It’s official: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are saying farewell to their roles as working royals on March 31.
A spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced today that the couple will officially step down at the end of March and will close their Buckingham Palace-based offices on April 1, transitioning to focus on their new Sussex Royal, the Charity Foundation. It’s major news as far as the 35-year-old prince and 38-year-old duchess’s effort to forge a new path for themselves is concerned, but this end date also leaves us with some questions. For instance, will they retain their official royal titles? For now, it appears that they will.
After April 1, Prince Harry and Markle will still be allowed to use their titles of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, as well as their Earl and Countess of Dumbarton and Baron and Baroness Kilkeel monikers, which they use while in Scotland and Northern Ireland, respectively. Interestingly, they’ll also still technically be considered Her and His Royal Highnesses, but at the request of Queen Elizabeth II they have agreed to no longer actively use those prefixes.
In addition to their royal titles, Prince Harry will also retain his place as sixth in the royal line of succession, behind Prince Charles, Prince William, Prince George (6), Princess Charlotte (4) and Prince Louis (1).
The Duke of Sussex will also hold onto his military titles, Major, Lieutenant Commander and Squadron Leader for at least a 12-month period, and no new appointments will be made in the meantime.
However, the royal family is in the midst of “ongoing discussions” about whether the couple may still use the word “royal” in relation to their charity foundation, Sussex Royal. The spokesperson explained that this ruling will become clear when they officially launch their new non-profit organization later this year.
Other points of intrigue that came out of today’s announcement include an interesting loophole in the agreement reached between the Sussexes and Queen Elizabeth II. According to the spokesperson, it appears the Duke and Duchess will meet with Her Majesty and the royal family one year after their parting of ways, on April 1, 2021, to determine if their new arrangement suits all parties involved. (Does this mean they could potentially be reinstated as royals if they felt up to it? Potentially.)
More shall (hopefully) be revealed.