The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have cut their final ties to the Royal Family and given up their honorary roles with several charities.
After conversations with Prince Harry, the Queen announced Friday 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 statement added that the Duke’s honorary military titles and the couple’s royal patronages will be distributed among other royals.
“While all are saddened by their decision, the Duke and Duchess remain much loved members of the family,” the statement said.
A spokesman for the couple said: “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.”
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced in January, 2020, that they wanted more financial independence and freedom from the Royal Family. Under an agreement struck with the Queen, they stepped away from royal duties last March and vacated their office at Buckingham Palace. They also lost their government funding and agreed to no longer use their HRH titles. The arrangement was to be reviewed within a year, with the possibility of Prince Harry returning to the fold.
The break has now been made permanent – although the couple have made it clear for months that they planned to make their home in California and continue their charitable work through their non-profit organization, Archewell. They also announced this week that Ms. Markle is expecting a second child.
Part of their transition to a more private life has also involved a tougher approach with Britain’s tabloid press, which they have long accused of invasive and unfair coverage. This month they scored a pair of legal victories over the Associated Press, owner of the Mail on Sunday newspaper: Ms. Markle won a privacy lawsuit involving the publication of a letter she wrote to her father in 2018, while Prince Harry accepted an apology and damages over a story that alleged he had turned his back on the Royal Marines.
As a result of Friday’s announcement, Prince Harry will relinquish the few remaining positions he continued to hold, including honorary titles with the Royal Marines, RAF Honington and the Royal Navy’s small ships and diving.
The couple will also give up their roles in several organizations, including the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, a London-based charity founded in 2018 that focuses on issues affecting young people. Prince Harry had been president and Ms. Markle vice-president of the trust. “We have been very lucky to have had the keen support and encouragement of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in our formative years,” the trust said Friday. “We are glad they remain in our circle of supporters.”
One of the trust’s partnerships in Britain has been with WE Charity. In 2018, WE was selected as a delivery partner, and the charity distributed £35,000 ($61,800) to 23 “social action projects across the U.K. and Canada.” Prince Harry and Ms. Markle also appeared at a WE Day event in London in 2019.
WE Charity wound down its Canadian operations last year because of disruptions caused by the pandemic and the controversy surrounding a now-cancelled contract with the federal government to run a student volunteer program.
Prince Harry will also give up his roles with the Rugby Football Union and the Rugby Football League. Ms. Markle will step down as a patron of the Royal National Theatre and the Association of Commonwealth Universities.
Prince Harry will remain a patron of the Invictus Games Foundation, which runs an international sporting event for injured servicemen and women. And Ms. Markle will continue as a patron of Smart Works, a British charity that provides clothes and training for job interviews to unemployed women.
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