Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are permanently stepping down as working royals, Buckingham Palace confirmed on Friday, February 19.
“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,” a statement from BP reads. “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.”
The statement continues, “While all are saddened by their decision, The Duke and Duchess remain much loved members of the family.”
In January 2020, Markle and Prince Harry announced they were stepping down as senior members of the royal family, with a plan to review their position a year later. Now, it seems like they’ve made their final decision. As for their titles, they’re still technically the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, though they don’t use His/Her Royal Highness anymore. It’s a little like going back to your maiden name without bothering to change it on your driver’s license, except it actually isn’t like that at all.
A statement from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle says they “remain committed to their duty and service to the U.K. and around the world, and have offered their continued support to the organisations they have represented regardless of official role.” They are both involved in a number of charities in a personal capacity, and that isn’t likely to change.
As People notes, this “split” isn’t surprising and may have largely to do with Prince Harry and Markle’s business partnerships in the U.S. Lucrative deals with Netflix and Spotify have allowed the couple to pursue financial independence; their lives are no longer subsidized by British taxpayers. But if you’re a private citizen, you’re a private citizen: You can’t be a for-profit representative of the monarchy.
We’ll likely learn more when the couple’s interview with Oprah Winfrey airs on March 7. Can’t wait.