What does their royal exit mean for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex — and the royal family?

March 31 officially marks Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s exit from royal life. In January, the couple made the groundbreaking announcement that they were stepping down as senior working royals.

After a whirlwind several weeks, which included an historic summit between the Queen, Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince Harry to iron out details of the exit and a final mini-royal tour in the U.K. that saw the Duke and Duchess of Sussex visit their key patronages, they are now officially starting their lives outside of the royal realm.

The agreement reached between the Queen and the couple goes into effect as of April 1. So what does their royal exit mean for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex — and the royal family?

Meghan and Harry, who recently moved to Los Angeles with their 10-month-old son Archie, have officially stepped back from their former royal duties and they will no longer undertake representative duties on behalf of the Queen or represent the Commonwealth, but they will, however, be allowed to maintain their previous patronages. They have said they will continue to uphold the values of the Queen.

Prince Harry and Meghan
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
| Credit: Karwai Tang/WireImage

Queen Elizabeth maintains that Meghan, Harry and her great-grandson Archie “will always be much loved members of my family.”

“I recognise the challenges they have experienced as a result of intense scrutiny over the last two years and support their wish for a more independent life. I want to thank them for all their dedicated work across this country, the Commonwealth and beyond, and am particularly proud of how Meghan has so quickly become one of the family. It is my whole family’s hope that today’s agreement allows them to start building a happy and peaceful new life,” the monarch, 93, said in a statement.

Meghan and Harry are now considered “financially independent,” as they are no longer receiving Sovereign Grant funding from taxpayers. As privately funded members of the royal family, they have permission to earn their own income and the ability to pursue their own private charitable interests. They are currently making plans for a new nonprofit organization.

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

While they will retain their “HRH” (His/Her Royal Highness), they will no longer actively use them as they are no longer working members of the family. As the grandson of the Queen and second son of the Prince of Wales, Harry remains sixth in line to the throne and the Order of Precedence is unchanged. They will also still be known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

When it comes to Harry’s military ties, he will retain the ranks of Major, Lieutenant Commander and Squadron Leader during a 12-month trial period. However, his honorary military positions will not be used.

Meghan and Harry will also no longer use their “Sussex Royal” brand or any iteration of the word “royal.” No new appointments will be made to fill these roles before the 12-month review of the new arrangements is completed.

As was previously agreed upon with the Royal Family, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will no longer use the name Sussex Royal for their charitable organization, Instagram or website. “For now, there will be no additional information on their next steps,” said the couple’s spokesperson.

On Monday, they made their last post to their SussexRoyal Instagram account, which they will no longer use.

Prince Harry
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
| Credit: Samir Hussein/WireImage

Meghan and Harry “will spend the next few months focusing on their family and continuing to do what they can, safely and privately, to support and work with their pre-existing charitable commitments while developing their future non-profit organisation,” the spokesperson said.

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A review is set to follow after 12 months, at which point the royal family will revisit the agreement.

In their final post on Instagram, Harry and Meghan thanked well-wishers for their support.

“Thank you to this community – for the support, the inspiration and the shared commitment to the good in the world. We look forward to reconnecting with you soon. You’ve been great!,” they said. “Until then, please take good care of yourselves, and of one another.”