Prince Harry and his wife Meghan have told Queen Elizabeth II that they will not be returning as working members of the monarchy.
The decision marks the couple’s final split with the British royal family.
Harry and Meghan sent shockwaves through the monarchy in January 2020 by suddenly announcing they were splitting from the family and embarking on a new future across the Atlantic – one of the most extraordinary royal exits in decades.
Harry said he did not make the decision lightly and praised his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, and the rest of his family for supporting him and his wife in recent months. He called the decision “a leap of faith” and said he hopes the move will allow him and his family to achieve a “more peaceful life.”
Buckingham Palace announced in January that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will no longer use the titles His and Her Royal Highness after announcing they would step back from their roles as senior members of the royal family.
That split has now been formalised after discussions with the 94-year-old Queen Elizabeth: Harry and Meghan will lose their treasured royal patronages which revert to the queen and will be distributed among other family members.
The split amounts to an abdication from the royal family whose senior members such as the queen have long prioritised duty and service above personal wishes.
The pair, who said they would remain committed to their service to Britain, will break their silence on the royal split — cast by British newspapers as “Megxit” — in an interview with Oprah Winfrey next month.
When they announced their intention to carve out a “progressive new role” away from stifling media intrusion in 2020, they said they wanted to become financially independent but also honour their duties to the queen and their official patronages of charities and organisations close to their hearts.
‘LIFE OF SERVICE’
Those patronages have now gone. Queen Elizabeth, whose 99-year-old husband, Prince Philip, is currently in hospital in London, took a firm line.
Buckingham Palace statement on The Duke and Duchess of Sussex
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.
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. The honorary military appointments and Royal patronages held by The Duke and Duchess will therefore be returned to Her Majesty, before being redistributed among working members of The Royal Family.
While all are saddened by their decision, The Duke and Duchess remain much loved members of the family.
Notes to editors:
Following The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s decision to step away last year as working members of The Royal Family, a 12-month review was agreed.
A decision has now been made after conversations between The Duke of Sussex and Members of The Royal Family.
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.
Harry, 36, and Meghan, 39, moved with their son Archie to Southern California to live a more independent life and escape the British media.
They announced on Sunday that they were expecting their second child.
Harry is the second son of Prince Charles, heir to the throne, and his first wife Diana, who died in a Paris car crash in 1997 while being chased by paparazzi.