Prince Harry and his wife Meghan have promised to lift the lid on life in the royal family
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle AFP News

Tax filings for Archewell Foundation for 2021 showed that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle only worked an hour per week, which drew some flak from the public. But this number is said to be expected among directors of charitable foundations.

They serve as directors of Archewell Foundation, which they opened just months after they left their royal duties in 2020 and moved to the U.S.A. to be financially independent of the British monarchy. They eventually launched Archewell Audio and Archewell Productions, their content creation companies, under the Archewell organisation.

The foundation recently shared its IRS 990 filings under public disclosure in March, which detailed the financial reports for the charity for the 2021 tax year. Aside from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, James Holt, who serves as executive director for Archewell Foundation, also only worked an average of an hour per week in the same year. The only difference is, the couple did not take a paycheck from their non-profit organisation and Holt received a yearly salary of $59,846 and $3,832 in other benefits.

The low working output has surprised the public, especially critics of the couple including Dan Wootton, Kinsey Schofield, and Lady Colin Campbell. They think something "salacious" is going on behind the foundation.

But according to attorney Seth Perlman, partner of Perlman & Perlman LLP, this is "not unusual. You'll typically see that listed for many directors," he told Newsweek.

"If you have four board meetings a year—that's what directors do, they hold board meetings—then that turns into basically 12 hours a quarter. Which is, you know, a sufficient amount of time and a typical amount of time for board members to act."

Perlman said it "would be unfair to criticise" Prince Harry and Meghan Markle for their work output given the demands of their role at Archewell. He explained that their position as directors requires them "to establish the mission and the vision, make sure that they hire the right people to carry that out, determine the governance of the organisation, make sure that the financials are being properly overseen, and make sure they fully understand the financials of the organization."

Then if they make grants, they also approve those grants. He called these the "basic functions of directors." Meanwhile, Cliff Schneider, managing partner of Cohen Schneider Law, said that the couple's working hours are consistent with others who also work as directors of an organisation.

He told the publication, "The foundation has an executive director and primarily makes grants to other organizations to support such organizations' operations. So, seeing that directors/trustees such as the duke and duchess spend roughly a few hours per month providing oversight, support, strategic direction and making board-level decisions would be consistent with expectations." The Obama Foundation and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative reportedly also list their directors' work output in the same way as the Sussexes.

Aside from their working hours, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle also listed other financial details for Archewell Foundation. The charity raised over $13 million in donations of which $3 million were given to charities and grants.

These included $250,000 to Harvard for expanding a fellowship programme at the Institute for Rebooting Social Media, $300,000 to World Central Kitchen to develop four community relief kitchens in crisis areas, $125,000 to the NAACP to fund the Archewell Foundation Digital Civil Rights Award, and $50,000 to the Loveland Foundation to provide mental health services for women of color.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle may not be getting paid for their work at Archewell Foundation, but they have made their own money through their deals with Netflix and Spotify. According to the New York Post, they received an estimated $100 million for their "Harry & Meghan" docuseries and a reported $15m to $18m from Spotify for their "Archetypes" podcast. The duke also earned $20 million for his memoir "Spare" with Penguin Random House.