Prince Harry and wife Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, will not be returning as working members of Britain’s royal family, Buckingham Palace announced on Friday.
In a statement on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II, Harry’s grandmother, the palace said that the Duke and Duchess had informed the monarch of their decision as a one-year so-called cooling off period since their initial announcement to step back as frontline royals comes to an end next month.
As a result, the 94-year-old monarch wrote to them of the decision and also said that all their honorary military appointments and royal patronages will be redistributed among other working members of the royal family.
“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,” reads the Buckingham Palace statement.
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”, it notes.
“While all are saddened by their decision, The Duke and Duchess remain much loved members of the family”, the statement concludes.
Harry, 36, and Meghan, 39, had made a formal exit as frontline royals to work towards a more financially independent future in March 2020.
It had been agreed at the time that the arrangement would be reviewed at the end of a 12-month period.
The couple have since relocated to the US with one-year-old son Archie and recently announced that Markle is pregnant with their second child.
Since then, they have launched their own media ventures, and announced earlier this week that they will take part in an interview with Oprah Winfrey — their first sit-down appearance since leaving London.
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, said a spokesperson for Harry and Meghan.
“We can all live a life of service. Service is universal,” the spokesperson said.
The decision means Harry would be losing his military honours, including as Captain General of the Royal Marines