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As the dust settles on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey, the Royal Family is anxiously awaiting their next move, a royal expert tells OK! .
The couple's former chief of staff this week revealed their long-term plan is to become "social-impact influencers" – but the Duke and Duchess of Sussex hit a stumbling block after it emerged plans to trademark their entertainment and charity empire had fallen foul of US lawyers.
A royal expert exclusively tells OK! they have some very lucrative projects in the pipeline, but how they navigate their way through the Royal Family fallout will determine their success.
"What do they do next? That's a question Prince William is dreading the answer to," Duncan Larcombe says.
"Ultimately, they have to find a way to do their work in LA while not trading in on the royal brand.
"Prince Harry hasn't exactly been subtle. He's revealed to the world that he pretty much hates his family and the whole system is rotten to the core, but by continually talking about the royals, they're cashing in on the brand.
"If they spend their whole careers selling that royal brand, they'll never speak to William again."
The couple's former chief of staff, Catherine St-Laurent, quit her role in March after less than a year.
She has now revealed her "incredibly talented and creative" former bosses "have the potential to be very influential leaders in the social impact space".
Catherine, who left a plum job with Bill and Melinda Gates to work with Harry and Meghan last year, said: "It was an incredible experience. The time I spent with them was fulfilling."
When Meghan and Harry first moved to LA, they applied to have their fundraising outfit, Archewell Foundation, and podcast firm, Archewell Audio, protected by company law in America.
They sent documents to the US Patent and Trademark Office asking for the sole use of the terms.
But they've been told that the applications need clarification if they are to be made law. In the application for Archewell Audio, the couple said the company was for the "creation, development, production and distribution of podcasts, audio programmes, music, and audio books".
Trademark lawyers have asked the couple's legal team to define the kind of web apps they wish to provide through the Archewell Foundation.
In documents issued on June 25, the office gave Harry and Meghan six months to respond, or both applications will be junked.
Meghan and Harry had set up a similar 'not-for-profit' organisation, Sussex Royal, but were banned from using the word 'royal' when they quit official duties.
"Meghan and Harry have signed some very lucrative contracts and are clearly committed to doing a fairly substantial amount of work to get them off the ground," Duncan says.
"Most of Harry's time is going to be taken up by his mental health work. He's going to be mentoring people and undoubtedly speaking out more about his own experience.
"But what's really going to be really interesting is how they navigate their fallout with the Royal Family. There's an outstanding bullying claim against Meghan that will heat up over the coming months, and we now know that Harry's best from of defence is to attack."
Rumours are swirling about who will be called to give evidence in the Buckingham Palace bullying probe.
Past and present employees are to be invited to speak in confidence about their experiences of working for the duchess, after it was alleged she drove out two personal assistants and that staff were "humiliated" on several occasions.
To fully examine the allegations Meghan would be needed to be part of the proceedings but it is not clear at this early stage what role if any she will play in the process.
A spokesperson for the Duchess said she is "saddened" by the complaints, "particularly as someone who has been the target of bullying herself".
Meanwhile, the fate of their UK home, Frogmore House, is unknown.
After paying back renovation costs to UK taxpayers, Meghan and Harry covered the property's rent from June 2020 until March 2022.
The lease will be up by spring next year, and with their permanent home now in the US, it's unclear if they need such a large property on British soil.
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