Prince Harry is ‘trying to keep up’ with ‘very bright’ Meghan Markle, a celebrity agent who knows the Duchess has claimed.
On Tuesday, the Duke of Sussex, 36, who is currently living in his $14 million mansion in California, announced his first job in the corporate world by revealing he had taken an executive position at a Silicon Valley start-up that claims to be worth $1.7billion.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Jonathan Shalit said Prince Harry may have taken up the post to put himself on par with Meghan, 39, whom he called ‘a hugely astute woman, very bright’ and ‘incredibly impressive.’
The celebrity agent explained: ‘So for Harry to keep up with his wife, he’s got to find his own name and identity and this is the start.
Prince Harry, 36, is ‘trying to keep up’ with ‘very bright’ Meghan Markle, 39, in California, a celebrity agent who knows the Duchess has claimed
Jonathan Shalit said Prince Harry may have taken up the role to put himself on par with Meghan, 39, whom he called ‘a hugely astute woman, very bright’ and ‘incredibly impressive’
‘He doesn’t need celebrity. When you’re Royal, you’re the biggest celebrity in the world. But what this does is allow Harry to have relevance.’
The Duke will be ‘chief impact officer’ at mental health services business BetterUp, where he will help promote an app used by corporate giants including Hilton, Facebook and oil firm Chevron to improve the wellbeing of their staff.
The company’s chief executive Alexi Robichaux has declined to say how much the royal will be paid, although similar roles at other California firms would command six or seven-figure salaries.
Prince Harry could be working in the US on a visa designed for people with ‘extraordinary ability’, experts revealed last week.
The Duke of Sussex was unveiled on Tuesday morning as the chief impact officer at BetterUp with this corporate black and white photograph of Harry released at the same time
Her Majesty, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry watch a flypast to mark the centenary of the Royal Air Force from the balcony of Buckingham Palace on July 10, 2018 in London
Canadian singer Justin Bieber and Australian actor Hugh Jackman have used the O-1 visa which lasts up to three years.
The Duke now has two jobs and TV and radio projects in the US, prompting many to question how he obtained a visa.
The O-1 visa website says it is for ‘an individual who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognised nationally or internationally’.
Harry’s work with Invictus Games for injured servicemen could potentially qualify him.
Harry was introduced to CEO Alexi Robichaux (top left) through a mutual friend. He has refused to say how much Harry (top right) will be paid. Harry is listed on the company website with Mr Robichaux’s co-founder, Eduardo Medina (top centre)
And his recent interview with Oprah Winfrey certainly earned millions for the TV industry.
O-1 visa approval can take just weeks and finding a US citizen to serve as a referee would not have been a problem – Harry’s friends include ex-President Barack Obama.
It comes after a royal expert claimed palace officials will be watching Prince Harry’s new roles ‘very, very closely’ to see if they go against the agreement with The Queen that he would not trade off his Royal status.’
Speaking on last week’s edition of True Royalty TV’s weekly programme The Royal Beat, Daily Mirror royal editor Russell Myers discusses Prince Harry’s new role as Chief Impact Officer at US coaching firm BetterUP.
‘There is the argument that if he is ‘Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex‘ in all the published materials for [the firm], is that trading off the royal brand which they said they wouldn’t do to uphold the values of The Queen?’ he explains.
‘So it is very debatable at the moment. People at the Palace will be watching this very, very closely.’
Silicon Valley start-up that has hired Prince Harry
What is BetterUp?
BetterUp describes itself as company that ‘combines coaching with dynamic and personalized digital experiences to accelerate members’ long-term professional development and drive personal growth’.
In practice, they sell executive coaching and therapy services to individuals and large companies.
It employs clinical therapists and ‘executive coaches’ on contract to provide those services.
One blue chip company that recently employed their services was charged $2,000 for six months of unlimited coaching for each employee.
Those who sign up for their app can receive one-to-one video therapy or coaching through the app.
Who was it founded by?
It was founded by two USC graduates Alexi Robichaux and Eduardo Medina. Robinchaux grew up in Dallas, Texas, and has described growing up with his father a biblical linguist who translates from Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew. His mother is an immigrant from Greece who was an executive assistant at Texas Instruments. In high school he started a non-profit called Youth Leadership for America.
Medina is also a USC graduate who worked at management consultant companies Altamont Capital Partners and Bain & Company before starting BetterUp.
How big is BetterUp?
BetterUp says it has raised a total of $300m in venture capital, and claims to be valued at $1.7bn. It has not reported any corporate results or profits.
Last year, Robinchaux told Inc that the company had 200 employees and more than a thousand therapists and executive coaches on contract.
Its investors include snowboarder Sean White, NBA player Pau Gasol and a series of venture capital companies including frims called ICONIQ Growth, Lightspeed Venture and Mubadala Capital.
Who has invested in BetterUp?
The company lists 10 Silicon Valley venture capital companies among its investors, including the UAE sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Capital.
It also names Olympic snowboarder Shaun White and NBA player Pau Gasol as individual investors.