The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have told the Queen that they will not be returning as working royals, the Palace confirms.
Prince Harry and Meghan have told the Queen that they will not be returning as working members of the royal family, and will in turn lose their patronages and honorary appointments, Buckingham Palace has confirmed.
“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have confirmed to Her Majesty The Queen that they will not be returning as working members of The Royal Family,” the Palace said in a statement.
It said that after conversations with the Duke, the Queen “has written confirming that in stepping away from the work of The Royal Family it is not possible to continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service.”
There has been speculation that Harry’s honorary military titles be handed to Prince William, although some UK outlets suggested that this would not happen for fear it could widen the rift between the brothers.
“While all are saddened by their decision, The Duke and Duchess remain much loved members of the family,” the statement from the Palace concluded.
The military, Commonwealth and charitable associations which will revert to the Queen are: The Royal Marines, RAF Honington, Royal Navy Small Ships and Diving, The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, The Rugby Football Union, The Rugby Football League, The Royal National Theatre and The Association of Commonwealth Universities.
A spokesman for the couple responded in a statement: “As evidenced by their work over the past year, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex remain committed to their duty and service to the UK and around the world, and have offered their continued support to the organisations they have represented regardless of official role.
“We can all live a life of service. Service is universal.”
The news came shortly after Prince Philip, 99, was admitted to hospital in London as a “precautionary measure” after feeling “unwell”. Harry is reportedly in isolation in his California home so he is able to rush back to the UK in case his grandfather’s condition worsens.
After Meghan and Harry’s decision to step away last year as working royals and move to the United States, a 12-month review was agreed. The couple said at the time that they intended to step back as ‘senior’ members of the royal family, and work to become financially independent.
The review was due to take place by March 31 but may have been fast-tracked after it was announced that Meghan, 39, and Harry, 36, have agreed to a tell-all interview with legendary US talk show host Oprah Winfrey, set to air on March 7.
The Duke of Sussex is also set to star on James Corden’s The Late Late Show after filming Carpool Karaoke on an open-top bus. Since leaving the UK, the Sussexes have signed multimillion dollar deals with Netflix and Spotify.
The couple, who are parents to one-year-old Archie, announced this week that they are expecting a second child. The Duchess in November revealed in an emotional New York Times piece that she had suffered a miscarriage in July 2020.
She also recently won a privacy battle against a UK newspaper in court over a letter she sent her dad, Thomas.
In a statement after the ruling, Meghan thanked Prince Harry and her mum Doria Ragland for their “unrelenting support throughout this process”.
She said the Mail on Sunday had employed “dehumanising practices”, adding: “For me and so many others, it’s real life, real relationships and very real sadness. The damage they have done and continue to do runs deep.”
The couple agreed to step back from royal duties and not undertake representative work when they left the UK last year, pending the review.
As agreed at the time, the Duke and Duchess will retain their “HRH” prefix, thereby formally remaining known as His Royal Highness The Duke of Sussex and Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex, but will no longer actively use the titles. Harry remains sixth in line to throne, but will move down the line of succession if Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis have children.
The Duke of Sussex was said to be “upset” at losing his honorary titles — Captain General of the Royal Marines, Honorary Air Commandant of RAF Honington and Commodore-in-Chief of Small Ships and Diving. He has also given up his roles as president of The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust; patron of England’s Rugby Football Union and Rugby Football League and patron of the London Marathon Charitable Trust.
The duchess of Sussex will step down as patron of the UK’s National Theatre, a role she was given in 2019 after it was held by the Queen for 45 years, and patron of the Association of Commonwealth Universities. She will also give up her role as vice-president of The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust.
The couple are reportedly “resigned” to losing their roles, and retain their private patronages — for Meghan, Smart Works and animal charity Mayhew and for Harry, African Parks, Dolen Cymru, the Henry van Straubenzee Memorial Fund, Invictus Games, MapAction, Rhino Conservation Botswana charity, Sentebale, and WellChild.
It means Prince Harry will no longer be able to wear his military uniform at official events, although the titles he earned during his ten years in the Army are not affected.
At future events, he will dress like other former servicemen in a suit and medals rather than his red Royal Marines uniform.
For Meghan, it will mean stepping down
A statement from QCT following today’s statement from Buckingham Palace. We would like to thank The Duke and Duchess of Sussex for their support and commitment to Team QCT: pic.twitter.com/lzBG9ExnUL
The Rugby Football League thanks The Duke of Sussex for his time, care and commitment in supporting Rugby League at all levels in recent years – from the children’s game to the Challenge Cup, the England teams and RLWC2021. pic.twitter.com/tijl55hWsJ
The National Theatre said in a statement that it was “very grateful for the support” offered by the Duchess during her patronage.
“The Duchess championd our work with communities and young people across the UK, and our mission to make theatre accessible to all.”
It said the process of appointing a new patron was “ongoing and will be announced in due course”.
The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, which champions young leaders working to change the world, said it had been “very lucky to have had the keen support and encouragement of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex in our formative years.”
It said the couple had “enabled us to make fast progress” and said it was “glad that they remain in our circle of supporters”.
The Rugby Football League thanked Prince Harry “for his time, care and commitment in supporting Rugby League at all levels in recent years”.