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Meghan and Harry's Archewell Foundation is supporting a project that just completed an emergency relief center in Dominica

By Stephanie Petit
February 24, 2021 01:26 PM
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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry may have stepped down from the royal roles, but they are still doing their part to help Commonwealth countries around the world.

World Central Kitchen, founded by chef José Andrés, shared Wednesday that they were teaming up with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's nonprofit Archewell Foundation to create Community Relief Centers in regions of the world prone to climate disasters. They added that construction on the first centers in the Caribbean Commonwealth nation of Dominica has been completed.

The center, located in a school constructed under Dominica's climate resiliency plan to be a safe shelter against future hurricanes, installed kitchen equipment that work using solar power. They also plan to launch a culinary training program this year to equip chefs to prepare food for large numbers in an emergency.

Buckingham Palace confirmed in a statement on Friday that the couple — who left full-time royal work in March 2020 — will officially not be returning to their royal roles. As part of stepping down, they will no longer keep their patronages (their royal involvement with numerous U.K. charities).

For more on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, listen below to the episode of PEOPLE Every Day.

Prince Harry, 36, previously served as President of the Queen's Commonwealth Trust with Meghan, 39, serving as Vice President. The organization, which supports youth empowerment in Commonwealth countries around the world, said in a statement that they felt "lucky" to have worked with the couple.

"They enabled us to make fast progress and have helped us to take the organisation to readiness for its next phase," they wrote. "We are glad they remain in our circle of supporters."

The palace statement added that Harry's grandmother Queen Elizabeth, 94, decreed that in stepping away from royal work "it is not possible to continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service." 

Meghan and Harry countered with a statement of their own, saying, "We can all live a life of service. Service is universal." 

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
| Credit: Chris Jackson/Getty

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The pushback reportedly ruffled feathers at the palace. Others say the couple would not have pushed back had the palace statement simply referred to "royal" service.

Still, adds a royal source, "There is a very strong family bond."