Harry and Meghan stripped of patronages they were ‘committed’ to supporting

Tony Jones and Laura Elston

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been stripped of their prestigious patronages as the couple confirmed Megxit was permanent.

Harry and Meghan wanted to retain their formal roles with the military, arts, Commonwealth and sporting organisations, but were informed they would have to relinquish the posts after talks with the Queen and senior royals.

A source said Harry and Meghan had “absolutely, no question” they wanted to retain the positions they had lost.

“They do respect the decision but they always made clear they were committed to doing the roles,” the source said.

Despite Harry and Meghan confirming their decision to remain in the US for personal and financial freedom, they believed they could still represent the organisations.

A spokesperson for the duke and duchess said, although the formal links have been broken, they have “offered their continued support to the organisations they have represented regardless of official role.

“We can all live a life of service.

“Service is universal.”

Buckingham Palace said all were “saddened” by their decision to permanently step down as working royals, but they remained “much loved members of the family”.

Harry and Meghan at a Queen's Commonwealth Trust event, an organisation they no longer formally represent. Jeremy Selwyn/Evening Standard
Harry and Meghan at a Queen’s Commonwealth Trust event, an organisation they no longer formally represent (Jeremy Selwyn/Evening Standard/PA)

Harry, a former Army officer with a passion for the military family, was eager to hold onto his formal links with the UK’s Armed Forces.

But he will lose his roles as Captain General of the Royal Marines, Honorary Air Force Commandant of the Royal Air Force Base Honington, and Honorary Commodore-in-Chief of the Royal Naval Commands’ Small Ships and Diving.

The announcement came after the 12-month review of the couple’s decision to step down as working royals.

Buckingham Palace said in a statement: “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have confirmed to Her Majesty the Queen that they will not be returning as working members of the royal family.

“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 honorary military appointments and royal patronages held by the duke and duchess will therefore be returned to Her Majesty, before being redistributed among working members of the royal family.

“While all are saddened by their decision, the duke and duchess remain much loved members of the family.”

Just a few weeks ago Harry was fronting the Rugby Football Union’s 150th anniversary celebrations in his role as the governing body’s patron.

But he has lost this position along with his patronage of the Rugby Football League, and his role as president of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust (QCT), while Meghan is no longer the trust’s vice-president.

The duchess, a former actress in the hit US-drama Suits, has lost her patronages of the prestigious Royal National Theatre and the Association of Commonwealth Universities.

All but the roles with the QCT were in the gift of the Queen.

A spokesperson for the Sussexes said: “As evidenced by their work over the past year, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex remain committed to their duty and service to the UK and around the world, and have offered their continued support to the organisations they have represented regardless of official role.

“We can all live a life of service.

“Service is universal.”

Since Harry and Meghan quit as senior working royals in March 2020 to earn their own money in the US, they have signed deals with Spotify and Netflix, estimated to be worth more than £100 million.

The Sussexes, who are expecting their second child, are poised for their “intimate” interview about their lives with chat show queen Oprah Winfrey.

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