Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's royal duties will officially end on March 31

By Conchita Margaret Widjojo and Erin Hill
February 19, 2020 12:39 PM
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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will formally step down as senior royals next month, PEOPLE confirms.

The agreement reached between the Queen and the couple last month will be put into effect starting March 31, a spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex says.

Harry and Meghan will also no longer hold an office at Buckingham Palace and will instead be represented by their U.K. charity foundation team.

“The Duke and Duchess will be spending their time in both the United Kingdom and North America,” the spokesperson adds. “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 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 general, the themes of their cause related work will remain unchanged, which includes the Commonwealth, community, youth empowerment and mental health, collectively.”

Credit: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty

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

“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,” the spokesperson says.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry

Harry will retain the ranks of Major, Lieutenant Commander and Squadron Leader during this 12-month period, however, his honorary military positions will not be used. No new appointments will be made to fill these roles before the 12-month review of the new arrangements is completed.

There are still “ongoing discussions” on whether or not Meghan and Harry and can use the word “royal.” Any changes will be revealed once the Sussexes launch their new charity organization, which was reportedly going to be named “Sussex Royal, the Charity Foundation.”

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“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,” their spokesperson says.

While the discussions continue, it reportedly appears likely that they will not use the word “royal.”

Meghan and Harry will formally retain their “HRH” styles, but they will not actively use them. They will continue to be known as The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, as well as by their titles of The Earl and Countess of Dumbarton and The Baron and Baroness Kilkeel. Prince Harry remains sixth in the line of succession, and The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s status in the Order of Precedence is unchanged.

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Meghan and Harry will also be traveling to the U.K. to carry out several engagements over the next few months.

The prince will attend the Invictus Games Choir Visit on Feb. 28 alongside singer Jon Bon Jovi, as well as the Silverstone Experience opening with Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton on March 6.

The pair will also attend Endeavour Fund Awards on March 5, which acknowledges the wounded, injured and sick service personnel and veterans who used sports as part of their journey to recovery, and they will also be at the Mountbatten Music Festival at the Royal Albert Hall on March 7.

They will also attend the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey on Commonwealth Day on March 9 alongside the rest of the royal family. Additionally, Meghan will mark International Women’s Day on March 8.

Harry will be present at the London Marathon on April 26 and the couple will take part in Harry’s Invictus Games held in The Hague, Netherlands in May. In 2017, the Invictus Games was where the couple made their first public appearance together.

“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be in the United Kingdom regularly,” the spokesperson adds.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
| Credit: Tim Rooke/REX/Shutterstock

The news comes after Harry and Meghan’s bombshell decision to step down as senior members of the royal family in January.

“After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution,” the couple said in a statement on January 8, using their official Sussex Royal Instagram account to make the announcement.

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“We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen,” the statement continued. “It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment.”

In their statement, Harry and Meghan also said that they will be launching a “new charitable entity” in their next chapter. Planning on the non-profit’s launch has been well underway, and its reveal is expected to be announced at a later date.