As they prepare for the arrival of their second child together, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are opting not to return as working members of the royal family. After the couple stepped away from royal duties in 2020, Buckingham Palace confirmed Friday Harry and Markle have informed Queen Elizabeth that they will not return to royal work. As a result, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s honorary military appointments and Royal patronages will be revoked.
"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 statement, provided to Variety, read in part. "While all are saddened by their decision. The Duke and Duchess remain much loved members of the family."
The statement went on to reveal that the couple's military, Commonwealth, and Charitable associations will "therefore be returned to Her Majesty." The outlet notes these include the National Theatre, of which Markle was a patron, as well as the Royal Marines, The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust and The Association of Commonwealth Universities, among a few others. They will then be "redistributed among working members of 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 U.K. and around the world, and have offered their continued support to the organizations they have represented regardless of official role," a spokesperson for the couple said. "We can all live a life of service. Service is universal."
The Friday announcement comes a little more than a year after Harry and Markle announced on Jan. 8 that they would "step back as 'senior' members of the Royal Family" and instead "work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen." The couple said they came to the decision "after many months of reflection and internal discussions" and explained their intent to balance their time between the U.K. and North America, allowing them "to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter."
Since stepping back from their royal duties, the Sussexes have launched media ventures and have since relocated to Los Angeles, where they are raising their son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor. The couple announced on Valentine’s Day that they are expecting their second child together. Earlier this week, Harry and Markle also announced that they will take part in a "wide-ranging" interview with Oprah Winfrey to be broadcast on CBS next month. It will mark their first sit-down appearance since leaving London.