Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, will not be returning as working members of the royal family. Buckingham Palace made the announcement after Harry confirmed to his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, that he and Meghan would formally and finally step away from their royal duties just weeks before a 12-month trial separation was set to end.
“Following 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,” a Buckingham Palace spokesman said.
“While all are saddened by their decision, The Duke and Duchess remain much loved members of the family,” the statement continued.
The couple will now have to surrender their royal patronages, which include formal associations with the Royal Marines, RAF (Royal Air Force base) 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.
Prince Harry will be stepping down from his role as RFU Patron.— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) February 19, 2021
We would like to thank Prince Harry for his time and commitment to the RFU both in his position as Patron and Vice Patron. The RFU has greatly valued his contribution to promoting and supporting the game. pic.twitter.com/9Gp3oyuYnD
A spokesman for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex released a statement on behalf of the couple saying they would, “remain committed to their duty and service to the U.K. and around the world, and have offered their continued support to the organizations they have represented regardless of official role. We can all live a life of service. Service is universal.”
Harry and Meghan announced last January that they were stepping back as “senior” members of the royal family and would work to become financially independent, with a plan to review the arrangements after 12 months.
Since then, they’ve moved to California and signed lucrative deals with Netflix and Spotify.
Last week Harry and Meghan announced they were “overjoyed” to be preparing to welcome a brother or sister for their son Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, who will turn two in May.
A Buckingham Palace spokesman said the Queen, Duke of Edinburgh, Prince of Wales and the rest of the royal family were “delighted and wish them well.”
The announcement of Harry and Meghan’s formal split from the royal family comes ahead of a much-publicized “intimate” interview with Oprah Winfrey, due to be broadcast by CBS on March 7.