Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Stripped of Roles as Royal Exit Finalized

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have quit royalty for good—and been stripped of military titles and royal patronages by Queen Elizabeth II.

Buckingham Palace released a statement today confirming the Duke of Sussex will lose his military titles, including the coveted role of Captain General of the Royal Marines.

Meghan and Harry will lose two patronages each plus their roles as president and vice president of the Queen's Commonwealth Trust.

The queen withdrew the honors as the palace announced that in stepping back "it is not possible to continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service."

However, just minutes later Harry and Meghan's spokesperson responded by telling the media: "Service is universal."

The move comes as Queen Elizabeth II drew an early end to their 12 month review period a month ahead of schedule.

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle Shelter From Rain
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle visit Victoria Park on October 17, 2018 in Dubbo, Australia. The Duke of Sussex has lost his military titles and together with the Duchess of Sussex a series of royal patronages. Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty

When the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced they were quitting royal life last year it was agreed they would have a one-year trial period, due up at the end of March.

Buckingham Palace said in a statement today: "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."

Just minutes later, a spokesperson 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 U.K. and around the world, and have offered their continued support to the organizations they have represented regardless of official role.

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

Speculation has been mounting in the U.K. press that Prince Harry would lose his military titles at the end of the 12-month review, originally scheduled for the end of March.

However, the Daily Telegraph reported this week that a decision might be brought forward, finally delivering closure on the couple's post royal lives.

The dramatic announcement comes the same week it was announced Meghan and Harry had agreed a full 90-minute interview with Oprah Winfrey in which nothing will be off the table.

Palace insiders told Newsweek the two were not related and said a decision on the 12-month review period was wanted by all sides.

"Following private family disucssions it was clear there was a desire on all parties to tie up loose ends.

"The discussion's been going on for a while and everyone was keen to resolve it to end any further speculation."

Meanwhile, the organisations the couple leave behind reacted on Twitter, with the Queen's Commonwealth Trust saying they were lucky to have had the partnership.

A statement said: "We have been very lucky to have had the chain support and encouragement of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in our formative years.

"They have enable us to make fast progress and have helped us to take the organization to readiness for its next phase.

"We are glad they remain in our circle of supporters."

It is possible Prince Harry and Meghan will attempt to continue working with some of the organizations in the future, just not as patrons.

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) and the Rugby Football League said goodbye to Prince Harry, their former patron on Twitter.

England Rugby wrote on Twitter: "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."

The U.K. Rugby League governing body posted: "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."

What They Lose

Prince Harry:

Captain General of the Royal Marines

Honorary Air Commandant of RAF Honington

Commodore-in-Chief Small Ships and Diving

President of the Queen's Commonwealth Trust

Patron of The Rugby Football Union

Patron of The Rugby Football League

Meghan Markle:

Vice-President of the Queen's Commonwealth Trust

Patron of The Royal National Theatre

Patron of The Association of Commonwealth Universities