Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to step down as senior royals on 31 March

Couple will announce details of new non-profit later this year

Chelsea Ritschel
Wednesday 19 February 2020 18:22 GMT
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Harry and Meghan’s use of Sussex Royal brand ‘being reviewed’

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will begin their new life away from the royal family from March, after announcing their intention to step back from their senior roles in the family in January.

On Wednesday, it was announced that, from 31 March, the couple will continue to work with their existing patronages as they build a plan for engagements in the UK and the Commonwealth throughout the year, with Prince Harry set to retain the ranks of Major, Lieutenant Commander, and Squadron Leader.

According to the update from the couple's office, Prince Harry and Meghan, who announced they would be spending the majority of their time in North America, are set to attend multiple royal engagements in Britain over the next few months, with Harry due to attend an Invictus Games event with Jon Bon Jovi on 28 February.

The couple, who will no longer have an office at Buckingham Palace from 1 April, will also attend various events in March, including the Endeavour Fund Awards on 5 March and the Mountbatten Festival of Music on 7 March.

Additionally, Meghan and Harry will attend the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey on Commonwealth Day on 9 March alongside the rest of the royal family.

“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be in the United Kingdom regularly,” a spokesperson for the couple said.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will announce details of their new non-profit organisation later in the year, according to the spokeperson, with the couple set to keep the themes of their public work - the Commonwealth, community, youth empowerment and mental health, collectively.

Despite leaving the royal family, the spokesperson said that 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".

Meghan's focus remains on women's empowerment, gender equality and education.

According to the spokesperson, a review will follow after 12 months, at which point the royal family will revisit the agreement.

“As there is no precedent for this new model of working and eventual financial independence, the royal family and the Sussexes have agreed to an initial 12-month review to ensure the arrangement works for all parties,” the spokesperson said.

The update comes after it was revealed that the royal family is in discussions with the couple regarding their use of the word "royal" in their branding.

Currently, the couple is continuing to use the brand "Sussex Royal," for both their official Instagram account, where they have more than 11.2m followers, and website.

However, in January, after the palace announced that the Sussexes will not use their HRH titles as they are "no longer working members of the royal family," the couple's attempt to trademark Sussex Royal for their charitable foundation was blocked, following a complaint from an Australian doctor, Benjamin Worcester.

The Sussexes’ period of opposition for the trademark was due to end on 20 February 2020, but following the complaint from Dr Worcester, it has now been extended to 20 March 2020.

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