A spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex just revealed when they’ll formally step down as senior royals
Welp, it’s really happening! On Wednesday, the details of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s official split from the royal family became public fodder when a spokesperson for the Sussex family announced their last day of royal duties. And it’s a date that is rapidly approaching — per the representative, Harry and Meghan will cease to have an office at Buckingham Palace effective March 31.
As for their immediate post-royal plans, Harry and Meghan will continue to bounce between the U.K. and the U.S. for the time being. “The Duke and Duchess will be spending their time in both the United Kingdom and North America,” said the spokesperson, adding, “In addition to continuing to work closely with their existing patronages as they build a plan for engagements in the U.K. and the Commonwealth throughout the year, the Duke and Duchess have also been undertaking meetings as a part of their ongoing work to establish a new non-profit organization. The details of this new organization will be shared later in the year.”
In the near future, Harry and Meghan have quite a few trips to the U.K. planned. In late February, Harry will attend two Invictus Games events: one with singer Jon Bon Jovi on Feb. 28, and another alongside Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton on March 6. He’ll later present at the London Marathon on April 26. Meghan is expected to have some sort of solo U.K. presence to mark International Women’s Day on March 8.
Together, they’ll attend the Endeavour Fund Awards together on March 5, the Mountbatten Music Festival at the Royal Albert Hall on March 7, the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey on March 9 and, naturally, the Invictus Games held in The Hague, Netherlands, in May. Plus, they’ll presumably attend Princess Beatrice’s wedding to Eduardo Mapelli Mozzi on May 29 at Buckingham Palace.
“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be in the United Kingdom regularly,” the spokesperson emphasized.
Currently, whether or not Harry and Meghan will be allowed to continue to use the word “royal” — a part of their website and social media branding — is actively being scrutinized. “As The Duke and Duchess are stepping back as senior Members of the Royal Family, and will work towards financial independence, use of the word ‘Royal,’ in this context, needed to be reviewed. Discussions are still ongoing, however, a change will be announced alongside the launch of their new non-profit organization,” the couple’s statement read.
So, that’s what the Sussexes have in the works and what will change for them come March 31. Some things will go relatively unchanged, though.
They’ll continue to be known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, as well as their titles, the Earl and Countess of Dumbarton and the Baron and Baroness Kilkeel (who even knew those were their titles?!). And, according to the spokesperson, Harry is still sixth in line to the throne.
Harry and Meghan will not be allowed to use their “HRH” styles, but they will formally retain them. Harry will also retain the ranks of Major, Lieutenant Commander and Squadron Leader for now, but his honorary military positions won’t be used.
And a review is still slated for 12 months from the start of their step-down as senior royals. At that point, the royal family will revisit the agreement. Explained the spokesperson, “As there is no precedent for this new model of working and eventual financial independence, the Royal Family and The Sussexes have agreed to an initial 12-month review to ensure the arrangement works for all parties.”
But for all intents and purposes, their royal responsibilities will be finished starting in April.