The charity now refers to Meghan as "Our Patron, The Duchess of Sussex"

By Phil Boucher
March 21, 2020 02:45 PM
Samir Hussein/WireImage

Meghan Markle just took a significant step away from royal life.

On Saturday, Smart Works charity — of which Meghan is patron — removed all mentions of her as either an “HRH” or “royal” on the group’s website. Last September, Meghan unveiled a capsule collection for the charity, which helps women find employment with coaching tips and professional attire for their job interviews.

Where the site once included a section headed, “Our Royal Patron,“ it now reads “The Duchess of Sussex.“ Elsewhere, a page is now headlined, “Our Patron, The Duchess of Sussex,” whereas it previously read, “Our Royal Patron HRH The Duchess of Sussex.”

Meghan Markle and designer Misha Nonoo at the London launch of the Smart Works capsule collection in 2019.
Mark Large - WPA Pool/Getty

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The change is the first evidence that Meghan and Prince Harry have shifted into the agreement struck with Buckingham Palace in February, when it was decided that they would not use the term “royal” moving forward — although their Sussex Royal website and Instagram pages remain active.

Meghan Markle with women dressed in clothes from the Smart Works capsule collection during the collection's launch in London.
Mark Large - WPA Pool/Getty

“While The Duke and Duchess are focused on plans to establish a new non-profit organization, given the specific U.K. government rules surrounding use of the word ‘Royal,’ it has been therefore agreed that their non-profit organization, when it is announced this Spring, will not be named Sussex Royal Foundation,” a statement from their spokesperson said in February.

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In a “Spring 2020 Transition” post on their website shortly afterward, the Duke and Duchess also stated that they “do not intend to use ‘Sussex Royal’ or any iteration of the word ‘Royal’ in any territory” when their transition away from the royal family begins.

The statement added that while they retain their “HRH” prefix, they “will no longer actively use their HRH titles, as they will no longer be working members of the family as of Spring 2020.”

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Smart Works’ decision to make the changes comes on the heels of Prince Harry’s visit to the Travalyst working summit in Edinburgh, Scotland on February 26, where he asked to be introduced simply as “Harry.“

Prince William, Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry at the Commonwealth service on March 9.

The event was followed by a last round of public engagements for the couple, before they made their final official appearance as senior royals alongside Kate Middleton, Prince William and the rest of the royal family for the annual Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey on March 9.

Despite the frosty atmosphere between the younger royal couples, the Queen made sure they still felt welcomed by inviting them to church on the previous Sunday.

The Queen has also stressed that Meghan, Harry and Archie are “much-loved members of the family,” a friend of the couple previously told PEOPLE. “That stuff runs deep.”

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