Date Prince Harry and Meghan will end royal duties confirmed
Prince Harry and Meghan will end their royal duties from 31 March, a spokesman for the couple has confirmed.
It comes after weeks of talks to iron out the details of how the Duke and Duchess of Sussex could step back from their roles as senior members of the Royal Family, as they announced they wanted to achieve financial independence.
Harry and Meghan will lose the use of the HRH titles from 1 April, and Prince Harry will be stripped of his military honours.
The pair will both keep their patronages though. The couple will continue to be known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, as well as by their titles – the Earl and Countess of Dumbarton and the Baron and Baroness Kilkeel.
Prince Harry will still be sixth in line to the throne.
Prince Harry will retain his ranks of Major, Lieutenant Commander, and Squadron Leader but during the trial 12 months from 1 April 2020 to the same date in 2021, his honorary positions won’t be used.
The Palace won’t replace those honorary positions until the review next spring. It was previously thought Princess Anne would fill in at least one of his roles.
The Sussexes will not have an office in Buckingham Palace from 1 April, though they have already made the staff redundant, in what was seen as a clear sign that they would not be returning to the UK.
Details of their new non-profit will be announced later in the year, a spokesman said.
A review of the step back will take place in a year’s time.
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The pair look set to be in the UK regularly over the next few months, with the Duke of Sussex announcing engagements on 28 February, and 5-6 March.
Royal expert Omid Scobie said Prince Harry will be at a recording session with Jon Bon Jovi of his song Unbroken on 28 February, along with the Invictus Games Choir, which will be in aid of the foundation.
He said the pair will both be at the Endeavour Fund awards on 5 March and the Mountbatten Festival of Music at the Royal Albert Hall on 7 March.
Prince Harry will join Lewis Hamilton for the opening of the Silverstone Experience on 6 March, a museum about British motor racing and Meghan will mark International Women’s Day on 8 March.
They will be at Westminster Abbey on 9 March, to attend the Commonwealth Day Service.
Harry will be at the London Marathon at the end of April, and they will both attend the Invictus Games in May in the Netherlands.
Bosses at the National Theatre said they were not concerned about the changes, with Rufus Norris, the theatre’s artistic director, rubbishing claims there was a rift between them and the duchess, who is their royal patron.
There is an ongoing review into whether they can keep using the word ‘royal’ in their moniker of Sussex Royal.
“As the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are stepping back as senior members of the Royal Family and will work towards financial independence, use of the word ‘royal’, in this context, needed to be reviewed,” the source said.
“As part of the process to transition the Duke and Duchess of Sussex into their new chapter, planning has been well underway around the launch of their new nonprofit organisation.”
Despite the unprecedented move the couple will keep the themes of their public work – the Commonwealth, community, youth empowerment and mental health, collectively.
The couple’s spokeswoman said Harry’s priorities remain supporting the welfare of servicemen and women, conservation, sport for social development, HIV and Travalyst which works to mobilise the tourism and travel industry for social good.
For Meghan her focus remains women’s empowerment, gender equality and education.
Prince Harry and Meghan first announced their plans to “carve out a new path” in January, saying they valued the ability to make their own money and wanted to be financially independent.
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The senior royal system means they are paid by the Crown estate to carry out duties and cannot earn their own money on the side.
However their hopes of being able to honour the Queen and continue in some of the work and earn money appeared to be scuppered as plans for their future emerged.
They have been preparing for life after the Royal Family, with Prince Harry reportedly in talks with the likes of Goldman Sachs and Meghan understood to be taking on a voiceover role for Disney.
Prince Harry and Meghan took an extended break in Canada over Christmas and New Year and have been living there with their son, Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, since they made their announcement.