Now that the Sussexes' English home, Frogmore Cottage, has been cleaned out in the dead of night and apparently rented to Harry's cousin, Princess Eugenie, it looks like the Duke and Duchess' move to the New World is one they're 100% committed to. In the words of the British tabloid press, "Megxit" is complete.
The two have started their new life in the States, recently signing a deal with Spotify for their podcast to come out next year and launching their audio company, Archwell Audio. Moving across the pond, announcing a new podcast, it seems they've taken control of a new life. So now the question begs to be asked, what else is in store for the royal couple?
There's absolutely no reason, not even a shred of a rumor, to think the Sussexes are contemplating a move to the Lone Star State, or its capital city. But they wouldn't be the first to scrawl GTT (Gone To Texas) on their front door, hitch up the wagon and depart for greener pastures like multi-millionaire dollar podcast Joe Rogan recently did.
Here's why they should.
Harry's blood may be blue, but his household runs on the green stuff, and it always seems like there's never enough—even for the rich.
Harry's net worth is an estimated $40 million and Meghan's at $5 million, according to a wealth tracking site. That may be so, but it's possible to be worth a lot on paper while also short on cash. Much of Harry's worth is tied up in royal trusts that payout over a period of many years.
Montecito, California (CC)
Take real estate for example. Everyone knows about their $14.65 million home purchase in Montecito, California, a small town on the edge of Santa Barbara. It's a favorite of Hollywood types like Ellen, Oprah, Rob, Gwyneth, Katy, and George (Lucas).
But did you know the former royals took out a mortgage to buy the place? $9.5 million of borrowed money, reportedly. And the Daily Mail estimates the property may cost them over $4 million a year to maintain. Wow. You don't have to be a mathematician to figure out that their estimated combined $45 million isn't going to last long unless they come up with some sort of side hustle. Meghan used to make beer money doing calligraphy, but there aren't enough hours in the day to address $4 million worth of wedding invitations for wealthy brides who will pay for perfect penmanship.
So they'll find Netflix deals and speaking engagements and other ways to make a buck, but making it is one thing and keeping it is another. That's where Texas shines. The state's zero personal income tax compares favorably with California's big-and-getting-bigger tax bite.
The Golden State's top rate is over 13%, and a cash-strapped state government is considering an extra "millionaires tax" and possibly a "wealth tax" on assets, in addition to possibly raising the base rate. The Sussexes, in a hypothetical $10 million income year, would pay a minimum of $1.3 million in taxes to California. In Texas, they'd pay nothing.
With $1.3 million in yearly savings, that's enough to finance regular private jet flights to visit friends in LA, with enough left over to establish a college fund for their son, Archie.
The bigger problem for the Prince is that if he becomes a California resident, the state may try to impose its high tax rates on all of his income, even income earned from his royal trusts in England. There's no hard-and-fast rule for determining residency, but a detailed analysis can be found here.
Enough of that. Let's get to the fun stuff.
California's not a nickname place. Sure, some people have names like Moonbeam and Dweezil but those are their actual names.
In Texas, lots of people go by acquired monikers, from the nickname-dispensing former President George W. Bush ("43" or "W") to beloved homeless Austinite, known simply as "Leslie," a wandering, cross-dressing activist.
Why does this matter for Meghan and Harry?
Because their names are not really Meghan and Harry.
Meghan's name is Rachel. Rachel Markle. Meghan is her middle name, which she utilized when she became an actress.
Prince Harry's name is more complex. He's known by various names in various capacities:
- Henry Charles Albert David Mountbatten-Windsor (his given name)
- The Duke of Sussex
- His Royal Highness
- The Earl of Dumbarton (in Scotland)
- Baron Kilkeel (in Northern Ireland)
- Captain Harry Wales (British Army)
History is on Meghan's side. Not the English kind, dating from 1066 and all that, but her history of good times and fitting in, in Texas. Check out her 2017 Austin airport arrival for the Suits 100th episode cast party.
MEGHAN MARKLE Out in Austin 06/10/2017 https://t.co/ulVAFW0J72 https://t.co/npTiKh0MPo— Celebrities Pictures (@Celebrities Pictures)1497262925.0
Meghan is pitch-perfect Austin—stylishly torn jeans, sandals, casual white shirt, perfect movie star sunglasses, easy hairstyle and hat in hand. She could be on her way to the Four Seasons, the Oasis or Rainey Street in her attire. Joe Rogan and even Matthew McConaughey could learn some things from Meghan Markle, like how to look effortlessly casual while showcasing taste and style.
Sports and Outdoors
Harry follows the royal tradition of loving sports and the outdoors. If Netflix's "The Crown" is a credible source, even the Queen is nowhere happier than wandering the misty hills of her 50,000 acre Balmoral Estate in muddy "outdoor shoes," stalking deer and shooting grouse. There's talk that, to please Meghan, Harry has sold his guns and stopped hunting, an activity that's generally not accepted in California's coastal culture.
But it may be hard for Harry to give up a sport he's pursued all his life. He's hunted throughout Britain, Europe, South America and Africa, and, like most of the royals, was a fox hunter until the sport was banned in England in 2005.
If Harry wants to pick up the sport again, he'll fit in perfectly in Texas, where hunting is a traditional activity. The Texas Hill Country, adjacent to Austin and San Antonio, is packed with hunting ranches offering native and exotic species. With the similarities between African and Texan terrains and climates, many African species can be seen throughout Texas, including endangered species that are bred and sold on exotic game ranches.
It's debatable whether Austin is really weird anymore. It's unique, with a culture of its own that's distinct from other cities, but how weird can things be in a land of $15 hamburgers and a median Central Austin home price of $625,000?
Still, weirdness is tolerated here and even embraced, perhaps as a treasured symbol of what was. A dying ember of our central civic archetype.
Prince Harry, Meghan and Archie, as perfect and utterly conventional as they appear, are definitely weird—walking away from a life of effortless privilege, universal fame, vast wealth and access to anyone or anything that interests them. They've left it all to wallow, although at the top levels, in an ordinary world where we have to figure out how to pay the bills, find friends and create meaning in our lives.
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Six weeks into the federal COVID-19 vaccine rollout, the number of Ausinites who have received a shot—or two—is growing, with recipients reporting immense relief and sharing happy selfies.
Carly Hatchell, 25<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTUwNzk1NC9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0MjE1ODcyM30.1Z8vDzZp-2FpKTXQAGAS4PE3Zmy5i7IGq5LBhTFQwvU/img.png?width=1200&coordinates=0%2C420%2C0%2C420&height=800" id="ec5ec" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="784f573e7e59226846176634e901f648" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="1200" data-height="800" />
(Carly Hatchell)<p>Like most early vaccine recipients in Texas, Carly Hatchell is a frontline healthcare worker. As a psychiatric research associate at Dell Medical School and Dell Children's Medical Center, she received her shot from UT Health Austin, the medical school's clinical arm, which was the first provider in Travis County to receive doses from the state.</p><p>Hatchell received her first shot on Dec. 18, during the initial week of the rollout, and her second shot earlier this month. "I was very clear on my decision," she told Austonia. "Public health is a big interest to me. I actually served as a contact tracer earlier on in the pandemic."</p><p>Other than some soreness in her arm, she didn't experience any other side effects.<br></p><p>Hatchell described her vaccine experience as bittersweet, mostly because although she is now protected most people around her are not. "I have parents (in Houston) who are retired and older, and I know it's really difficult for them," she said. "I kind of wish I could share my dose with them."</p><p>Until most people are vaccinated, Hatchell is planning on operating as though she isn't. "I do feel confident that I am at less risk," she said. "But I haven't reduced my precautions just because we don't yet have the data (about long-term protections)."</p>
Tom Madison, 43<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTUwODE0Ni9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0OTg4MTkzMX0.Iy6vqa1O2lVbX-0wE1pmCFn6zBYgxDUJfop9XNu60GM/img.jpg?width=980" id="6e343" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="0c8732e6c36a94506fc53df3dd2ce2d7" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="480" data-height="600" /><p>Tom Madison is a lieutenant in the Austin Fire Department and the husband of Austin City Council Member Natasha Harper-Madison, who has lupus and is a breast cancer survivor, putting her at high risk of death from COVID.</p><p>Because of Madison's job, where he runs the risk of exposure on every shift, he moved out of <a href="https://austonia.com/austin-fire-coronavirus" target="_blank">his family's home in March</a>. Now that he has received both shots of the vaccine, he feels safer—but is still cautious. </p><p>"I'm still staying in the trailer next to the house," he said. "So we're still social distancing from one another because (Austin-Travis County Interim Health Authority) Dr. (Mark) Escott told my wife that we should do it until she gets vaccinated." </p><p>In the meantime, Madison has helped administer vaccines at the Delco Center, where Austin Public Health has hosted mass distribution events. "It was a huge operation," he said. "People waited in line for hours. When they go in there, they were so appreciative. It was nice to see."</p>
Nancy Kahn, 64<p>Nancy Kahn is a nurse who works for a very small company that wasn't able to provide her access to a vaccine. So she began searching for an appointment anywhere she could find one, including a pharmacy in New Braunfels that she heard had one vial—with 10 doses—for healthcare workers. After waiting on the phone for an hour, she snagged a spot at Austin Regional Clinic. "I got lucky," she said. </p><p>Kahn's husband falls in the 1B group as someone who is over 65 years old and who has had cancer twice. So far, she has enrolled him in three waitlists. "He's number 3,000 at one place. He's 600 at another place," she said. "At ARC, I don't know what number."</p><p>Still, Khan is optimistic. "I've got a sister in Arizona and a brother in Illinois," she said. "There's no talk of 1B (eligibility in those states). So it could be worse."</p>
Stephanie E., 35<p>Stephanie E., who works for a law enforcement agency with a no-media policy and asked that her last name not be used, was surprised when her employer offered her a vaccine because she has worked from home the entirety of the pandemic. "There was a lot of guilt," she said. "But I'm also 35 weeks pregnant now. It's not likely they were going to give my dose to a teacher or anything, so I went ahead and did it."</p><p>E.'s midwife and maternal-fetal medicine doctor told her they couldn't encourage or discourage her from getting vaccinated because of the limited data. But she wasn't concerned. "If Dr. Fauci gets it, then it seems safe," she said, adding that she feels better about her upcoming hospital stay—when she'll give birth—knowing that she has an extra layer of protection.</p><p>Now vaccinated, E. hasn't let down her guard. With three kids at home, including an 11-month old, she and her husband continue to be cautious, avoiding visits with even extended family. "They're going to meet two babies at once," she said.</p>
Capri Conlon, 29<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTUwNzk2NC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2ODI3MTkyNH0.yLnRFz4NuS0DXcco02pQngPC-2cP_LW2N7oAWuset4Q/img.jpg?width=1200&coordinates=0%2C635%2C0%2C635&height=800" id="2c42c" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="d4c1cb0bcd2dd03ece42f6e712bcd37d" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="1200" data-height="800" /><p>Capri Conlin is a nurse practitioner for Dell Children's Hospital. Last month, her employer sent out a sign-up link to all eligible employees, but Conlin's name was accidentally left off of it. Luckily, it was a quick fix and she received her first shot on the same day as Hatchell, in mid-December. "There's finally a light at the end of the tunnel," she said after receiving her second shot. "It feels surreal." </p><p>Conlin's patients are children and most of them are immunocompromised. As a result, she has changed her way of life to ensure she doesn't put any of them at risk of contracting COVID-19. </p><p>"Getting the vaccine, it just felt like a big relief," she said. "I just know going into my patients' room I'm not putting them at risk anymore."</p>
Lynne Wiesman, 61<p>Wiesman is a professor at Austin Community College, where she teaches American sign language interpreting. Before the pandemic, she also worked often as an interpreter in area hospitals. </p><p>Although the state of Texas did not include interpreters in group 1A, a local agency successfully advocated for interpreters to be prioritized in Travis County because of their work on the front lines. </p><p>As a result, Wiesman was able to make an appointment to get vaccinated after someone shared the number for a triage nurse at ARC on a private FB page for interpreters. "I do anticipate going back to (work in) hospitals," she said. </p><p>But first Wiesman needs her second shot, which is scheduled for early February. "They've assured us (there will be enough doses)," she said. "That's the only thing that I have a slight concern about." </p><p>Wiesman opted out of taking a photo of herself having received the vaccine. She says she didn't want to rub it in the face of less privileged people who wish to be vaccinated. </p>
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Turns out, celebrities enjoy Stubb's BBQ just as much as the rest of Austin. Recent Texas transplants Joe Rogan and Elon Musk were spotted along with Dave Chappelle and other celebrities at the popular Texas venue for a night on the town.
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As Major League Soccer's only expansion team this season, Austin FC will receive first pick in all three rounds of the MLS SuperDraft on Thursday.