Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (aka the Duke and Duchess of Sussex) have officially broken from Britain’s royal family and will not be returning to life as working royals, Buckingham Palace said in a statement Friday.
“Following conversations with the duke,” the statement said, “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.”
When Harry and Meghan “stepped back” as working members of the royal family last year so that they could earn salaries for their work and have more privacy, the Queen granted them a one-year review period. The couple could test-drive their new life — but still have their old jobs back if they wanted.
In Friday’s statement, Buckingham Palace (and thus the Queen) made it clear that the review period was over and Harry and Meghan were officially out of “the firm.”
“While all are saddened by their decision, the duke and duchess remain much loved members of the family.”
The palace also said Friday that as a result of this official separation, the Queen was formally taking away the royal patronages she previously granted the Sussexes and stripping Harry — a 10-year army veteran — of his honorary military appointments .
The statement said the patronages and positions as honorary heads of military corps will “be returned to Her Majesty, before being redistributed among working members of the royal family.”
This was always part of the official plan that was agreed upon last year. Harry and Meghan knew going into the review period that if they decided to split from life as working royals for good, they would lose their formal ties with these organizations.
A spokesperson for the Sussexes told BuzzFeed News Friday that they would continue to support their former patronages in a private capacity.
“As evidenced by their work over the past year, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex 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. We can all live a life of service. Service is universal,” the spokesperson said.