A return to a life as working royals for Meghan Markle and Prince Harry has been branded "dead in the water".

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex signed an exclusive deal with Spotify to produce and host podcasts last month.

This followed an exclusive multi-year production deal for TV programming with  Netflix they signed in September, having stepped back from royal duties earlier this year.

An insider said the deals they have made show their ambitions are totally different from royal life and that their choices have scuppered any chance of retaining an official royal role.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, a source described any chance of future royal roles for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex as now "dead in the water".

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Harry and Meghan have now hit nine in the UK Spotify charts
The couple's newly formed Archewell Audio will produce programming that "uplifts and entertains audiences around the world"

They added: "It's solely down to the choices they have made. There is no anger or animosity [on behalf of the Royal Family].

"But every commercial deal that has been done by the Sussexes has been a nail in the coffin of any kind of return to royal life."

Another source added that to return to royal life would mean the couple would have to let go of commercial deals they have done, which they 'clearly' don't want to do.

There is said to be no animosity on behalf of the royal family
Harry and Meghan lay a wreath at Los Angeles National Cemetery on Remembrance Sunday in November

They said the fact Meghan and Harry had bought a house 6,000 miles away is a statement in itself of their intentions.

Under a multi-year agreement, the couple's newly formed Archewell Audio will produce programming that "uplifts and entertains audiences around the world" and features "diverse perspectives and voices," the Swedish company said in a statement.

The podcasts will be available free through Spotify, the company that leads the streaming music market.

Meghan and Harry shared an adorable voice clip of their son Archie wishing fans a Happy New Year on their debut podcast.