Buckingham Palace announced new details about the future for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex on Wednesday, revealing the date the two will cease to be full-time working royals.
The Sussexes will return to the UK in the coming weeks for a final series of engagements at the end of February and early March, with their Buckingham Palace office closing as of 31 March. From 1 April, the palace notes, the couple will be represented in the UK by their foundation team.
From 31 March, Harry and Meghan will operate under a 12-month review period to ensure that the new arrangement works for both them and the Royal Family. After a year, the arrangement will be re-assessed based on what worked and didn’t work.
“The point of the 12-month review is that the family wants the best for them and everyone recognises this is unchartered territory. Rather than do something finite, this is a pragmatic family conversation about what’s working and what’s perhaps not working,” a palace source said.
During this review period, Harry will retain all military ranks (Major, Lieutenant-Commander, and Squadron Leader) and honorary military appointments (including Captain-General of the Royal Marines) will not be filled.
The Daily Mail announced on Tuesday that Harry and Meghan would not be allowed to use ‘Sussex Royal’ moving forward, though a royal source told People magazine that, “As the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are stepping back as senior members of the Royal Family and will work towards financial independence, use of the word ‘royal’, in this context needed to be reviewed. Discussions are still ongoing.”
It is anticipated that any decision based on use of the word ‘Royal’ will be announced at the time Harry and Meghan launch their charitable foundation this year.
Their spokesperson confirmed to the media that their priorities have not changed, that their focus will still remain on the causes they championed as royals. Harry, the spokesperson noted, will continue to focus on servicemen and women, conservation, sport, HIV awareness, and Travalyst, the eco-tourism venture he launched last year.
Meghan’s focus will remain gender equality, education and women’s empowerment.
The palace noted that though they will be based largely in North America, Harry and Meghan intend to visit the UK more frequently after 1 April. Harry will attend the London Marathon in his capacity as its patron, and the couple will attend the Invictus Games in The Hague in May.