Prince Harry and Meghan Markle shocked fans after they announced they stepped back as senior members of the British royal family. It was reported that Oprah Winfrey played role in the decision.
According to Page Six, the TV queen, who is also close to Meghan’s mom Doria Ragland, discussed the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s “declaration of independence.” Additionally, the media mogul was said to be encouraging them to consider making a living in North America by building their own powerful brand.
Reports stated that the pair had trademarked “Sussex Royal” as a brand on more than 100 properties in the U.K. That included clothing, stationery, photographs and educational and charitable endeavors, with predicted revenue reaching over $500 million.
“Oprah was the first person to talk to Harry and Meghan about breaking free and doing their own thing, building on their own brand. She made them realize it was really possible,” a source claimed.
In addition to Oprah, the couple’s celebrity friends such as the Obamas and George Clooney and wife Amal Clooney were also said to be giving them advice prior to the big announcement.
However, in a statement to PEOPLE, “The Oprah Winfrey Show” host denied the allegations of her advising the couple to make the shocking move. “Meghan and Harry do not need my help figuring out what’s best for them. I care about them both and support whatever decisions they make for their family.”
Harry and Meghan surprised everyone when they announced on Wednesday, January 8 that they would be stepping back from their roles as “senior” royals. “After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution,” so read a statement they posted on Instagram.
It continued, “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. It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment.”
The couple also announced plans to split their time between the U.K. and North America, which the former actress had called home before marrying the prince in 2018. “This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity,” they explained.