Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stripped of royal patronages as they confirm they will not return to duties

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·Royal Correspondent
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Watch: Harry and Meghan confirm they have stepped down as working royals

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have been stripped of their royal patronages as they confirm they will not be returning to their roles as senior royals.

The couple made the decision to step back last year, but a 12-month review was put in place for both parties to assess the move.

A statement from Buckingham Palace 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 decision means Harry will no longer be Captain General of the Royal Marines, Honorary Air Commandant of RAF Honington and Commodore-in-Chief, Small Ships and Diving, Royal Naval Command.

Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex arrive to attend The Mountbatten Festival of Music at the Royal Albert Hall in London on March 7, 2020. - The Festival brings together world-class musicians, composers and conductors of the Massed Bands of Her Majestys Royal Marines. This year, the performance will mark the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War and the 80th anniversary of the formation of Britains Commandos. (Photo by SIMON DAWSON / POOL / AFP) (Photo by SIMON DAWSON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Harry and Meghan at The Mountbatten Festival of Music at the Royal Albert Hall in London on 7 March 7, 2020. (Simon Dawson/AFP)

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The honorary titles have reverted to the Queen. It's previously been suggested she may bestow them on her daughter, Princess Anne.

Meghan loses her association with The Royal National Theatre, a patronage which was given to her personally by the Queen and had been seen as a sign of support for the new royal.

The couple also both lose their affiliation with the Queen's Commonwealth Trust. Harry was president and Meghan was vice president.

Harry loses The Rugby Football Union, The Rugby Football League, and Meghan loses The Association of Commonwealth Universities.

A spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex 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.”

Meghan keeps her private patronages of Mayhew, an animal charity, and Smartworks, which helps women get back into employment.

Harry keeps his patronages of African Parks, Dolen Cymru, the Henry van Straubenzee Memorial Fund, Invictus Games, MapAction, Rhino Conservation Botswana charity, Sentebale, and WellChild.

The announcement came more than a month before the official end of the 12-month review period, and while Prince Philip is in hospital on his doctor's advice.

Harry and Meghan are not coming back to royal life. (Getty Images/Samir Hussain)
Harry and Meghan are not coming back to royal life. (Getty Images/Samir Hussain)
Britain's Prince Harry (C) sings the national anthem ahead of the annual Army Navy armed forces rugby match at Twickenham, west London, on April 29, 2017.
Prince Harry attended the Army Navy match at Twickenham as Patron of the Invictus Games Foundation, which is the Official Charity of the day for this years match. The Army Navy Match is the annual rugby union match between the senior XV teams of the Royal Navy and British Army. This year sees the 100th fixture. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Adrian DENNIS        (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Prince Harry sings the national anthem ahead of the annual Army Navy armed forces rugby match at Twickenham, in 2017. (Adrian Dennis/AFP via Getty Images)

England Rugby said in a tweet: "Prince Harry will be stepping down from his role as RFU Patron.

"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 said in a tweet: "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."

A National Theatre statement said: "The National Theatre is very grateful for the support offered by the Duchess of Sussex throughout the course of her patronage.

"The Duchess championed our work with communities and young people across the UK and our mission to make theatre accessible to all.

"As Buckingham Palace has stated, the process of appointing a new patron is ongoing and will be announced in due course."

Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (R) meets with members of the Pericles company, the National Theatre's first Public Arts production in 2018, during a visit to the National theatre in central London on January 30, 2019 after it was announced that she would be Patron of the theatre. (Photo by Jon Bond / POOL / AFP)        (Photo credit should read JON BOND/AFP via Getty Images)
Meghan meets members of the Pericles company, the National Theatre's first Public Arts production in 2018, during a visit to the National Theatre in January 2019. (Jon Bond/AFP)

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The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust said in a statement: “The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust exists to support young people around the world who are delivering practical help to those who need it most.

“We have been very lucky to have had the keen support and encouragement of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in our formative years.

“They have enabled us to make fast progress and have helped us to take the organisation to readiness for its next phase.

“We are glad that they remain in our circle of supporters.

“Our focus, as always, is on the young people we work alongside. We will be pressing on with vigour to help them reach even more people with the essential services they provide.”

Harry, 36, and Meghan, 39, announced their intention to step back as senior members of the Royal Family in January 2020, following an extended break in Canada after their tour in South Africa.

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - OCTOBER 02: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend a Creative Industries and Business Reception on October 02, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa.   (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Prince Harry and Meghan, at a Creative Industries and Business Reception in Johannesburg, South Africa. The trip was their last royal tour. (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

During that tour, Meghan had admitted she was struggling, while Harry hinted at a rift with his brother Prince William, saying they were on different paths.

They then went for an extended break, missing Christmas with the Royal Family in 2019, spending it quietly with their son Archie.

When they made their announcement in January 2020, they suggested they wanted to continue serving the Queen, while earning their own money, and dividing their time between North America and the UK.

However after conversations between the palace and the couple, it was made clear the half-in, half-out option would not work.

The couple decided to leave, with Harry saying he had not wanted the situation to end that way.

They initially moved back to Canada, but then crossed the border into the US in March 2020, just as it was set to close to stop the spread of coronavirus.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 09: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex meets children as she attends the Commonwealth Day Service 2020 on March 09, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Meghan and Harry's appearance at the Commonwealth Day service in March 2020 was their last royal duty. (Getty Images)

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After staying for a while in Tyler Perry's mansion, they bought their own home in Santa Barbara.

They have signed deals with Spotify and Netflix, producing podcasts for the former and documentaries, children's programming and scripted series for the latter.

So far one podcast has been released, a Christmas special, which was produced by their company Archewell Audio, and included a short clip of their son Archie, one, wishing people a Happy New Year.

They intend to launch a non-profit organisation called Archewell.

The announcement of the final decision on the couple stepping back comes earlier than expected, and shortly before their interview with US presenter and author Oprah Winfrey who has become a friend of the couple since attending their wedding in May 2018.

It also follows their announcement that Meghan is expecting another baby.

Watch: Harry and Meghan to talk to Oprah

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