How Many Senior Royals Are Left in British Monarchy After Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s Exit?

Fans of the British royal family have a lot to digest these days, with a wealth of new and interesting stories making headlines. Possibly the biggest story of the past year is the fact that Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry left their roles as senior royals, choosing to carve out new lives for themselves in Meghan’s home state of California. The two recently did a bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey, revealing the truth of life within the royal family. In light of their revelations, many fans are wondering about the current status of the royal family, and just how many senior royals are left. 

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry stepped down as senior royals

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry wave as they leave Windsor Castle to attend their evening wedding reception at Frogmore House
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry wave as they leave Windsor Castle to attend their evening wedding reception at Frogmore House | Steve Parsons – WPA Pool/Getty Images

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In January 2020, Meghan and Prince Harry took to social media to announce that they were stepping down from their roles as senior members of the royal family. The couple, who had been relentlessly pursued by British tabloids, stated that they wished to live as private citizens, supporting the monarchy as needed, while working on their own projects.

In recent months, however, more details have been coming out regarding what prompted their decision, and what they left behind.

As part of their decision to step away, Meghan and Prince Harry lost the rights to lose their royal titles in public, as well as some other financial perks. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex also lost the ability to regularly represent the queen at high-profile public events.

These days, the couple are working hard on their own projects, including deals with Netflix and Spotify — but the remaining senior members of the royal family soldier on as usual. 

What does a senior royal do?

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While the term “senior royal” is one that is imbued with dignity and a sense of prestige, the fact is that there’s no set description for what a senior royal does on a day-to-day basis. According to Town & Country, senior royals are traditionally considered to be full-time members of the royal family, who perform regular duties in the name of the queen, and who live their lives as “highly visible representatives of the monarchy.”

Senior royals regularly attend charity events, step out at high-profile public events, and speak on behalf of the monarchy at fancy-dress balls and parties. They also must dedicate their time to several charitable causes of their choice, and presumably, steer clear of the spotlight whenever possible — comporting themselves in a manner that the queen would approve of. 

Still, the term has not been officially defined by the royal family — and that is unlikely to change at any point in the near future, since the monarchy is notoriously particular about changing up their official approach to things. 

How many senior royals are left in the British monarchy?

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With Meghan and Prince Harry retired from their senior royal roles, there are still a handful of senior royals left in Britain. These royals, according to a report by People, include Queen Elizabeth, her husband, Prince Philip, their four children, and their respective spouses. The list also includes Prince William and his wife, the fan-favorite royal Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.

It is not clear whether Prince Andrew is still considered to be a senior royal, considering he stepped back from his duties in mid-2020, following allegations of his problematic friendship with Jeffrey Epstein.