Prince Harry and Meghan will end their royal duties on March 31 and vacate their office at Buckingham Palace, royal officials have confirmed.
As of April 1, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will also lose their share of government funding and will no longer use their HRH titles, officials added. And, in a potentially crippling financial blow to the couple, the Queen is reviewing whether they will be allowed to use “royal” in the name of any new venture.
The details are part of an arrangement the Duke and Duchess struck with the Queen last month in a bid for greater freedom and financial independence. The couple announced in January that they wanted to pull away from royal duties and divide their time between Britain and North America, with Canada the expected destination.
They also said they would give up their share of a government grant that is paid to senior members of the Royal Family and reimburse taxpayers for the £2.4-million ($4.1-million) that was spent refurbishing Frogmore Cottage, a home they use on the Windsor Castle estate.
Their plans for an independent life will be thrown into question if the Queen prevents them from using “royal” in any enterprise. The Duke and Duchess have already gone to great lengths to establish a non-profit organization called Sussex Royal.
While it has yet to officially launch, the couple have set up an elaborate Sussex Royal website, and they have applied for a global trademark on the name. Filings show they plan to use it on more than 100 products and services, including clothes, magazines, newspapers and calendars, as well as “marketing and promotion of charitable campaigns,” “cultural activities,” “personal development training” and “arranging and conducting of conferences.”
The Queen and other members of the Royal Family have expressed concern that the Duke and Duchess are trying to cash in on their titles. There have been media reports this week that the Queen has refused to allow them to use “royal” in the name, but on Wednesday, palace officials said that the matter was still under discussion. They added that a change would be announced when the organization was launched.
It’s still not clear how the Duke and Duchess will earn a living. There have been reports that they could draw a salary from donations to Sussex Royal and fees from speaking engagements. Earlier this month, they attended an investment conference in Miami sponsored by JP Morgan where Harry was a guest speaker. The company didn’t disclose how much they were paid.
They will also receive some money from Prince Charles, who heads the Duchy of Cornwall, a private company set up in 1337 by Edward III for his son and all subsequent heirs to the throne. The Duchy now has about £1-billion ($1.7-billion) in assets.
While it is not subject to taxation, Prince Charles voluntarily pays tax on its annual profit. He uses the remaining surplus, about £21-million ($36-million) last year, to fund his expenses along with those of Harry and his brother Prince William. They each receive around £2.5-million ($4.2-million) annually. Prince Charles has indicated that Harry will continue to receive a stipend, although it will likely be far less now that he is no longer fulfilling royal duties.
Palace officials also confirmed Wednesday that Harry will keep his military ranks of major, lieutenant-commander and squadron leader. However, he will drop his honorary positions, which include serving as head of the Royal Marines. He will also remain active in the Invictus Games, which benefits injured soldiers.
The Duke and Duchess’s final royal engagements will be limited to a handful of functions. Among them is a fundraising event later this month with rock star Jon Bon Jovi, who is recording a song for the Invictus Games.
They will also attend an awards gala for injured soldiers, the opening of a motorsport museum, a music festival, an International Women’s Day march and the annual Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey with the Queen on March 9.