There are many things we traditionally associate with the royal family: pomp, circumstance, corgis and LK Bennett. But no, I would hasten to guess, side shoving.
Of course, the hard core of working royals are legally barred from earning extra money, as they receive income from the state. But the marginalized of the peripheries are free to have a field day. And, by God, do they.
From sponsorship deals to dairy campaigns, we’ve compiled a list of the hardest-working blue-blooded hustlers this side of Windsor.
The Duchess of York has used her position as Prince Andrew’s ex-wife to her advantage. Sarah Ferguson may be the royal OG hustler, creating quite a stir when she became Weight Watchers’ second spokesperson in 1997, reportedly banking £1million a year. Since then, she’s had various gigs, eschewing her royal discretion to become something of a media personality, hosting her own miniseries on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network called Finding Sarah and guest host of an assortment of American talk shows, including The view, the show today and Larry King Live.
Fergie’s most recent entrepreneurial venture has been to dive into the world of writing. She has written several children’s books including parrot the helicopter, which was made into a cartoon series. During the lockdown, the Duchess hosted a weekly Youtube series titled Story time with Fergie and her friends, where she often dressed in costumes, the most memorable being Little Red Riding Hood, and performed various children’s stories. The Duchess announced that the series is on hiatus for the time being, but assured fans that she would return soon.
Last summer, she published her first adult novel – Her Heart For A Compass – with famously raunchy publishers Mills & Boon. Described by this publication as “amicable tosh”, Fergie has high hopes it will turn into a TV drama.
Alongside a successful acting career, Markle ran her own lifestyle website The Tig, offering Goop style advice, from her favorite soup recipes to self-love tips. Markle shut down the platform shortly after meeting Harry in 2018, but since leaving the Royal Family, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have turned their attention to another medium: podcasting.
Their charity work seems to take center stage, but in December 2020 the couple also signed an £18million deal with Spotify to launch their first series of podcasts with the aim of “bringing out underrepresented voices “. Although things calmed down after just one ‘holiday special’ episode, featuring Elton John and James Corden, it was reported this week that Meghan was launching a new solo series. Spotify and Archewell Audio announced the new show on March 24 Archetypes will be moderated by the Duchess, investigating the labels and stereotypes “that try to hold women back”.
Fergie isn’t the only royal to have written a children’s book. During the pandemic, mother-of-two Meghan wrote her own children’s story, The bench. The book grew out of a poem originally written by Meghan to Harry for his first Father’s Day in 2019. The Duchess had the poem inscribed on a plaque on a bench she gave Harry, hence the title. The book received mixed reviews, with critics taking offense at the lack of a plot. Meghan has also invested in wellness start-up Clevr Blends, which specializes in instant oat lattes.
After graduating from the prestigious Sandhurst military academy in 2000, Harry completed two tours of Afghanistan, rising through the ranks to the rank of captain in 2011. After leaving the army, the prince focused his attentions on various charities, founding the Invictus Games in 2014, a tournament for injured or injured service members to compete in a variety of sports.
Since breaking away from the monarchy in 2020, Harry (alongside his wife Meghan) has founded a production company and podcast platform under the Archewell Foundation banner (the non-profit charity aims to raise awareness for unrepresented voices ). Through the production company, he signed deals with Spotify and a five-year Netflix deal worth more than $100 million, according to The Wall Street Journal.
While Meghan was busy recording her first series of female-centric podcasts, Harry dove into the world of tech start-ups, joining San Francisco-based mental health startup BetterUp in March 2021 as Chief Impact Officer. The role involves making decisions around product strategy, charitable contributions and mental health advocacy. Concurrently, he is also a part-time commissioner for the Aspen Institute’s six-month study of disinformation and misinformation in the United States.
The Queen’s eldest grandson and son of Prince Anne has kept a rather low profile over the years, shunning royal engagements in favor of a career in corporate hospitality. His varied CV includes: Manager at Jaguar, Sponsorship Manager at Williams F1 racing teams and a brief stint at the Royal Bank of Scotland. While currently running the UK arm of event agency Sports and Entertainment, in 2019 he also delved into the milk business.
Indeed, the 15and in line with the throne appeared in a Chinese television commercial promoting Jersey milk produced in China. Phillips told Chinese viewers he was raised drinking Jersey milk from a Windsor herd. In the commercial, a Chinese voice dubbing that of Phillips, says, “I love drinking Jersey Milk” as he accepts a refreshing drink from a butler. After receiving a strong backlash from the British media, it is unclear whether Phillips continued to advertise dairy products.
Lady Kitty, Princess Diana’s niece, is another aristocrat who exploits her royal connections (sorry). Spencer, who works as a model, is also a milk company. Hosting a launch at the British Museum in 2020 for Chinese dairy brand Satine, Spencer was pictured sipping a cup of tea and telling reporters watching: “Royal Family Day usually starts with a cup of milk or a cup of tea. In a promotional video for the launch, she added: “Hello, I’m Kitty Spencer, and I’m delighted to be here to celebrate the collaboration between the British Museum and Satine”.
Unlike her cousins, Zara Tindall (sister of Peter), receives no alms from the royal coffers. Instead, Tindall forged a successful career as a professional rider, even capturing a silver medal for Great Britain at the 2012 London Olympics. Since then, Tindall has capitalized on his success to forge a side hustle as an influencer for all intents and purposes. She is said to have signed a host of lucrative sponsorship deals with outdoor clothing company Musto as well as long-standing deals with Land Rover and Rolex. She’s also an iCandy Prams ambassador and even has her own jewelry line for Australian brand Cajella.
Princess Eugenie’s husband and former manager of the Mayfair Mahiki club, works full-time as a manager at his father’s accounting firm, Pangea Land and Property Limited. However, perhaps languishing after its Treasure Chest roots (the famous Mahiki cocktail), Brooksbank has a lucrative business as an ambassador for the Casamigos tequila brand. The £45 a bottle tequila was founded in 2013 by Hollywood royalty George Clooney, alongside Cindy Crawford’s husband Rande Gerber, who sold it to drinks giant Diageo in 2017 for $1billion.
Pippa and James Middleton
Ok, so they’re not technically royal but they might as well be. The Duchess of Cambridge’s younger siblings have had their fair share of side hustle over the years, although they both share a fondness for cooking. Pippa landed her own food column toWaitrose magazineas well as a bi-monthly sports and social column for the Telegraph and enjoyed a brief stint as editor of Vanity Fair. Pippa has also received an advance of £400,000 for a party planning book titled Let’s Celebrate: A Year of Festivities for Families and Friends which sold 2,189 copies in its first week, making it the 185th best-selling book of the week.
The avid sportswoman has competed in various sports competitions, including Race Across America, a 3,000-mile cycling race across the United States, and the Bosphorus Cross-Continental Swimming Race, a 6.5 km swimming competition in Istanbul. Her passion for physical exertion will undoubtedly have influenced her latest side business, Pippa’s Playground, listed as an “other human health activities” business (it would include a variety of alternative therapies such as hydrotherapy, medical massage , speech therapy, podiatry, homeopathy, chiropractic practices and acupuncture). In 2020, Pippa and her husband, James Matthews, bought a deer safari and petting zoo, Bucklebury Farm, which they are currently renovating with the aim of making it a child-friendly tourist attraction.
James Middleton, also started out in the food industry. After leaving college, he founded two baking companies and a subsidiary of Nice Wine, selling high-end baking kits and treats through his parents’ Party Pieces website. Despite all three businesses going bankrupt, Middleton remained unfazed and launched Boomf in 2013, which sold personalized greeting cards and boxes of marshmallows for £15. The business fell into administration in December 2021. Since then, the animal lover has founded Ella and Co, a mail-order dog food business selling healthy, freeze-dried dog kibble.