The Buckingham Palace has confirmed that Prince Harry and Meghan will not return as working members of the royal family and will be giving up their honorary military appointments and royal patronages.
In a statement on Friday Feb. 19, the palace said in stepping away from the work of the royal family, it would not be possible for the Duke and Duchess “to continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service.”
“While we are saddened by their decision, the Duke and Duchess remain much loved members of the family,” the statement added.
The couple “stepped back” as senior members of the royal family in March last year and said they would work to become financially independent.
That agreement was finalized in January 2020, with a 12-month review period.
However, following the announcement on Friday, the couple, who now live in Santa Barbara, California, will return their honorary appointments, which the queen will redistribute among other members of the royal family.
The announcement came after conversations between Prince Harry and members of the royal family, according to the BBC.
A spokesperson for Harry and Meghan said the couple would remain committed to their duty and service to the UK and the rest of the world and will continue to offer their support to the organizations they previously represented, regardless of their official royal roles being revoked.
“We can all live a life of service. Service is universal,” the spokesperson added.
The queen allowed the couple to keep the titles of Duke and Duchess of Sussex, but they gave up their HRH titles – His Royal Highness and her Royal Highness – and agreed to stop using the word “royal” in their commercial and charitable ventures, according to the New York Times.
Prince Harry will remain being sixth in line to the British throne but will surrender patronages including the Royal Marines, the Rugby Football Union and the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust. He will be able to keep private patronages like his Invictus Games.
Meghan will surrender her two patronages – the National Theatre and the Association of Commonwealth Universities – both given to her by the Queen. She will also give up her role as vice-president of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust.
The news comes after the couple announced they are expecting a second child on Sunday Feb. 14. They have signed deals with Netflix and Spotify and are expected to appear in their first interview since stepping back with Oprah on Sunday Mar. 7.