Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Will Lose More Than Just Their Honorary Titles as They Refuse to Return as Working Royals

Buckingham Palace recently announced that Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex have refused to return as working royals. As a result, all of Harry and Meghan’s honorary titles will be returned to Her Majesty. However, the couple is going to lose a lot more than just that.

Queen Elizabeth II Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at Queen's Young Leaders Ceremony
Queen Elizabeth II Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at Queen’s Young Leaders Ceremony | John Stillwell – WPA Pool/Getty Images

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s honorary titles will be redistributed

According to the palace’s statement, Queen Elizabeth recently spoke with Harry about the possibility of him and Meghan returning to the UK as working royals. The conversations happened one year after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced their plans to step back as senior working royals.

When Harry and Meghan made their Megxit announcement, they said that they wanted a more progressive role in The Firm. They did intend to spend some of their time serving the queen. But, they also wanted freedom to pursue their own interests and financial independence.

After the Sandringham Summit that included the queen, Harry, Prince William, and Prince Charles, it was decided that the Sussexes would get a one-year review period. After that time, they would revisit the arrangement. The royal family hoped that Harry and Meghan would return. But, that didn’t happen.

Queen Elizabeth responded to Harry and Meghan’s announcment

“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,” the palace statement read. “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.”

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The palace statement went on to say that all of the honorary military appointments and royal patronages that the duke and duchess hold will be returned to Her Majesty. Eventually, Her Majesty will redistribute the honorary titles 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,” the statement concluded.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex can’t have ‘one foot in, one foot out’

According to The Washington Post, the queen has never liked the concept of “one foot in, one foot out.” The queen’s former press secretary, Dicki Arbiter, said that Her Majesty  has made it “pretty clear” that “you’re either in or you’re out.”

Arbiter says that Harry and Meghan’s goal this past year was to find out what direction they wanted to go. He believes they have made their choice after signing deals with Netflix and Spotify.  The couple is also going to sit down for a big tell-all interview with their new neighbor, Oprah Winfrey.

“They’ve chosen their direction and it’s not the same direction as the queen and the monarchy. . . . So, they are out,” Arbiter said.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are giving up most of their patronages

In addition to Harry losing his beloved honorary military titles, he and Meghan will also be giving up most of their royal patronages. Meghan will surrender her patronage of the National Theatre, bestowed by Queen Elizabeth. She will keep her private patronages with Smart Works and Mayhew.

Harry will also give up most of his patronages, but like Meghan, he will retain his private ones.  Most notably, Harry will keep the Invictus Games, the sporting competition he created for wounded service personnel.

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There’s also the possibility that Harry will no longer be allowed to wear his military uniforms after having his honorary titles taken. Retired members of the military in the UK do not wear their uniforms to public engagements. They do, however, wear their medals.

The only reason Harry was able to wear his uniforms after he retired was because of his honorary titles.

Meghan and Harry respond to Queen Elizabeth’s decision

Harry and Meghan did release their own statement after the palace announced they wouldn’t be returning to the UK as working royals. The couple said that their work in the past year has proven that they are committed to their duty and service. They have offered continued support to organizations around the world, regardless of their official role.

“We can all live a life of service. Service is universal,” their statement said.

The 90-minute special Oprah With Meghan and Harry will air March 7 on CBS.