Queen set to deliver Commonwealth Day speech on same day as Meghan and Harry's Oprah interview

HRH will deliver speech shortly before Oprah interview airs

Olivia Petter
Monday 22 February 2021 13:27 GMT
(Getty Images)
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The Queen will deliver a speech to mark Commonwealth Day on Sunday 7 March, just a few hours before a groundbreaking interview with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex is scheduled to air.

In the interview, conducted by Oprah Winfrey, the couple are expected to address their departure from the royal family and explain their plans for the future.

Now, however, the Queen has also announced big plans for the same day and, alongside other members of the royal family, will take part in a special television programme celebrating the Commonwealth.

This is due to the fact that the annual Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey has been cancelled this year because of the pandemic. 

Instead, HRH will deliver a special message during a Commonwealth Day broadcast on BBC One.

Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle, said: “The Commonwealth Service is one of the Abbey’s most important annual services, but as it is not possible to gather here, we have seized the chance to take the celebration well beyond these walls.

“We are so pleased that this rich and vibrant BBC programme with the royal family and the Abbey at its heart will celebrate our global connections at a time when we are all so physically isolated.”

News of the speech comes days after Buckingham Palace announced that Harry and Meghan would not be resuming their roles in the royal family after the couple stepped down last year.

As a result, the pair’s royal responsibilities and duties, such as honorary military appointments and royal patronages, will be returned to the Queen and will then be shared among working members of the royal family.

Buckingham Palace said in a statement: “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.”

A spokesperson for Harry and Meghan responded with their own statement. 

“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,” they said.

“We can all live a life of service. Service is universal.”

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