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The Moneyist: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s escape for the border — follow this one golden rule if you too seek financial independence

Prince Harry told Oprah Winfrey: ‘My father and my brother, they are trapped. They don’t get to leave.’ Read More...

On a scale of 1 to 10, Meghan Markle’s interview with Oprah Winfrey was a 50.

Allegations of racism within the royal household and conversations about how dark her son Archie’s skin color would be, and Markle’s despair at the alleged lack of support from “The Firm” and her suicidal thoughts were perhaps among the most shocking revelations. For those reasons and others, the couple needed to get out.

Prince Harry said one thing made their escape to the U.S. possible. “I brought what my mom left me and, without that, we would not have been able to do this, so touching back on what my mother would think of this, I think she saw it coming. I certainly felt her presence throughout this whole process.”

Harry’s late mother, Princess Diana, died in a car crash in Paris in 1997 while being pursued by photographers — the culmination of a long battle against the relentless, prying eyes of the British red tops, which dissected her every move in the years following her 1981 marriage to Prince Charles, and 1996 divorce.

Princess Diana had reportedly long dreamed of starting a new life in the U.S. She was 36, the same age Prince Harry is now. Ultimately, he found the freedom in the U.S. his mother never found. “I’m just really relieved and happy to be sitting here, talking to you with my wife by my side,” he told Oprah.

While the couple’s break for the border releases them from the drab ribbon-cutting, handshaking daily duties of royal life in the U.K., and alleged racism both inside and outside of the royal family, their bid for financial independence is complicated. But it has a golden lesson for us all.

Adversity + Planning = Growth. The Conservation of Energy theory states that energy is neither created nor destroyed, but merely transforms from one kind to another. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were committed to royal life at first, but their difficulties led to innovation and change.

You can email The Moneyist with any financial and ethical questions related to coronavirus at [email protected]

“I was trapped, but I had no idea I was trapped,” Prince Harry told Oprah. “My father and my brother, they are trapped. They don’t get to leave. And I have compassion for that.” But Prince Harry said he was saved, first by his American wife, but also by his late mother, Princess Diana.

Harry said his family “literally cut me off financially” in the first quarter of 2020. The couple’s deals to create streaming content with Netflix NFLX, -4.47%  and Spotify came, he said, after they realized they needed to earn money for a security detail that had also been cut off, despite the unchanged level of threat to the couple.

Crucially, Princess Diana made a will. Harry inherited 7 million British pounds ($9.2 million) from his mother’s estate, the BBC estimated. (His father’s side of the family is far richer — worth more than $88 billion, according to Forbes — including investments, properties, castles and land.)

Another key to their escape for the border: Markle is financially independent, primarily from her acting career. She told Oprah, “I’ve always worked. I’ve always valued independence …My first job was when I was 13, at a frozen yogurt shop called Humphrey Yogart.”

Mark Cuban worked as a garbage-bag salesman, Richard Branson sold Christmas trees, Warren Buffet delivered newspapers and, yes, Meghan Markle held a suitcase full of money on “Deal or No Deal.” She told Oprah she thanked God for her life experience and work ethic.

Work hard. Encourage your loved ones to make a will, and make one yourself, even if you are young and especially if you have children. Save money. So when life knocks you sideways, you will be ready and able to change course. You don’t need millions of dollars or a royal title to do that.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides help and support for people with suicidal thoughts. Anyone wishing to connect to the Lifeline can call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

You can email The Moneyist with any financial and ethical questions related to coronavirus at [email protected]

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