Meghan Markle and Prince Harry believe they can achieve ‘great philanthropic work’

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle believe they can achieve ‘great philanthropic work’ now they have stepped down from royal duties to pursue a more private life, their friend David Furnish has said.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex decided to step back from the royal family to forge a new life for themselves with their nine-month-old son Archie at the beginning of this year.

The couple, who are currently on Vancouver Island after dropping their HRH titles, will divide their time between the UK and North America. 

In their pursuit of financial independence, it has been speculated Harry and Meghan could follow in the footsteps of the Obamas in striking deals with film and television companies, including Netflix.

Mr Furnish, the husband of Sir Elton John and a close friend of the royal couple, cited Prince Harry’s many charitable interests and said they feel ‘passionately’ about giving back.

Speaking ahead of the 28th annual Elton John Aids Foundation Academy Awards viewing party in Los Angeles, he told the PA news agency: ‘They’re just at an interesting juncture of their life right now.

‘And I know how passionately they want to give back and they really feel that they have a platform and an awareness and an opportunity to really do great, great philanthropic work.’

Mr Furnish, a 57-year-old filmmaker from Canada, said Harry and Meghan are ‘like family’ to him and Sir Elton and he is ‘excited’ to see what they do in the future.

He added: ‘We have a lot in common with Harry and Meghan. Elton and Prince Harry launched our MenStar Coalition at the International Aids Conference in Amsterdam, we’ve raised money and given money to Sentebale, his HIV/Aids children’s charity work in Lesotho.

‘And Meghan and he both share a great love of Africa and so much of the work we do is based in Africa.’

Sir Elton famously changed the words to his hit Candle In The Wind to sing Goodbye England’s Rose at the funeral of Harry’s mother Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997.

Mr Furnish and Sir Elton’s annual Academy Awards viewing party has been a staple of Oscars weekend for nearly 30 years.

This year, the couple will miss much of the event as Sir Elton, 72, is nominated for an award and will be performing at the Oscars ceremony.

The veteran singer, alongside long-time songwriting partner Bernie Taupin, is up for best original song for (I’m Gonna) Love Me Again from his biopic Rocketman.

Mr Furnish – who said he would ‘love’ Harry and Meghan to one day attend the Oscars viewing party – admitted it would feel strange not being there on Sunday but he was delighted a star-studded list of co-hosts had stepped in. 

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