Harry and Meghan will not return as working royals and will be stripped of honorary titles

19 February 2021, 12:06 | Updated: 19 February 2021, 14:30

Harry and Meghan will not return to royal duties and will be stripped of their titles
Harry and Meghan will not return to royal duties and will be stripped of their titles. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will not return as working members of Royal Family, it was confirmed today.

The Queen confirmed that it will not be possible for Harry and Meghan to continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service as they step away from the work of the royal family.

The couple announced in March 2020 that they would be stepping back from their roles as senior working royals and they settled in Montecito, California.

A statement from the Royal Family issued today said: "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.  

"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 honorary military appointments and Royal patronages held by The Duke and Duchess will therefore be returned to Her Majesty, before being redistributed among working members of The Royal Family.

"While all are saddened by their decision, The Duke and Duchess remain much loved members of the family."

The Queen said "it is not possible to continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service"
The Queen said "it is not possible to continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service". Picture: Getty

In a statement, the couple said they would offer to support the organisations they have represented and that "service is universal".

A spokesperson for Harry and Meghan 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 UK and around the world, and have offered their continued support to the organisations they have represented regardless of official role.

"We can all live a life of service. Service is universal."

Read more: Duke and Duchess of Sussex expecting second child

Read more: Meghan Markle 'agrees to sit-down interview with Oprah Winfrey'

Honorary military appointments and royal patronages held by the couple, including Harry's links to the Royal Marines, will be returned to the Queen and "redistributed among working members of The Royal Family".

The military, Commonwealth and charitable associations which will revert to the Queen are The Royal Marines, RAF Honington, Royal Navy Small Ships and Diving.

The decision also includes The Queen's Commonwealth Trust, The Rugby Football Union, The Rugby Football League, The Royal National Theatre and The Association of Commonwealth Universities.

Shortly after the announcement, the Rugby Football Union (RFU) confirmed that Harry would be stepping down from his role as a patron.

It said in a post on the England Rugby Twitter account: "We would like to thank Prince Harry for his time and commitment to the RFU both in his position as Patron and Vice Patron.

"The RFU has greatly valued his contribution to promoting and supporting the game."

The Rugby Football League, of which Harry was also a patron, tweeted: "The Rugby Football League thanks The Duke of Sussex for his time, care and commitment in supporting Rugby League at all levels in recent years - from the children's game to the Challenge Cup, the England teams and RLWC2021."

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are expecting their second child
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are expecting their second child. Picture: Misan Harriman/The Duke and Duchess of Sussex/PA Media

It comes after it was announced that Meghan will do a wide-ranging primetime interview with Oprah Winfrey in the US.

The interview will touch on “stepping into life as a Royal, marriage, motherhood, philanthropic work to how she is handling life under intense public pressure”, CBS said.

Harry will later join the interview, and the couple will speak about their move to the United States and their future hopes and dreams for their expanding family, a CBS spokesperson said.

The couple revealed last week that they are expecting a second baby.

They shared the news with a black and white photo of themselves, under a tree with Harry resting his hand on Meghan’s head as she lay in his lap cradling her bump.