foundation of acting experience.
Her big break came in 2006 when she was cast on the game show Deal or No Deal as Briefcase Model #24. Meghan appeared in 34 episodes over 2006-2007.
While hardly prestigious, the exposure did wonders to boost Meghan‘s profile. Remember, this was a popular prime time show averaging over 17 million viewers an episode.
According to Meghan, she was earning about $7,500 per episode of Deal or No Deal. Very decent money that added up quickly with 34 episodes, especially for a starter Hollywood job.
Steady Ascent Through TV Roles
Deal or No Deal provided the springboard to Meghan‘s next round of TV auditions.
She landed a 9 episode stint as Junior FBI Agent Amy Jessup in the sci-fi thriller Fringe in 2009.
Next came her first regular cast role as Rachel Zane on Suits. Premiering in 2011, this lawyer drama became a massive hit.
Meghan would appear in 108 episodes up until 2018 when she exited the show for her royal destiny.
Rachel Zane propelled Meghan from rising actress to genuine TV star. According to reports, she earned an estimated $50,000 per episode by the end of the show‘s run. Not bad!
Across her early career, Meghan‘s net worth steadily grew:
- 2005 (early career): $200,000
- 2010 (post-Deal or No Deal): $500,000
- 2015 (Suits in full swing): $2 million
While hardly A-lister rich, she was hustling and earning far more than most actors who never get their big break.
Becoming a Royal and Estimated Net Worth
Of course, Meghan Markle became truly famous for her relationship and eventual marriage to Prince Harry of the British Royal Family.
After being set up on a blind date in 2016, Meghan and Harry‘s romance quickly blossomed. They kept it lowkey initially, but intense media scrutiny soon arose around the American actress dating a prince.
Despite the pressure, the couple became engaged in November 2017. This led to a gorgeous fairytale wedding at Windsor Castle in May 2018 watched by 29 million worldwide.
Now a member of the royal family, Meghan became Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. She also received the honor of HRH (Her Royal Highness).
So what was Meghan‘s net worth around the royal wedding? By conservative estimates:
- Assets: $5 million (mostly from acting career)
- Annual allowance: $1 million/year from the Queen and Prince Charles
Not exactly chump change, but the royals largely live on inherited wealth vs personal incomes.
Seeking Independence and Financial Freedom
In January 2020, Meghan and Harry sent shockwaves by announcing plans to "step back as senior members" of the royal family.
Instead, they wanted to become financially independent and split time between North America and the UK.
This bombshell decision – dubbed "Megxit" – was an unprecedented move. Royals historically don‘t work or earn significant personal income.
But Meghan and Harry were determined to gain more creative freedom by earning their own money. Free from relying purely on royal allowances or inheritance.
That brings us to their current net worth and income sources…
An Empire is Born – Production Deals Worth Over $100 Million
Once liberated from royal restrictions, Meghan and Harry wasted no time building a content empire.
The Netflix Deal:
- 5-year deal to produce documentaries, films, scripted shows and children‘s series
- Rumored to be worth $100 million+
- Formed production company Archewell Productions
The Spotify Deal:
- Multi-year deal to host and produce podcasts exclusively for Spotify
- Estimated worth: $30 million
- Prince Harry releasing memoir expected to earn $20 million
- Meghan rumored to be releasing her own memoir soon
These massive deals with Netflix and Spotify instantly transformed them into media moguls. Rather than relying on royal estates or inheritance, they now had their own income stream.
And make no mistake, Archewell Productions was not just a vanity project. Meghan and Harry were now positioned to earn income as creators and owners of valuable intellectual property.
Building a Content Catalog – The Road to $200 Million Net Worth?
For Meghan and Harry, this is likely just the beginning. Some industry experts predict their net worth doubling or tripling in the coming years.
Why? Because the real value comes from consistently building a content catalog over many years.
Every new film, series, podcast, book expands their catalog. The catalog becomes a valuable asset that generates income for years, even decades to come.
Think about wildly successful creators like Tyler Perry (25+ films), Ryan Murphy (Glee, American Horror Story), or Shonda Rhimes (Grey‘s Anatomy, Bridgerton). Over time, they accumulated huge catalogs of content worth hundreds of millions.
Now Meghan and Harry are playing the same long game. If they keep up output of 2-3 new projects per year, their future net worth potential is truly staggering.
Don‘t be surprised if Markle‘s net worth grows steadily towards the $200 million+ range in the years ahead. Perhaps even beyond.
Of course, we can‘t forget…
Plus, They‘re Still Royalty!
While Meghan and Harry are financially independent, they still receive some income from their royal connections.
Prince Charles funds 95% of their office and travel costs out of his own pocket – around $4.5 million/year. A nice perk!
Rumors suggest Charles may also give some direct "allowance" as he does for William and Kate. The amount is murky though.
They also live in a sprawling $14 million mansion in Montecito, California provided by a mystery benefactor (Oprah perhaps?).
Bottom line – even without senior royal duties, Meghan and Harry still enjoy prince/duchess privileges.
Meghan Markle Net Worth vs. Kate Middleton and Prince William
It‘s interesting to compare how Meghan‘s wealth stacks up to her royal relatives Prince William and Kate Middleton:
|Name||Net Worth (Estimated)|
|Meghan Markle||$60 million|
|Kate Middleton||$50 million|
|Prince William||$40 million|
At about $60 million combined, Harry and Meghan are essentially tied with William and Kate‘s $90 million.
The difference of course, is William and Kate‘s money comes from inheritance and traditional royal assets. It is more "old money."
Whereas Meghan and Harry are hustling by attracting huge business deals and leveraging their innate talent, drive, and fame. It is more "new money."
So Meghan can be applauded for her financial savviness and work ethic.
Final Thoughts – Meghan‘s Stunning Transformation
Meghan Markle‘s story is truly astonishing. In the span of just 10-15 years, she rose from a suitcase girl to an accomplished actress to royalty and now a bonafide media tycoon.
At only age 41, her growing net worth of $60+ million seems to just scratch the surface of her potential. Meghan is only getting started as an entrepreneur and influencer on the world stage.
While controversy continues to surround her departure from royal life, no one can deny Meghan‘s remarkable drive and ability to redefine herself. Regardless of title, her soaring career is a testament to hard work and fearlessly chasing dreams.
In Meghan‘s own words: "I‘ve worked my entire life ― as did my parents before me ― I paid my way through university, I forged a career for myself as an actress."
So whatever comes next in Meghan‘s unpredictable, unprecedented life, one thing is for sure: she will get there on her own terms, hustle and all.