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

Couple will retain formal HRH titles but will no longer use them

Andy Gregory
Thursday 20 February 2020 00:45 GMT
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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will formally step down as senior royals on 31 March, a spokesperson for the couple has revealed.

Despite starting afresh in Canada, sources stress Prince Harry and Meghan Markle “will be in the United Kingdom regularly” and will continue to champion charitable causes.

While the couple will retain their formal HRH titles, they will no longer use them. Their continued usage of the word ‘royal’ in their new Sussex Royal brand is under discussion, the spokesperson said.

Harry and Meghan announced their wish to “step back” from their duties as senior royals and become financially independent in a statement released in January, generating global headlines and reportedly sending shockwaves through the monarchy.

A summit of senior royals was convened by the Queen at Sandringham to discuss the issue, and it was later announced that the couple would no longer be working royals.

Their last official appearance as working members of the monarchy will likely be at the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey on 9 March, alongside the Queen and other senior royals.

The couple will also join spectators in The Hague at Harry’s flagship charitable event, the Invictus Games, in May, and he is expected to attend the London Marathon in April, in his role as patron.

What has been dubbed “Megxit“ begins on the day the financial year traditionally ends, although there will be a review of arrangements after 12 months.

Their Buckingham Palace office will no longer be needed, and from 1 April they will be represented through their UK foundation team.

The couple are currently working to establish a new non-profit under the name “Sussex Royal”. A spokesperson said any change in the name would be announced at the new organisation’s launch later this year.

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.

The spokesperson stressed as a grandson of the Queen and the second son of the heir to the throne, Harry remains sixth in line to the throne and the Sussexes’ status in the order of succession is unchanged.

Amid rife speculation about how the Sussexes would move to become financially independent, several media outlets suggested Harry’s recent speaking engagement at a JP Morgan-sponsored alternative investment summit in Miami may have already secured the couple a six-figure sum.

The couple’s spokesperson 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.

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

Additional reporting by PA

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