Prince Harry Joins $1.7bn US Counseling Startup

 

Britain’s Prince Harry on Tuesday added to a growing portfolio of post-royal jobs, becoming “chief impact officer” at a San Francisco startup that provides mobile-based coaching, counseling, and mentorship.

Amid a highly public spat with Buckingham Palace, Harry and his American wife Meghan Markle, a mixed-race former television actress, now live in California after stepping away from royal duties.

An explosive interview they gave to Oprah Winfrey this month — in which they claimed an unnamed royal had asked how dark their baby’s skin would be — plunged the monarchy into its biggest crisis since the death of Harry’s mother, princess Diana, in 1997.

In his new role with BetterUp, the Duke of Sussex will champion the importance of maximizing human potential worldwide, according to chief executive Alexi Robichaux.

“I firmly believe that focusing on and prioritizing our mental fitness unlocks potential and opportunity that we never knew we had inside of us,” Prince Harry said in a BetterUp blog post.

“As the Royal Marine Commandos say, ‘It’s a state of mind.’ We all have it in us.”

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BetterUp’s platform combines behavioral science, artificial intelligence, and human coaching to optimize personal growth and professional development, according to the company, which last month announced it had raised $125 million in funding at a valuation of $1.73 billion.

In his new job, the prince — who said he had used the BetterUp platform himself — will not manage employees or have direct reports, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Founded in 2013, BetterUp has grown to more than 270 employees and a network of some 2,000 coaches.

A list of its clients included NASA, Chevron, Mars, Genentech, Snap, and Warner Media.

Since leaving their roles as working royals, Harry and Meghan have already signed lucrative digital media deals to capitalize on their celebrity — one to produce content for Netflix, and another to present podcasts for Spotify.

They have spoken of their desire “to do something of meaning, to do something that matters,” in California, where they have launched a wide-ranging non-profit organization named Archewell.

The couple have worked with a charity to hand out meals to chronically ill people in Los Angeles, and Markle — whose mother is Black — spoke out last year after the death of George Floyd, an unarmed African American killed in police custody.

Demand for coaching focused on employee well-being and development has grown “significantly” in the past year, according to BetterUp.

“Self-optimization is not about fixing something that’s broken,” Prince Harry said.

“It’s about becoming the best version of ourselves, with whatever life throws at us — someone who is ready for the next challenge and can meet setbacks with courage, confidence, and self-awareness.”

No Holds Barred: Meghan And Harry’s Historic Interview

This undated image released on March 7, 2021 courtesy of Harpo Productions shows Britain’s Prince Harry (L) and his wife Meghan (C), Duchess of Sussex, in a conversation with US television host Oprah Winfrey. JOE PUGLIESE / HARPO PRODUCTIONS / AFP

 

 

Meghan Markle opened up about battling suicidal thoughts, Prince Harry disclosed a painful rift with his father — and both settled a fair few scores in their history-making interview with Oprah Winfrey.

The gloves came off as the pair lifted the veil on their dramatic exit from royal life, holding little back as they alleged racism in royal ranks and a campaign of lies targeting Meghan.

But there was tenderness too as the pair spoke of their present-day happiness — and revealed the gender of their second child.

Here are key takeaways from the interview:

– ‘Didn’t want to be alive’ –
Opening up on a barrage of negative media coverage she faced as part of the royal family, Meghan, 39, said the British press drove her to the point where life no longer seemed worth living.

“I knew that if I didn’t say it, that I would do it. And I… just didn’t want to be alive anymore. And that was a very clear and real and frightening constant thought,” she told Winfrey in the two-hour CBS spot.

Asked by Winfrey if she was having suicidal thoughts while pregnant with her first child, Meghan replied “Yes. This was very, very clear.”

Meghan said she approached the palace to tell them she was having a mental health crisis.

“I went to one of the most senior people just to — to get help,” she said. “I was told that I couldn’t, that it wouldn’t be good for the institution.”

Meghan said she ultimately reached out to one of the late Princess Diana’s best friends for support.

“Who else could understand what’s — what it’s actually like on the inside?”

‘How dark his skin might be’

Meghan, whose father is white and mother is Black, said Harry had revealed to her official concerns among the royals about the skin color of her unborn son, Archie.

“In those months when I was pregnant… we have in tandem the conversation of ‘he won’t be given security, he’s not going to be given a title’ and also concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he’s born,” Meghan said.

“Those were conversations the family had with him.”

Asked by Winfrey if the concern was that he might be “too brown,” Meghan replied: “If that’s the assumption you’re making, I think that feels like a pretty safe one.”

‘Character assassination’

It was sensational tabloid fodder: the story of how of Meghan made Kate Middleton cry after a bridesmaid dress fitting for Princess Charlotte.

And by Meghan’s account — it was entirely fabricated.

“Everyone in the institution knew it wasn’t true,” Meghan told Winfrey of the alleged incident, claiming that in reality: “The reverse happened.”

Kate, she said, “was upset about something, but she owned it, and she apologized.”

“A few days before the wedding, she was upset about something pertaining — yes, the issue was correct — about flower girl dresses, and it made me cry, and it really hurt my feelings.”

Meghan called the incident “a turning point” in her relations with the royal family.

“The narrative about, you know, making Kate cry I think was the beginning of a real character assassination,” she said.

“And they knew it wasn’t true. And I thought, well, if they’re not going to kill things like that, then what are we going to do?”

“I came to understand that not only was I not being protected but that they were willing to lie to protect other members of the family,” Meghan said.

‘Let down’

Speaking candidly about his relationship with Prince Charles, Harry said had he felt “really let down” by his father throughout the painful episode — but that they were now talking to one another.

“There’s a lot to work through there, you know? I feel really let down, because he’s been through something similar. He knows what pain feels like,” an emotional Harry said.

He described Charles — the heir to the throne — and Harry’s older brother William as “trapped” by the conventions of the monarchy, but vowed that he would “always love” his father.

“My father and my brother, they are trapped. They don’t get to leave. And I have huge compassion for that.”

Harry went on say that he and Meghan “did everything we could” to stay in the royal family.

“I’m sad that what’s happened has happened, but I know, and I’m comfortable in knowing that we did everything that we could to make it work.”

‘Fairytale’

But it was not all darkness and score-settling.

Offering royal fans a treat, the couple revealed the gender of their second child, chiming in tandem “It’s a girl!” and confirming the baby was due in “summertime.”

Asked if they were “done” with two children, Harry replied: “done.”

“To have a boy and then a girl, I mean what more can you ask for?” he said.

“Two is it,” quipped Meghan.

In a bucolic segment, Harry and Meghan offered viewers a glimpse of their “fairytale” life in California’s beachside celebrity enclave of Montecito, showing off their chicken coop — and its hens rescued from a factory farm.

And Meghan wrapped up with a hopeful look to the future, saying Harry had made a decision that “saved my life.”

“And now because we’re actually on the other side, we’ve actually not just survived but are thriving.”

Asked by Winfrey if her story “does have a happy ending,” Meghan replied: “It does. Greater than any fairytale you’ve ever read.”

Queen, Prince Harry, Senior Royals Set For Crisis Meeting

 

 

 

Queen Elizabeth II will host a showdown meeting with Prince Harry on Monday in an attempt to solve the crisis triggered by his bombshell announcement that he and wife Meghan were stepping back from the royal frontline.

Other senior royals including Harry’s father Prince Charles and brother Prince William, with whom he has strained relations, will join the monarch at her private Sandringham estate in eastern England, according to British media.

Meghan will join the meeting via conference call from Canada as they attempt to work out the “next steps” towards a compromise and nip the growing crisis in the bud.

Issues up for debate include how much money the couple will still receive from Charles’s estate, their HRH titles and what commercial deals they can strike, according to the Sunday Times.

Harry, Meghan, and son Archie spent Christmas in Canada, with the American former actress returning there this week.

The Queen on Thursday demanded that staff work with the couple to urgently find a “workable solution” that would take into account their demands for more freedom.

Several Canadian media reported Meghan had returned to Vancouver island off the country’s Pacific coast, where the family spent the year-end holidays and where baby Archie had remained with his nanny.

Senior royals were caught off guard by Wednesday’s announcement that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex wanted to seek a “progressive new role” and divide their time between Britain and North America.

The Queen’s office issued a terse statement the same evening, saying there were “complicated issues that will take time to work through”.

Harry and Meghan said they intended to continue to “fully support” the queen and “collaborate” with senior royals.

They also want to keep their home on the queen’s Windsor Castle estate as their British base, while aiming to become financially independent.

But their desire to live as both members of the monarchy and private individuals making a living was described as a “toxic mix” by David McClure, an investigator into royal finances.

“The history of senior royals making money — the two is a toxic mix. It hasn’t worked well in the past,” he told the Press Association.

“How can you be half-in, half-out — half the week perform public duties and the other half earn your own income with TV, lectures, books? It is fraught with dangers.”

The younger prince, who has struggled with his role, last year revealed he has been growing apart from his brother, who as second in line to the throne is increasingly pursuing a different path.

Harry has been open about his mental health issues and he and Meghan last year admitted to struggling with the spotlight following their wedding at Windsor Castle in May 2018 and Archie’s birth a year later.

The couple has also lashed out at negative news coverage, some of which Harry says was racist — in light of Meghan’s biracial heritage.

Harry, Meghan Quit Royal Front Line In Shock Move

 

 

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan stunned the British monarchy on Wednesday by quitting as front-line members — reportedly without first consulting Queen Elizabeth II.

In a shock announcement, the couple said they would spend time in North America and rip up long-established relations with the press.

Media reports said the Duke and Duchess of Sussex made their bombshell statement without notifying either Harry’s grandmother the monarch, or his father Prince Charles.

The surprise news follows a turbulent year for the couple, who have openly said they have struggled in the spotlight and grown apart from Harry’s brother Prince William. They have also reacted badly to negative news coverage.

“We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the royal family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen,” they said in a statement released by Buckingham Palace.

“We have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution,” they added.

“We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America.”

The announcement appeared to catch the royal family by surprise.

Buckingham Palace put out a second statement an hour and 40 minutes later, saying discussions with Harry and Meghan were “at an early stage”.

“We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through,” it added.

It was understood that the mood in Buckingham Palace was one of disappointment and even, according the the BBC, “hurt”.

Struggling in the spotlight

Harry, 35, and Meghan, 38, are among the most senior, core members of the royal family, and, along with William and his wife Kate, seen as the monarchy’s future.

The pair spent six weeks over Christmas in Canada after speaking of the pressure of being in the spotlight following their fairytale wedding at Windsor Castle in May 2018 and son Archie’s birth 12 months later.

They skipped the royal family’s traditional Christmas at Sandringham, the sovereign’s private estate in eastern England, spending the festive season instead with Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland.

Rumours that all was not well with the Sussexes surfaced in October when Harry, sixth in line to the throne, admitted that he and William were “on different paths” and had good and bad days in their relationship.

“We don’t see each other as much as we used to,” he told ITV television’s Tom Bradby, whom Harry and William have grown to trust with interviews over the years.

Asked by Bradby if she was “not really OK” and life had “really been a struggle” becoming a mother while living under intense media scrutiny, Meghan appeared emotional and replied simply: “Yes.”

Bradby said Wednesday that he sensed he was witnessing “a long, sad farewell to this royal life”.

“This is a new war of the Windsors — and it’s not over yet.”

Media battle

In October, Harry issued a stinging statement about general tabloid coverage and launched the first of a handful of lawsuits against newspaper publishers.

Asked if Meghan was facing the same media pressures as his mother Diana, who died in a car crash in Paris in 1997 while pursued by paparazzi, Harry told Bradby: “I will not be bullied into playing a game that killed my mum.”

On a new website, the couple said they would no longer take part in the royal rota.

The rota system is an established arrangement between the palace and the press whereby news organisations take it in turns to cover events and then share the pictures, text and video with everyone in the pool, avoiding the mass media scrambles of the past.

Instead the couple will attempt to invite only “specialist”, “grassroots”, “credible” and “young, up-and-coming” media to events.

Queen Elizabeth’s former press secretary Dickie Arbiter told Sky News television that the couple’s approach was “a succession of doing things their own way — which is the wrong way”.

“Sometimes there’s good press; sometimes there’s bad press. You take the rough with the smooth.”

Always ends in tears

Currently, Harry and Meghan’s costs are largely funded from Charles’ private income from the heir to the throne’s estates, while the police foots their security bill.

Former BBC royal correspondent Peter Hunt told Channel 4 television that royals thinking they can earn money in a side career “has always ended in tears”.

Newspaper headlines on Thursday included The Sun’s “Megxit”, saying the couple had sparked civil war at the palace.

“They didn’t even tell the Queen,” said the Daily Mirror, while the Star said: “The Royal formerly known as Prince”.

Harry And Meghan: Royal Fairytale Turns Grim

In this file photo taken on January 07, 2020, Britain’s Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex react as they leave after her visit to Canada House in thanks for the warm Canadian hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada, in London. DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / POOL / AFP

 

Britain’s Prince Harry and his wife Meghan announced Wednesday that they were stepping back from major royal duties and would be partially relocating to North America.

Here are five major moments in their relationship, which has seen them go from being the royal family’s hottest property to their shock announcement in less than two years.

Love at first sight

Prince Harry was 31 with a few failed relationships and his 10-year army career behind him when they first met, while US actress Meghan Markle was 34 and a divorcee of three years.

They were set up by a mutual friend when Meghan was passing through London in July 2016, with the couple later revealing they knew little about each other. The speed of their relationship surprised them both.

Both quickly sensed their blind date could blossom into something bigger.

Their romance was undercover for the first five or six months, and largely conducted through nights in behind closed doors — and a camping trip to Botswana.

Eventually, Harry proposed in November 2017 during a night in roasting a chicken.

Fairytale wedding

The relationship was welcomed by the British press, which saw Meghan as a breath of fresh air for the royal family — a woman who had proved herself with a career of her own, who would project a more modern image.

There was also public relief that Harry, who had walked behind his mother Diana’s coffin as a 12-year-old boy, had found settled happiness in his life.

The couple tied the knot at Windsor Castle on May 19, 2018, in a ceremony filled with personal touches, mixing British pomp and African-American culture in front of a celebrity-studded congregation and cheering crowds.

Meghan began her walk down the aisle alone after falling out with her wayward father, while firebrand US pastor Michael Curry delivered a full-throttle address invoking slaves and the power of love.

Baby joy

The couple moved out of their two-bedroom home on the Kensington Palace estate in London and into the much bigger Frogmore Cottage on the Windsor Castle estate in April 2019 ahead of the birth of their son.

Born on May 6, they named him Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, eschewing royal titles.

“I have the two best guys in the world so I’m really happy,” Meghan declared, showing off the baby at Windsor Castle.

Fall from grace

The goodwill that surrounded their marriage gradually began to ebb away as the couple’s shine came off.

Critics did not take kindly to what they saw as the couple’s right-on causes, complaints at their treatment while living an expensive lifestyle, war on the media, and seeming hypocrisy, preaching on the environment while jetting around on private flights.

Rumours swirled that Meghan was difficult to work with, amid reports of staff members quitting one after another.

Announcing that Meghan had gone into labour after the baby was actually born infuriated the British press.

Their decision not to let the public know who Archie’s godparents were was also seen as petty.

They were slated for the £2.4 million cost of refurbishing Frogmore Cottage.

A well-received tour of southern Africa saw their stock rise, but as it concluded in early October last year, the couple overshadowed their own good work by launching a written tirade on the press and legal action against certain newspaper groups.

In an ITV television documentary that followed, Harry said he and William were “on different paths” and have “good days” and “bad days” in their relationship — confirming rumours that the couple were diverging from the fold.

Stepping back

In Wednesday’s shock announcement, the couple said they intended to step back from frontline royalty and would attempt to become financially independent.

Currently their work and running costs are funded by Harry’s father Prince Charles.

They said they will continue to support Queen Elizabeth and honour their duties to her, the Commonwealth and their patronages, indicating they are not fully quitting.

The couple also said they were going to launch a new charitable entity, and spend much of their time in North America.

Harry and Meghan were among the most senior members of the royal family and were expected to take a much bigger role as Queen Elizabeth scales back her duties and Charles eventually becomes king.

Their future is now up in the air.

Prince Harry Launches Fresh Legal Claim Against UK Newspapers

 

Prince Harry has filed a new claim for breach of privacy against British tabloid newspapers, media and the publishing group concerned said on Friday.

“We can confirm that a claim has been issued by the Duke of Sussex,” News Group Newspapers, which publishes The Sun daily and the now defunct News of the World said in a statement without elaborating. Sky News said it concerned phone hacking.

Japan Ex-Empress Undergoes Breast Cancer Surgery

Japan’s former empress Michiko (R) enters Tokyo University hospital on September 7, 2019. JAPAN POOL VIA JIJI PRESS / JIJI PRESS / AFP

 

Japan’s former empress Michiko “safely” underwent surgery on Sunday after the 84-year-old was diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer, the Imperial Household Agency said.

Michiko’s husband Akihito formally stepped down as emperor in April, the first abdication for 200 years in the world’s oldest monarchy.

Her operation began Sunday morning “as scheduled” at the University of Tokyo Hospital, the agency official said.

“It ended safely and (she) went back to her room,” the official told AFP, adding that further details would be announced later.

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Akihito and daughter Sayako Kuroda, a former princess who left the royal household to marry a commoner, visited the hospital to see Michiko before the operation.

Akihito and Michiko are known for dramatically modernising the tradition-bound monarchy, bringing themselves closer to the public and boosting popular support for the household.

The first commoner to marry an imperial heir, Michiko was born in 1934 in Tokyo and attended the exclusive all-girls Christian Sacred Heart School before studying English literature at its university.

She gave birth to now-Emperor Naruhito in 1960 and her second son, Prince Akishino, was born in 1965.

Michiko and her husband also came to be known for their presence at the side of survivors of disasters, especially after the 2011 tsunami that wrecked large parts of eastern Japan.

Prince Harry And Meghan’s Son Archie Christened In Private Service

AFP PHOTO / SUSSEXROYAL / CHRIS ALLERTON”

 

Prince Harry and Meghan’s baby son Archie was on Saturday christened in the chapel at Windsor Castle in a private ceremony following his birth in early May.

The couple’s first child — who is seventh in line to the British throne — wore a handmade replica of the royal christening robe, which was made in 1841 for the christening of Queen Victoria.

The replica has been worn by royal infants at christenings for the last 11 years.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby baptised the two-month-old using water from the River Jordan and the silver Lily Font, a royal heirloom, in accordance with tradition.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex released two photographs of them with Archie on their social media accounts, showing his face for the first time.

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In one picture, they are surrounded by close family while in the other the couple are cradling him.

The images were taken by fashion photographer Chris Allerton, who also shot Harry and Meghan’s wedding photographs last year.

Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland, Harry’s brother William and his wife Kate, and their father Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, all posed in the picture.

The sisters of the late Diana, Princess of Wales — Harry and William’s mother — also attended and featured in the family photo.

The names of Archie’s godparents were not released by Harry and Meghan and remain a mystery.

AFP