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Harry and Meghan can achieve ‘great’ philanthropic work, David Furnish says

Mr Furnish and his husband Sir Elton John are close friends of the couple.

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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex believe they can achieve ‘great philanthropic work’ now they have stepped down from royal duties, their friend David Furnish has said (Ian West/PA)

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex believe they can achieve ‘great philanthropic work’ now they have stepped down from royal duties, their friend David Furnish has said (Ian West/PA)

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex believe they can achieve ‘great philanthropic work’ now they have stepped down from royal duties, their friend David Furnish has said (Ian West/PA)

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex believe they can achieve “great philanthropic work” now they have stepped down from royal duties, their friend David Furnish has said.

Harry and Meghan decided to step back from the royal family and pursue a more private life with their baby son Archie.

The couple will divide their time between the UK and North America and are currently living in Canada as they prepare to drop their HRH styles.

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

Elton John Aids Foundation – A Midsummer Party – Antibes
Sir Elton John’s husband, David Furnish, said he is ‘excited’ to see what Harry and Meghan achieve in their post-royal lives (Matt Crossick/PA)

Mr Furnish, the husband of Sir Elton John and a close friend of the royal couple, cited 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.

Duke and Duchess of Sussex statement
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are to step down from royal duties (Aaron Chown/PA)

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.

The stars of Netflix show Queer Eye will be in attendance, while rising star Sam Fender will perform.

PA