On January 8, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle gave their notice: They were to “step back” from royal life. When, exactly, was unclear. Was this immediate? Weeks from now? Months from now? The Queen of England later clarified it would be in the spring—but still, a season is pretty vague.
On Wednesday the couple officially announced a departure date: March 31.
They will give up public funding and many of their royal duties. (They’ll keep some private patronages, like the Prince Harry–founded charity Sentebale and the Invictus Games.) Much of their London-based staff was let go, suggesting that North America will essentially become their permanent base. They will live a private life. And a profitable one—the couple has expressed their desire to become financially independent.
For one, the Sussex couple will return to the United Kingdom, and soon: Prince Harry will team up with Jon Bon Jovi to rerecord “Unbroken” with the Invictus Games Choir on February 28. The couple announced the partnership on their Instagram account on Friday.
They will stay through March: Reports say they are also due to attend the Endeavour Fund Awards, the Mountbatten Musical Festival, and the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey.
The latter is particularly significant: It’s a staple in the royal-appearance calendar, and the entire extended Windsor clan attends. It will be the first time the public sees them all together since the Sussexes’ bombshell announcement.
After that, it’s off to a new life with its as-yet unknowns. The queen has allowed Harry and Meghan to keep their HRH (His or Her Royal Highness) titles, but after some debate the couple announced today they have withdrawn the trademark applications for the use of Sussex Royal given British government rules around the word “royal.”
“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex do not intend to use ‘Sussex Royal’ or any other iteration of the word ‘Royal’ in any territory…when the transition occurs Spring 2020,” their website (sussexroyal.com) stated.
While the couple will be creating a new “non-profit entity,” the site also clarified that “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex do not plan to start a ‘foundation’, but rather intend to develop a new way to effect change and complement the efforts made by so many excellent foundations globally.” There’s no word yet on what their organization will be called, but the couple are laying the groundwork for it in the meantime: Last week they reportedly visited Stanford University for guidance on setting up the nonprofit.
For the next month, they’re still part of “The Firm”—the nickname for the British royal family, whose bonds are often compared to those of a business. Yet come March 31, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have officially quit their jobs.
Originally published on Vogue.com