Prince Harry urged to avoid same fate as his uncle who ‘became a bit of a joke’

Prince Harry has been urged to avoid the same fate as his uncle who set up his own media empire but "became a bit of a joke".

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry announced in January last year that they would step back from senior positions in the Royal Family following talks at Sandringham between Harry, Prince Charles, Prince William and the Queen.

Meghan and Harry have since relocated with their son Archie Harrison to California, having spent the intervening period living in Canada, in hopes of a more private lifestyle.

Since the move, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have already signed multi-million pound deals with Netflix to makes docuseries and podcasts with Spotify.

But their forays into running their own media projects have drawn comparisons with Harry's uncle Prince Edward, who is married to Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, the Daily Express reports.

He also stepped into the business world to set up a television production company called Ardent in the 1990s, but gave it up a few years later.

Philip Murphy, Director Institute of Commonwealth Studies at the University of London, has warned Harry to avoid "embarrassing" the royals with the couple's new project after Edward's company became "a bit of a joke".

He told Express.co.uk: "The obvious precedent is Prince Edward who founded his own company, Ardent Productions, in 1993 and ran it until 2002 when he stepped down as its joint managing director.

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"The lesson from Prince Edward's company is that the Sussexes' business activities will be under intense media scrutiny, so they need to be very careful that they are run competently and don't do anything to embarrass the rest of the family.

"Ardent Productions became a bit of a joke.

"It was never financially successful and in 2001 it was even accused over breaking the agreement with the media over royal privacy when a film crew from the company allegedly tried to shoot footage of Prince William at St Andrews University.

"I don't think it was a coincidence that Edward stepped away from it shortly after that.

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"I suspect Meghan will turn out to be a far more savvy and successful business-woman."

Edward's company turned sour when he found himself in a bitter feud with his brother and Harry's father, Prince Charles, when one of his crews was found filming Prince William while he was studying at university despite a request for media to leave him alone.

The Queen's oldest grandson Peter Phillips, who is not an HRH and does not carry out royal duties, also hit the headlines when he appeared in an advert for milk in China.

But the Duke and Duchess appeared comfortable in front of the cameras when they revealed their new podcast project in a trailer featuring them both chatting and joking with each other last month.

Meghan said at the time: "This is also a moment to celebrate kindness and compassion, something we saw in so many places this year, and which will underlie everything you hear from Archewell Audio.

"We're talking to some amazing people, they're going to share their memories that have really helped shape this past year which has been, as we know, a difficult one for everyone."

Harry added: "So many people have been through so much pain this year, experiencing loss, a huge amount of uncertainty, but it feels worth acknowledging that 2020 has connected us in ways we could have never imagined, through endless acts of compassion and kindness."

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