A source tells PEOPLE the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are "all about the future"
"What we’re seeing — and will see more of I think — is Heghan 2.0. Part Deux. They know of their supposed failures and how it’s viewed, but they have almost gone more tech than Hollywood. Fail big and all that," a source tells PEOPLE. "They have swapped in and out all sorts of projects and people and are embarking on a total system reboot."
“They have a constitutional inability to look in the rearview — why should they? They are all about the future,” the source adds.
Since stepping back as senior working royals in 2020, Meghan and Harry have launched their nonprofit, The Archewell Foundation, which currently includes the business verticals Archewell Productions and Archewell Audio.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have gone on to ink multimillion-dollar deals with Spotify and Netflix, delivering Meghan’s podcast Archetypes in August 2022 and the record-breaking Netflix series Harry & Meghan last December. Harry's memoir Spare, published by Penguin Random House in early 2023, also became a bestseller.
While there have been successes, there have also been hiccups. Over the summer, the couple split from Spotify after just one season of Archetypes, where they had a reported $20 million deal. They were also criticized by The Wall Street Journal for low content output on Netflix (where their deal is valued at $100 million). In addition to Harry and Meghan, they released Heart of Invictus and Live to Lead to quiet reception, while an animated series called Pearl was scrapped early in development.
Despite the challenges, Prince Harry, 39, and Meghan, 42, remain a tight unit, with another source telling PEOPLE they look "so in love."
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who are parents to son Prince Archie, 4, and daughter Princess Lilibet, 2, have stressed that moving away from the U.K. was necessary for their mental well-being, but "there wasn’t necessarily a five-year plan,” a royal insider previously told PEOPLE.
Royal life "wasn’t a world they wanted for their family," says the royal insider, noting that their choices reflect that. "Everything else flows from that, for whatever time period it takes."
Some say excitement over the royals entering the entertainment space was overvalued, though there are various factors at play. The coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc across much of Hollywood, and the writers and actors strikes only recently ended.
“The attention, commotion and hubbub was wrapped up in the fact that Harry is a royal, and people threw money at them with hopes and dreams that it would translate into success," a Hollywood insider previously told PEOPLE in an August cover story. "But I think it’s been a rude awakening for everyone — it’s like they built a house with no foundation."
The insider added, "The royal element, and the in some ways the drama around them, inflated the price, deals and expectations.
“When I spoke to people in their orbit, they admit that it hadn’t quite gone to plan,” Scobie told PEOPLE of Harry and Meghan in last week’s exclusive cover story. “They really need to establish what their purpose is.”
As for what’s next, Meghan signed with power agency William Morris Endeavor in the spring, and Prince Harry recently headed the 2023 Invictus Games in Düsseldorf, Germany. The next edition of the Invictus Games are set for 2025 in Canada.
During a surprise appearance at Variety's Power of Women gala on Nov. 16, Meghan hinted at future projects in the works.
"We have so many exciting things on the slate," she told Variety on the red carpet. "I can't wait until we can announce them. We're just really proud of what we're creating, and my husband is loving it too."
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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex also remain focused on the Archewell Foundation, which has dedicated considerable resources to youth mental health, online safety and the intersection of social justice and technology.
On World Mental Health Day, Oct. 10, Harry and Meghan stepped out in New York City for the Archewell Foundation’s first in-person event. The parents spoke on stage during a panel at “The Archewell Foundation Parents’ Summit: Mental Wellness in the Digital Age” and opened up about the challenges of raising kids in today’s digital age.
"Has their final chapter been written? Absolutely not," an industry executive previously told PEOPLE. "Hollywood loves a comeback."
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