Taking over. The Queen is reportedly giving Kate Middleton Prince Harry’s royal patronages nearly six months after he and his wife, Meghan Markle, officially stepped back from their royal duties.
The Sunday Times was the first to report the news that the Duchess of Cambridge, 39, will take on her brother-in-law’s former duties as patron of the Rugby Football Union (RFU) and the Rugby Football League (RFL). According to the Times, Buckingham Palace is expected to make a formal announcement about the decision in October 2021, ahead of the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand. Prior to his resignation from his royal duties, the Duke of Sussex, 36, served as a royal patron for both organizations for five years, according to the report.
Queen Elizabeth, 95, announced in a statement via Buckingham Palace that Harry and wife Meghan, 39, made the decision to permanently step down from their roles as working members of the royal family in February 2021. As part of their resignation, the monarch revealed that the couple would retain their titles as duke and duchess, but were required to return their patronages—which included the RFU, the RFL, the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, the Royal National Theatre, and the Association of Commonwealth Universities—to the Queen.
“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,” read Buckingham Palace’s statement at the time. “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.”
According to Insider, some organizations made the decision to keep Meghan and Harry on as patrons by simply removing “royal” from their titles. The RFU and RFL, however, did not choose to retain the Duke of Sussex as a patron. Along with giving up these patronages, Harry also lost his honorary military appointments, which were to be redistributed “among working members of The Royal Family,” according to Buckingham Palace.
While it’s not clear whether Harry and Kate have been in contact regarding the transfer of his patronages, recent reports have suggested that the pair’s relationship is on the mend after months of royal family tensions brought on by Meghan and Harry’s bombshell interview with Oprah. It is believed that the Duchess of Cambridge has been acting as a “peacekeeper” between her husband Prince William and Harry, and is making an effort to reach out to the Sussexes following the birth of their daughter, Lilibet, in June. Hopefully, this means the transfer of Harry’s old patronages won’t bring up any more bad blood—but only time will tell.