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Friday, March 5, 2021

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s patronages move on and cut ties

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The roles and patronages revoked from Harry and Meghan

Military roles 

  • Royal Marines
  • RAF Honington 
  • Royal Navy Small Ships and Diving 

 Organisations

  • The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust
  • The Rugby Football Union
  • The Rugby Football League 
  • The Royal National Theatre 
  • The Association of Commonwealth Universities

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Organisations today started severing ties with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle after they was stripped of all royal roles and patronages.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have told the Queen they will not be returning to frontline duties following their year outside the Firm.

Buckingham Palace said their decision meant ‘it is not possible to continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service’.

A statement said: ‘The honorary military appointments and Royal patronages held by the Duke and Duchess will therefore be returned to Her Majesty, before being redistributed among working members of The Royal Family.’  

Within minutes of the midday announcement, organisations released their own statements confirming they had parted ways with the Sussexes. 

England Rugby tweeted: ‘Prince Harry will be stepping down from his role as RFU Patron. We would like to thank Prince Harry for his time and commitment to the RFU both in his position as Patron and Vice Patron.’

‘The RFU has greatly valued his contribution to promoting and supporting the game.’

Only this month the Duke recorded a video for England Rugby to mark the 150th anniversary of the first international match against Scotland. 

He also holds the same role with the Rugby Football League, which this afternoon parted ways with a tweet. 

It said: ‘The Rugby Football League thanks The Duke of Sussex for his time, care and commitment in supporting Rugby League at all levels in recent years – from the children’s game to the Challenge Cup, the England teams and RLWC2021.’

Meghan’s patronage of the National Theatre, which she was awarded by the Queen in 2019, also came to an end.

In a statement the organisation said it was ‘very grateful’ for her support and commended her championing of its work.

She will also lose her patronage of the Association of Commonwealth Universities and has to give up her role as vice-president of The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust. She keeps her two private patronages: Smart Works and animal charity Mayhew. 

The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust – only founded in 2018 – of which the Duke and Duchess were president and vice-president respectively said it was ‘lucky’ to have had their support.

The trust said in a statement: ‘The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust exists to support young people around the world who are delivering practical help to those who need it most.

‘We have been very lucky to have had the keen support and encouragement of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in our formative years.

‘They have enabled us to make fast progress and have helped us to take the organisation to readiness for its next phase. We are glad that they remain in our circle of supporters.’

It added: ‘Our focus, as always, is on the young people we work alongside. We will be pressing on with vigour to help them reach even more people with the essential services they provide.’

‘They have enabled us to make fast progress and have helped us to take the organisation to readiness for its next phase.

Prince Harry, (L) speaks with England rugby player James Haskell during a visit to an England Rugby Squad training session at Twickenham Stadium on February 17, 2017

Prince Harry, (L) speaks with England rugby player James Haskell during a visit to an England Rugby Squad training session at Twickenham Stadium on February 17, 2017

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex during a visit to The National Theatre on January 30, 2019 in London

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex during a visit to The National Theatre on January 30, 2019 in London

‘We are glad that they remain in our circle of supporters. Our focus, as always, is on the young people we work alongside. We will be pressing on with vigour to help them reach even more people with the essential services they provide.’ 

Harry is also no longer patron of the London Marathon Charitable Trust.

The role was on a three-year term, which was renewed twice, covering nine years. It came to an end in January, and it was decided it would not be renewed.

The Invictus Games, which was the brainchild of the Duke, released a statement confirming he would stay as its patron, as it was not a royal role.

It said: ‘We are proud to have The Duke of Sussex as our Patron. The Invictus Games was founded by him, it has been built on his ideas and he remains fully committed to both the Games and to the Invictus Games Foundation.’ 

He also retains the following private patronages or presidencies: African Parks, Dolen Cymru, the Henry van Straubenzee Memorial Fund, MapAction, Rhino Conservation Botswana charity, Sentebale, and WellChild.

It is not yet known whether Harry will retain his two other rugby-related patronages of the Rugby Football Union All Schools Programme and the Rugby Football Union Injured Players Foundation. 

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex quit as senior working royals in March 2020 to earn their own money in the US, where they have signed deals with Spotify and Netflix estimated to be worth more than £100million.

The Duchess of Sussex keeps her two private patronages: Smart Works and animal charity Mayhew

The Duchess of Sussex keeps her two private patronages: Smart Works and animal charity Mayhew

Stepping down as working royals also means the couple, who now live in an £11million mansion in Montecito, California, will not be able to hold on to their military, Commonwealth and some other patronages.

The decision was made after conversations between the Duke of Sussex and members of the Royal Family.

The Sussexes, who announced on Sunday that they expecting their second child, are poised for their ‘intimate’ interview about their lives with chat show queen Oprah Winfrey on March 7.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: ‘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.

‘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.

‘The honorary military appointments and Royal patronages held by the Duke and Duchess will therefore be returned to Her Majesty, before being redistributed 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.’

A spokesman for Harry and Meghan said: ‘As evidenced by their work over the past year, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex remain committed to their duty and service to the UK and around the world, and have offered their continued support to the organisations they have represented regardless of official role.

‘We can all live a life of service. Service is universal.’

‘We can all live a life of service. Service is universal’: Harry and Meghan’s extraordinary dig after ‘saddened’ Queen strips them of remaining honorary roles a month early because they have abandoned a ‘life of public service

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle this afternoon hit back with an extraordinary statement claiming that ‘service is universal’ just minutes after the Queen stripped them of all remaining honorary roles.

A turbulent week in the Royal Family today culminated with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex cutting short their Megxit trial year a month early and announcing they would be permanently quitting the Firm.

Her Majesty said she was ‘saddened by their decision’ but firm that the Sussexes’ new life in America meant they could not perform the ‘duties that come with a life of public service’. 

Moments later Harry and Meghan issued their own statement via trusted media partners such as their biographer Omid Scobie, and in a veiled dig said: ‘We can all live a life of service. Service is universal.’ 

Their decision to quit royal life indefinitely comes a month before a March 31 review of their ‘Megxit’ arrangement, which has seen them strike multi million-pound deals with Netflix and Spotify this past year.   

Palace-Sussex relations were tested this week after Harry and Meghan announced a bombshell CBS interview with Oprah Winfrey which is expected to pore over the couple’s sudden departure from the Firm. 

Only a few days earlier they used a black-and-white photograph of them lying on the grass at their £11million California home to reveal Meghan was pregnant. 

But royal experts said the couple had ‘crossed the red line’ by walking away from the monarchy and, with Prince Philip now preparing to spend his fourth night in hospital, left the Queen with no choice but to seize control. 

In a rare statement she confirmed their eight military roles and patronages were being revoked and redistributed to ‘working members of the royal family’. 

Meghan, Harry and the Queen at an awards ceremony at Buckingham Palace on June 26, 2018

Meghan, Harry and the Queen at an awards ceremony at Buckingham Palace on June 26, 2018

Buckingham Palace statement

Statement from Harry and Meghan's spokesman

Buckingham Palace (left) and a spokesman for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (right) both released statements today

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend Trooping the Colour outside Buckingham Palace in London in June 2018

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend Trooping the Colour outside Buckingham Palace in London in June 2018

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle released this picture on Sunday as they revealed Meghan is pregnant with their second child

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle released this picture on Sunday as they revealed Meghan is pregnant with their second child

The Duke of Edinburgh (left) and the Duke of Sussex (right) laugh together following the wedding of Lady Gabriella Windsor and Thomas Kingston at Windsor Castle in May 2019. Prince Philip is currently in hospital in London receiving treatment

The Duke of Edinburgh (left) and the Duke of Sussex (right) laugh together following the wedding of Lady Gabriella Windsor and Thomas Kingston at Windsor Castle in May 2019. Prince Philip is currently in hospital in London receiving treatment

Harry and Meghan’s patronages: What have the couple lost and what do they now have left?

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been stripped of the royal patronages given to them by the Queen, and Harry has lost his honorary military positions. What have they lost and what have they retained?

PRINCE HARRY

Former soldier Harry, who served on the frontline in Afghanistan, is no longer the Captain General of the Royal Marines, Honorary Air Force Commandant of the Royal Air Force Base Honington, or Honorary Commodore-in-Chief of the Royal Naval Commands’ Small Ships and Diving.

He has also had to relinquish his role as president of The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust

The duke will no longer be patron of the Rugby Football Union and the Rugby Football League – roles which he took over from the Queen. 

Harry is also no longer patron of the London Marathon Charitable Trust.

The role was on a three-year term, which was renewed twice, covering nine years. It came to an end in January, and it was decided it would not be renewed.

He so far retains the following private patronages or presidencies: African Parks, Dolen Cymru, the Henry van Straubenzee Memorial Fund, Invictus Games, MapAction, Rhino Conservation Botswana charity, Sentebale, and WellChild

It is not yet known whether Harry will retain his two other rugby-related patronages of the Rugby Football Union All Schools Programme and the Rugby Football Union Injured Players Foundation.

MEGHAN MARKLE

The Queen handed Meghan two royal patronages in 2019, but the duchess loses these: The Royal National Theatre and the Association of Commonwealth Universities

Meghan also has to give up her role as vice-president of The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust.

She keeps her two private patronages: Smart Works and animal charity Mayhew.  

Organisations today started severing ties with the couple after they was stripped of all royal roles and patronages.

Within minutes of the Buckingham Palace announcement, organisations released their own statements confirming they had parted ways with the Sussexes. 

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When Harry and Meghan revealed their intention to step down as senior royals on January 8 last year, it sparked a major royal crisis and weeks of wrangling between the households to thrash out the terms of their departure.

A historic ‘Sandringham Summit’ paved the way for an agreement whereby the couple would be allowed to strike out on their own in America.

but that this new arrangement would be reviewed a year on, in March 2021.

The annual Megxit review left the door open for a potential return to frontline duties for the Sussexes.

But an early decision has been taken by the couple rule to rule this out.

It first emerged in a statement from Buckingham Palace at 12.01, which said: ‘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.

‘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.

‘The honorary military appointments and Royal patronages held by the Duke and Duchess will therefore be returned to Her Majesty, before being redistributed 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.’

A statement was issued about three minutes later at 12.04pm by a spokesman for Harry and Meghan and released to their trusted partners in the media such as their biographer Omid Scobie.

It said: ‘As evidenced by their work over the past year, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex remain committed to their duty and service to the UK and around the world, and have offered their continued support to the organisations they have represented regardless of official role. We can all live a life of service. Service is universal.’ 

Experts compared the strikingly different tones of the two statements and said it showed the Queen’s determination to stamp her authority. 

Royal biographer Angela Levin said the Queen was a ‘patient woman’ but that she was ‘devoted to her sense of duty’ and the protection of the royal family. 

She said: ‘I’m not in the least surprised. I think there’s been a lot of rumours that the Queen would do this.

‘The Queen as we know is devoted to her duty and to her country…she loves her children and being a grandmother.

‘But in the end her sense of duty is more important than grandchildren or children or great grandchildren.

‘She wants to keep them close as a family, but they cannot push their luck too far.’

It appeared to be consensus among seasoned Palace watchers, with Robert Jobson telling LBC: ‘Half the problem here is the Queen at 94, you really wouldn’t want to be having to deal with this stuff all the time, would you?

‘The reality is that I’m sure there’s been discussions between the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh about all this and it’s rather sad in a way that this has happened. But at the same time, big decisions have to be made.

‘They have a political position and these decisions have to be made that aren’t to do with the family as such, they’re more to do with, I think, the perception of the monarchy as an institution which she has to protect.’

Speaking about the loss of his honorary Forces titles, Mr Jobson added: ‘It is sad, but I think he probably maybe didn’t expect this one coming, in terms of last year, and I think it probably upset him that it did happen.

‘But I think he’s known that for some time that effectively this was going to be the way it was, and he’s had to accept it.’

He continued: ‘There has to be an order and I think the Queen has acted accordingly, and she won’t have done it lightly and it will be upsetting.’

BBC royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell said: ‘I sense a real sense of exasperation in these statements on both sides.’

He added: ‘There’s almost an unspoken sentence which doesn’t appear in the statement after that: “A life of public service like I have led, like my husband has led at the age of nearly 100, like the rest of your family continue to lead but which you have decided to opt out of.”

‘Of course they’re “saddened”, as the statement says, they’re deeply disappointed I think with how matters have turned out.

‘And then the Sussexes’ statement which concludes with these couple of phrases ‘we can all live a life of service. Service is universal’.

‘Isn’t there just a sense there of thumbing their noses, ‘don’t tell us how to lead our lives’. Harry I think will now perhaps finally realise the implications of the decision that they have taken, that it is not possible to do both – to have one foot in the Royal Family, and another foot outside.

‘That is what the Queen has insisted on and that is what this statement from Buckingham Palace means.’ 

The statement issued by Buckingham Palace shortly after midday today, announcing the news about Harry and Meghan

The statement issued by Buckingham Palace shortly after midday today, announcing the news about Harry and Meghan

The Queen at Remembrance Sunday last year

The Queen waits to thank key workers for their efforts during the pandemic at Windsor Castle on December 8, 2020

The Queen on Remembrance Sunday last November (left) and meeting key workers at Windsor Castle last December (right)

Oprah Winfrey, who is interviewing the couple, is pictured at Harry and Meghan's Windsor Castle wedding on May 19, 2018

Oprah Winfrey, who is interviewing the couple, is pictured at Harry and Meghan’s Windsor Castle wedding on May 19, 2018

Prince Harry and Meghan speak from the garden of their £11million home in Montecito, California, last September

Prince Harry and Meghan speak from the garden of their £11million home in Montecito, California, last September

How a turbulent week for the Royal Family unfolded 

Sunday, 7.30pm: Prince Harry and Meghan announce they are expecting their second child

Monday, 5pm: CBS announces Harry and Meghan will be interviewed by Oprah Winfrey on March 7

Tuesday evening: Prince Philip is admitted to King Edward VII Hospital in London

Wednesday, 2pm: Buckingham Palace announces Philip is in hospital

Friday, 12pm: Buckingham Palace says Harry and Meghan will not be returning as working royals

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The Duke and Duchess are together being stripped of eight royal roles and patronages. 

Within minutes of the announcement, these organisations released their own statements confirming they had parted ways with the Sussexes. 

England Rugby said: ‘We would like to thank Prince Harry for his time and commitment to the RFU both in his position as Patron and Vice Patron. The RFU has greatly valued his contribution to promoting and supporting the game.’ 

The Rugby Football League, of which Harry was also a patron, tweeted: ‘The Rugby Football League thanks The Duke of Sussex for his time, care and commitment in supporting Rugby League at all levels in recent years – from the children’s game to the Challenge Cup, the England teams and RLWC2021.’

And the National Theatre, of which the Duchess of Sussex was a patron, tweeted: ‘The National Theatre is very grateful for the support offered by the Duchess of Sussex throughout the course of her patronage.’ 

The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust also thanked the Duke and Duchess of Sussex for their support following the news the couple are returning their patronages to the Queen. 

Meanwhile the Duke of Edinburgh was today spending a fourth day in hospital for ‘observation and rest’ after being admitted earlier this week after feeling unwell.

Philip was described as being in ‘good spirits’ after he walked unaided into King Edward VII Hospital in London on Tuesday evening, on the advice of his doctor.

Buckingham Palace has said admitting the 99-year-old royal was a ‘precautionary measure’. There were no reports of visitors arriving at the private hospital, but the duke is known for his ‘no fuss’ attitude. 

Philip, who turns 100 on June 10, is in hospital for an undisclosed reason, although it is not coronavirus-related.

It is understood a doctor was called after Philip felt unwell for a short period and he was taken to hospital by car, where he walked in unaided as a non-emergency admission.

Philip has been spending the latest lockdown with the Queen at Windsor Castle and in January they both received Covid vaccinations. It is understood the decision to admit him was taken with an ‘abundance’ of caution. 

He last had a spell in hospital when he spent four nights at the King Edward VII in December 2019, where he was treated for a ‘pre-existing condition’ and discharged on Christmas Eve. 

Queen moved to stamp authority after Sussexes ‘crossed a red line’, say royal experts

Experts compared the strikingly different tones of the two statements and said it showed the Queen’s determination to stamp her authority. 

Royal biographer Angela Levin said the Queen was a ‘patient woman’ but that she was ‘devoted to her sense of duty’ and the protection of the royal family. 

She said: ‘I’m not in the least surprised. I think there’s been a lot of rumours that the Queen would do this.

‘The Queen as we know is devoted to her duty and to her country…she loves her children and being a grandmother.

‘But in the end her sense of duty is more important than grandchildren or children or great grandchildren.

‘She wants to keep them close as a family, but they cannot push their luck too far.’

It appeared to be consensus among seasoned Palace watchers, with Robert Jobson telling LBC: ‘Half the problem here is the Queen at 94, you really wouldn’t want to be having to deal with this stuff all the time, would you?

‘The reality is that I’m sure there’s been discussions between the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh about all this and it’s rather sad in a way that this has happened. But at the same time, big decisions have to be made.

‘They have a political position and these decisions have to be made that aren’t to do with the family as such, they’re more to do with, I think, the perception of the monarchy as an institution which she has to protect.’

Speaking about the loss of his honorary Forces titles, Mr Jobson added: ‘It is sad, but I think he probably maybe didn’t expect this one coming, in terms of last year, and I think it probably upset him that it did happen.

‘But I think he’s known that for some time that effectively this was going to be the way it was, and he’s had to accept it.’

He continued: ‘There has to be an order and I think the Queen has acted accordingly, and she won’t have done it lightly and it will be upsetting.’

BBC royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell said: ‘I sense a real sense of exasperation in these statements on both sides.

 

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On Monday, it was confirmed this week that Harry and Meghan had agreed to a ‘wide-ranging’ interview with Oprah Winfrey. It is believed the programme could be recorded at some point this week. 

The Sussexes did not tell the Queen in advance that they were planning the interview – but are keen to avoid upsetting the monarch during their chat, it has been claimed. 

A royal source said that because the couple were no longer working royals, any decisions taken with regard to ‘media commitments are matters for them’.

The source added that the Sussexes were ‘under no obligation’ to inform the Royal Household of the interview, which was announced by CBS in a press release.

Meghan and Oprah are friends and near neighbours in California, with Oprah attending the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s wedding in 2018 and plugging a range of vegan lattes that Meghan has helped finance.

One source described the interview as ‘one of the most inevitable and, sadly, predictable consequences’ of the ‘Megxit’ saga.

Harry will also feature in the 90-minute show. It will air next month on CBS and the couple will discuss their move to the US. 

It will be the first time the pair have spoken publicly about their bombshell decision to leave Britain and step down from their working roles in the Royal Family. 

Harry and Meghan sparked a major royal crisis when they dropped the bombshell that they wanted to quit as senior royals on January 8 2020.

They released a shock statement, without warning the monarch, saying they intended to step down and become financially independent, but still fully support the Queen – a dual role which in the end was unworkable.

The Sussexes were fresh from a six-week break in Canada when, the day after their first royal engagement of the decade at the Canadian High Commission in London, they declared they had chosen to ‘carve out a progressive new role’ within the monarchy.

It followed a problematic year amid a rift between Harry and his brother, the Duke of Cambridge. 

Harry and Meghan’s plan for a combined role of earning their own money and doing royal duties would have led to accusations they were profiting from the monarchy.

Buckingham Palace reacted quickly, warning publicly that the decision was complicated.

The Queen convened a summit at Sandringham with the Prince of Wales, William and Harry, plus key royal advisers, to find a way to solve the crisis.

In the end, the couple were faced with a hard Megxit – and on March 31, less than two years after Meghan became a member of the royal family, they stepped down as working royals completely and stopped using their HRH styles.

This post was first published on DailyMail.

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