More than a year on from their decision to step back from their position as “senior” members of the royal family, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have committed to their decision to pursue independent roles while living in their adopted home of Montecito, California. “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,” Buckingham Palace revealed in a statement on 19 February.
“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 message continued. “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.”
Specifically, Harry and Meghan will be replaced as the president and vice-president of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, with the Duke stepping down as captain general of the Royal Marines and the Duchess no longer acting as the royal patron to the National Theatre and the Association of Commonwealth Universities. However, the couple will retain their “private” patronages, including The Invictus Games, African Parks, and Sentebale for Harry and Smart Works and Mayhew for Meghan.
In light of the news, the Duke and Duchess released their own statement, highlighting their continued dedication to philanthropic endeavors regardless of their status within the royal family. “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 organisations they have represented regardless of official role. We can all live a life of service. Service is universal.”
Since relocating to America, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been busy working on a number of high-profile charity initiatives and media projects, including signing a major Netflix deal and launching their own Spotify podcast, the first episode of which included a cameo from baby Archie. The couple also recently shared the happy news that Archie will become an older sibling later this year – publishing an image of Meghan cradling her bump that was shot remotely by photographer Misan Harriman and released on Valentine’s Day.
Originally published on Vogue.co.uk