LONDON — Buckingham Palace confirmed Friday that Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, will not be returning to royal duties, and Harry will give up his honourary military titles.
When Harry and Meghan stepped away from full-time royal life in early 2020, it was agreed the situation would be reviewed after a year. The palace said in a statement “that they will not be returning as working members of The Royal Family.”
It said Harry’s appointment as captain general of the Royal Marines and with other military groups would revert to Queen Elizabeth II before being distributed to other members of the family.
The palace’s full statement said:
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.
In early 2020, Meghan and Harry announced they were quitting royal duties and moving to North America, citing what they said were the unbearable intrusions and racist attitudes of the British media.
They live in Santa Barbara, Calif., and are expecting their second child, a younger sibling for their first-born toddler, Archie. They announced Meghan’s pregnancy days before the palace’s confirmation on the final conclusion of the couple’s royal duties.
“We can confirm that Archie is going to be a big brother. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are overjoyed to be expecting their second child,” a spokesperson said in a statement.
Harry and Meghan also recently announced that they will speak to Oprah Winfrey in a TV special to be broadcast next month.
A spokesperson for the couple said in a statement that “as evidenced by their work over the past year, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex 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.”
Look: Royal baby photos through the years. Story continues below.
Since their move to North America, which began with a stay on Vancouver Island in December 2019, the duke and duchess have been doing various work in service to the local community.
Meghan stopped by the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre in Vancouver in January 2020 to ”discuss issues affecting women in the community.” Later that month, she and Harry shared posts on their now-defunct SussexRoyal Instagram account in support of Bell’s well-known and often divisive Let’s Talk campaign, which is focused on mental health.
During their time in California, the couple has been spotted delivering meals to those in need in Los Angeles during the pandemic, and have taken on several speaking engagements, features and appearances that address issues that matter to them, including the environment, mental health, Meghan’s own miscarriage, racism and sexism, among others. Their Archewell Audio podcast project is focused on telling stories and featuring voices to help people find their common ground and drive change.
With files from Lisa Yeung, Maija Kappler, Premila D’Sa.
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