Queen Elizabeth said "it is not possible” for the Sussexes “to continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service"

By Stephanie Petit
February 19, 2021 01:00 PM
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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are strongly asserting their commitment to "a life of service" — a direct response to the Queen's statement announcing that the pair have officially stepped down from their roles as working members of the royal family.

A statement released Friday by Buckingham Palace confirmed that Prince Harry, 36, and Meghan, 39, won't return as working royals. The announcement comes one year and one month after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex shared their plans to step down, which came with a one-year review period.

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"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 palace statement said.

Queen Elizabeth, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
| Credit: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty

In response, Prince Harry and Meghan pushed back with a statement that pointedly referenced the Queen's: "We can all live a life of service. Service is universal."

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
| Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty

Prince Harry and Meghan's office also said that the pair "remain committed to their duty and service to the U.K. and around the world, and have offered their continued support to the organizations they have represented regardless of official role."

The Buckingham Palace announcement said, "While all are saddened by their decision, The Duke and Duchess remain much loved members of the family."

Meghan Markle and Queen Elizabeth
| Credit: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Prince Harry will lose his honorary military appointments, which will subsequently be redistributed "among working members of The Royal Family."

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Other trusts and patronages that will revert to the Queen, 94, include the Queen's Commonwealth Trust, the Rugby Football Union, the Rugby Football League, the Royal National Theatre, and the Association of Commonwealth Universities.

Several of the patronages shared their gratitude to Harry and Meghan on social media amid the announcement.

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

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Although Prince Harry and Meghan, 39, no longer use their coveted His/Her Royal Highness titles, they will retain them — along with their Duke and Duchess of Sussex titles.