It’s official: Meghan Markle and Prince Harry won’t return to their royal roles, Queen Elizabeth II confirmed on Friday, February 19.
In a statement from Buckingham Palace, the Queen confirmed that Meghan and Harry—who moved to North America in January 2020 and left their full-time work with British royal family in March—will remove themselves from their royal patronages, a.k.a. their involvement with numerous charities in the United Kingdom.
“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,” the Buckingham Palace 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.”
Buckingham Palace confirmed that Meghan and Harry’s trusts and patronages—which included the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, the Rugby Football Union, the Rugby Football League, the Royal National Theatre and the Association of Commonwealth Universities—will revert to the Queen. Along with the patronages, Harry will also lose his honorary military appointments, which will be redistributed “among working members of The Royal Family,” according to Buckingham Palace.
As for the couple’s royal titles, Buckingham Palace confirmed that Harry and Meghan will retain their His/Her Highness titles, as well as their Duke and Duchess of Sussex titles. Though the couple still refer to themselves as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, they haven’t used their His/Her Highness titles since they left their full-time work with the royals in March 2020.
“While all are saddened by their decision, The Duke and Duchess remain much loved members of the family,” the Buckingham Palace statement continued.
In their own statement, a representative for Meghan and Harry stated that the couple 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 continued, “We can all live a life of service. Service is universal.”
Meghan and Harry’s announcement of their decision to leave the royal family for good comes a month before the official end of their probation period on March 31.