Buckingham Palace has confirmed to Variety that the couple won’t 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,” reads the statement.
“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. While all are saddened by their decision, The Duke and Duchess remain much loved members of the family.”
A spokesperson for the couple said in a 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 U.K. and around the world, and have offered their continued support to the organizations they have represented regardless of official role. We can all live a life of service. Service is universal.”
While the couple’s decision is hardly surprising given Prince Harry and Markle relocated to the U.S. last year, and have kickstarted high-profile media careers, an official confirmation was expected following the 12-month review period that was agreed with the Queen following the couple’s shock announcement last winter.
At the time, the pair made clear on their now defunct Sussex Royal website that it was their preference “to continue to represent and support Her Majesty The Queen albeit in a more limited capacity, while not drawing on the Sovereign Grant.” Evidently, that wasn’t possible — at least in an official capacity. It’s understood that Friday’s announcement from Buckingham Palace followed conversations between Prince Harry and members of the Royal Family.
Going forward, the couple’s military, Commonwealth and Charitable associations which will revert to The Queen. These include the National Theatre, for which Markle was a patron, as well as the Royal Marines, The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust and The Association of Commonwealth Universities, among a few others.
The couple, whose new website is Archewell.com, will speak to Oprah Winfrey in a “wide-ranging” interview to be broadcast on CBS next month. The interview was announced just a day after the couple revealed Markle’s second pregnancy.
The pair struck a major multi-year deal with Netflix in September that will see them developing documentaries, feature films, scripted television shows and children’s series. They also recently launched a podcast on Spotify under their Archwell Audio production company, with the goal of building “community through shared experience, narratives and values.”