Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Will Formally Step Down As Senior Royals Next Month
This story was updated on February 23
Since stepping down from their roles as senior royals last month, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have been settling into life outside the royal family, spending time with their son Archie in Canada.
This arrangement came after Buckingham Palace announced that the couple would no longer formally represent the Queen and would “step back from royal duties, including official military appointments” on January 18.
Many believed that the UK-Africa Investment Summit on January 20, which Harry attended before joining his family in Canada, marked the end of his royal career, but it appears that it wasn’t his last official appearance.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be returning to the United Kingdom at the end of this month to fulfil their remaining duties, with Harry first meeting with Jon Bon Jovi and members of the Invictus Games Choir at a recording session for the Invictus Games Foundation on February 28.
The couple is due to appear at the Endeavor Fund Awards six days later on March 5, which Harry has attended since its inauguration in 2017. Harry will also be joining Lewis Hamilton at the official opening of the Silverstone Experience—an immersive motorsport museum on March 6, and the couple will attend the Mountbatten Music Festival at the Royal Albert Hall on March 7.
On March 8, Meghan will “mark” International Women's Day at an event yet to be announced, and the Sussex couple will join the Queen and the rest of the royal family at Westminster Abbey for the Commonwealth Day Service on March 9.
According to a spokesperson for the couple, their royal duties representing the Queen will officially end on March 31, after which their Buckingham Palace office will be closed and they will be represented by their new non-profit organisation in UK instead.
Engagements have already been lined up for the pair, with them speaking at banking giant JP Morgan’s Alternative Investment Summit in Miami earlier this month. Harry is also reportedly in discussion to appear on Goldman Sachs’ interview series Talks at GS.
The couple will still be supporting their existing patronages, which will see Harry attending the London Marathon in April and the couple appearing at the Invictus Games in the Netherlands come May.
(Related: Prince Harry and Meghan Want Financial Independence: How Other British Royals Earn Their Keep)
While the Queen has allowed Harry and Meghan to retain their HRH titles, they will not be able to use them, and the use of the word “royal” will also be under review, according to the couple’s spokesperson.
Harry and Meghan are believed to have applied for two UK trademarks in June last year for ‘Sussex Royal, the Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’ and ‘Sussex Royal’, a brand they have adopted for their website and Instagram, which now boasts 11.2 million followers. ‘Sussex Royal’ was also registered as a global trademark that encompasses everything from books and stationery to clothing.
In an update posted to their website on February 21, the Duke and Duchess clarified that “given the specific UK government rules surrounding use of the word ‘Royal’, it has been therefore agreed that their non-profit organisation will not utilise the name ‘Sussex Royal’ or any other iteration of ‘Royal.’”
The announcement added that the trademark applications have since been removed, and that “while there is not any jurisdiction by The Monarchy or Cabinet Office over the use of the word ‘Royal’ overseas”, they do not intend to use it in any other territory as well once the transition is in place.
(Related: What Happens When Royal Marriages Fail and How Peter Phillips’ Divorce is Different)
Harry and Meghan's entity will not be a foundation, but rather, a non-profit organisation that intends “to develop a new way to effect change and complement the efforts made by so many excellent foundations globally”. An earlier statement by their spokesperson noted that it will support the couple’s existing causes including the Commonwealth, community, youth empowerment and mental health.
This year will be a trial for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in their pursuit for privacy and financial independence, as the arrangement with Buckingham Palace will be reviewed again in 12 months. Until then, Harry’s honorary military positions—which he has been suspended from following his exit—will be left empty.