Today, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex attended the annual Commonwealth Service with the rest of the royal family, a commemoration of the Commonwealth of Nations. Their appearance is being hailed as their final appearance as royals — but is it really? Yes, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have put their foot down and decided to step down from their royal duties. They’ve embraced their new life as slightly-less-royals, with Harry requesting to not be called “Prince” anymore and Meghan eyeing her own superhero movie. But for all the changes Megxit has brought, it can’t really be said that Harry and Meghan are cutting ties with the royal family completely. It’ll be a long time — if ever — before these two really stop being a part of the royal family.
Let’s take a look at the facts. Per Harry and Meghan’s spokesperson, a series of new rules will take effect on March 31, 2020. From that point on, Harry and Meghan will no longer be able to use the term “Sussex Royal” (they’re in the process of rebranding their nonprofit), Harry will be stripped of his honorary military titles, and the couple will have no longer be able to rely on royal funding for their daily lives. They’ll continue to operate a nonprofit under a different name, retain their HRH and Duke/Duchess titles, and Harry’s position in line for the throne.
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Tonight, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex attended the annual Mountbatten Festival of Music at the Royal Albert Hall — marking the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War and the 80th anniversary of the formation of Britain’s Commandos. The Duke, who is Captain General @RoyalMarines joined veterans, serving members, world-class musicians, composers and conductors of the Massed Bands of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines to help raise funds on behalf of the @RoyalMarines Charity. #MFM2020 Photo © The Duke and Duchess of Sussex / Chris Allerton
o, whether or not Harry still wants to be a prince, is it really fair to say they won’t appear in the public eye as royals going forward? All these new rules will be reviewed after 12 months, meaning their lives are still very much at the mercy of how the royal family will choose to proceed. The couple will continue to reside in the UK part-time, and Harry will presumably continue to have contact with brother Prince William and grandmother Queen Elizabeth II.
Meghan and Harry’s next chapter will (hopefully) involve less media scrutiny, less emphasis on adherence to royal codes of conduct, and more freedom to design their lives as they choose. But these two aren’t going to wake up on April 1 with the rest of the world having forgotten they’re part of the royal family. Their appearance at the Commonwealth Service may have been the last official, mandatory appearance with their current titles. But it’s not the last time Harry and Meghan will attend an event “as royals” — to the public, that status will be hard to shake.
Click here to see all the most fabulous, romantic photos of Meghan and Harry — pre- and post-Megxit.