Meghan Markle, Prince Harry: First Year After Stepping Down from Royal Family

LONDON — In a not-so-surprising move, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have confirmed they are leaving royal life for good.

Buckingham Palace said in a statement Friday that the couple confirmed to Queen Elizabeth “that they will not be returning as working members of The Royal Family.”

Prince Harry and his wife left England a year ago, and moved to Canada, and then to California. They have not been undertaking any public duties as royals over the past 12 months, and have instead signed lucrative contracts with Netflix and Spotify and set up the Archewell Foundation, a nonprofit organization.

Prince Harry and his grandmother had agreed they would revisit the couple’s decision in a year’s time, and so they have. Royal life is now over for the Sussexes, and Harry will lose his military appointments and various public patronages.

The palace said that “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 of Sussex will therefore be returned to Her Majesty, before being redistributed among working members of the Royal Family.”

Harry, a decorated military man, will no longer work on behalf of The Royal Marines, and other military organizations, nor will he represent The Rugby Football Union. Meghan will give up her role as patron of The Royal National Theatre and The Association of Commonwealth Universities.

The palace said “all are saddened” by Harry and Meghan’s decision, and added that “the Duke and Duchess remain much loved members of the family.”

Undoubtedly, the couple will talk about their controversial decision during an interview with Oprah Winfrey, which is scheduled to air early next month.

The decision to leave their roles behind comes during an eventful month for the couple.

On Feb. 14, Harry and Meghan revealed they are expecting their second child, just a few days after Princess Eugenie gave birth to a baby boy.

Earlier this month, Markle won her British High Court case against The Mail on Sunday.

Markle had sued the publisher of The Mail on Sunday for breach of copyright and infringement of privacy. The newspaper had published a handwritten letter from Markle to her father Thomas Markle, prompting the lawsuit in late 2019, shortly before the Duke and Duchess of Sussex relinquished their royal duties and moved to North America.

The article’s headline read: “Revealed: The letter showing true tragedy of Meghan’s rift with a father she says has ‘broken her heart into a million pieces.’” The newspaper had obtained the letter from Thomas Markle.

Mr. Justice Warby granted the Duchess of Sussex “summary judgment,” meaning the case has been resolved with no need for a trial.

The court still has to rule on the alleged data breaches and any potential damages. The couple’s law firm, Schillings, had said two years ago that proceeds from any damages would be donated to an antibullying charity.

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