Harry, Meghan make first public appearance since quitting as royals at JPMorgan event in Miami
World / 9 February 2020, 5:34pm / REBECCA ENGLISH AND DAVID WILKES
London - Harry and Meghan have made their first private appearance since quitting as royals.The couple refused to confirm whether they were paid to attend the conference thrown in Miami by JPMorgan, the world’s largest bank.
Despite promoting greener travel, they reportedly flew in from their Vancouver home on the Wall Street firm’s private jet. Harry gave a speech to an audience of rich and famous Americans including basketball legend Magic Johnson. Watched by his wife on Thursday night, the prince told how he had been in therapy for the past few years over the death of his mother Diana.
Buckingham Palace was clearly surprised on Saturday night by the developments. Officials could not confirm whether the couple – still classed as senior working royals until the spring – were paid, or even had used a private jet.
A London-based spokesman for the couple would only say: "The Duke and Duchess of Sussex attended a JP Morgan gathering in Miami yesterday where the duke spoke."
Flight trackers show that the JP Morgan jet took off from Vancouver Airport, the nearest international terminal to the couple’s borrowed Vancouver Island mansion, at lunch time on Wednesday and landed in Palm Beach, Florida, later that evening. There was no record of its return on Saturday.
A spokesman for JPMorgan Chase, which has a stock market value of £335billion, refused to comment.
According to a gossip column in the New York Post, Harry appeared on stage with his wife and her friend Gayle King, a US television presenter who attended her baby shower in New York last year. A source told the newspaper that Harry ‘emotionally opened up to the wealthy crowd about the childhood trauma of losing his beloved mother in 1997’.
Miss King introduced Meghan, who said a few words about her love for her husband, according to the source.
The source said the Queen’s grandson also spoke about his and Meghan’s decision to quit as royals last month.
The paper reported: "Harry also touched on Megxit, saying while it has been very difficult on him and Meghan, he does not regret their decision to step down as senior royals because he wants to protect his family. He does not want Meghan and their son Archie to go through what he did as a child."
The source said it was "likely" that Harry, 35, and Meghan, 38, were paid for their appearance. Industry sources suggested that the fee could easily reach £250 000.
The insider suggested the couple did not take a room at South Beach’s five-star 1 Hotel, staying instead with Meghan’s close friend, tennis superstar Serena Williams, at her mansion in nearby Palm Beach.
Their decision to attend the wealth summit was described as "a very smart move to get in with some of the world’s richest people", according to a source at the event.
The source said the couple addressed 425 guests from a stage inside a huge tent on the beach at the 1 Hotel.
The audience comprised JPMorgan’s wealthiest clients as well as business leaders. The source added: "Harry talked a lot about his and Meghan’s decision to step down as senior royals.
"He said despite how difficult the separation with the British royal family has been, he does not regret their decision, saying that he and Meghan are optimistic about their future, optimistic about being able to be financially independent while still working on projects that mean a lot to them."
The source added: "Harry and Meghan would certainly have been paid for this appearance." The Queen was left deeply hurt by her grandson’s decision to announce – without warning – that he and his wife were stepping down and moving to North America.
Harry is expected to return to the UK for a handful of official engagements.