End of an era! Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will officially not be returning to their royal duties. Buckingham Palace released a statement Friday, February 19, confirming the news — leaving many to wonder: What's next for the couple?
“The duke and duchess have confirmed to Her Majesty The Queen that they will not be returning as working members of the royal family,” the statement read. “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 statement continued.
Furthermore, Prince Harry will lose his “honorary military appointments” and duties will be “redistributed among working members of the royal family.” Meghan and Harry will no longer be involved in the Queen's Commonwealth Trust, the Rugby Football Union, the Rugby Football League, the Royal National Theatre and the Association of Commonwealth Universities, as those duties will revert back to the Queen as well.
Will Prince Harry and Meghan be stripped of their royal titles?
Although they will no longer use their coveted His/Her Highness titles, they are able to keep them — along with their Duke and Duchess of Sussex titles. “While we are all saddened by their decision, the duke and duchess remain much-loved members of the family," the statement announced.
Releasing their own statement after the news broke, Prince Harry and Meghan’s office said the duo “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,” the statement read, adding that “we can all live a life of service. Service is universal.”
What roles did they keep?
Prince Harry and Meghan had roughly 18 royal and private patronages before today’s announcement.
Despite losing his military titles, Prince Harry would still have his Invictus Games Foundation — the Paralympic-style contests for service members. He also retains his personal charity Sentebale, African Parks, Dolen Cymru, the Henry van Straubenzee Memorial Fund, MapAction, Rhino Conservation Botswana charity and WellChild — which aids sick children and their families, according to The Sun. Meghan will retain animal welfare charity Mayhew, and Smart Works Charity — which provides women with professional attire for career opportunities.
The news of their official royal exit comes shortly after the couple announced they were expecting their second child together.
“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 for the two said in a statement. The exciting announcement came paired with a black-and-white photo of the happily married couple canoodling in the park. The smiling Duke of Sussex is cradling his wife’s head, and the Duchess' small (but obvious) bump is on full display.
On Twitter, the photographer of their pregnancy announcement, Misan Harriman, wrote, “Meg, I was there at your wedding to witness this love story begin, and my friend, I am honoured to capture it grow. Congratulations to The Duke and Duchess of Sussex on this joyous news!”