Meghan Markle has brokered a £30 million deal to produce a podcast series with Prince Harry.
The pair have already signed Meghan’s friend, Michelle Obama, for the podcast, according to industry sources.
The mega-bucks multi-year golden handcuffs agreement is one of the largest signed in history for a newly formed podcast show.
Today, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced the formation of their new audio production company, Archewell Audio, which has gone into partnership with Spotify.
The news comes after the royal couple signed a Netflix deal over the summer rumoured to be worth more than £100 million.
Meghan also narrated the documentary “Elephants” on Disney+.
Royal sources said Buckingham Palace was aware Harry and Meghan had set up their own production company to produce podcasts, but had “no knowledge” of the sums involved.
One well placed insider said: “The initial multi year deal is worth in excess of £30 million with a view to extending the deal within six months.
“Meghan was the driving force behind the deal. She was incredible in the meetings with executives and had a clear vision of what they as a couple have to offer.
“There is a massive buzz about the content and the reach not only for Spotify but for Harry and Meghan, they have the midas touch right now.
“Spotify’s whole business plan is to acquire the world’s most talked about celebrities in one place and Harry and Meghan fit the bill entirely.
“It’s a win win scenario.”
Spotify announced an estimated £200 million worth of exclusive deals this year with major names in the entertainment world.
Michelle Obama debuted “The Michelle Obama Podcast” on Spotify in July after singing a deal rumoured to be worth tens of millions.
Reality star turned campaigner Kim Kardashian West, married to music mogul Kanye West, also signed an exclusive deal with Spotify in June.
The platform announced a world record breaking exclusive deal worth £82million with entertainer Joe Rogan in May.
The Joe Rogan Experience podcast – which is one of the most popular in the world and had previously enjoyed incredible success on YouTube – aired on Spotify on 1 September.
Industry sources said the deal to bring Meghan and Harry on board was “a perfect fit” with the business model to grow Spotify’s global audience of 320 million monthly active users.
The company said in a press release yesterday that the two “will host and produce podcasts that build community through shared experience, narratives, and values.”
The duke and duchess said: “What we love about podcasting is that it reminds all of us to take a moment and to really listen, to connect to one another without distraction.
“With the challenges of 2020, there has never been a more important time to do so, because when we hear each other, and hear each other’s stories, we are reminded of how interconnected we all are.”
Spotify has said Harry and Meghan will host a “Holiday Special” which is due to be released in the coming weeks.
The announcement came 24 hours after The Mirror revealed palace insiders unhappy with Meghan enlisting the help of her billionaire neighbour Oprah Winfrey to help promote on social media a new vegan coffee brand she has invested in.
Royal insiders last night remarked how the deal and the staggering sums involved is unusual for members of the royal family – and the pair are likely to face “bear traps everywhere” as they continue to pursue their own commercial activity.
Royal author Penny Junor said Harry and Meghan’s appeal stems, not from them as individuals, but because they are royal.
But she added they no longer benefit from “gold standard” advisers at Buckingham Palace, who would have checked their plans for pitfalls.
Ms Junor said the couple’s other multi million-pound deal with Netflix had already proved controversial because the firm produced The Crown, with season four exploring the troubled life of Harry’s late mother Diana, Princess of Wales.
The royal expert said: “I think unhappily, it is very difficult to square up being a member of the royal family with commercial activity because there are bear traps everywhere.
“I’m sure it never crossed Harry and Meghan’s minds about The Crown, possibly being negative or damaging when they got their wonderful contract from Netflix.
“But the problem is that they left those gold standard advisers when they left Buckingham Palace, when they turned their back on the help that they were getting.”
Dawn Ostroff, chief content and advertising business officer for Spotify, said the streaming giant planned on hoovering up more exclusive content to lure customers from the other popular podcast platforms.
“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex may live in California but the power of their voices rests in their status as citizens of the world.
“That they are embracing the extraordinary capacity of podcasts on Spotify while also seeking to elevate underrepresented voices is a testament to their appreciation for the potential of audio storytelling.”