One-by-one Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's patronages quickly move on
19th February 2021

One-by-one Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s patronages quickly move on from Duke and Duchess as the Queen confirms they will not be returning as royals

  • Decision to quit royal life means Sussexes have been stripped of royal roles 
  • Within minutes of announcement, organisations started cutting ties with couple 
  • England Rugby, Rugby Football League and National Theatre bid farewell 

The roles and patronages Harry and Meghan will no longer have 

Military roles 

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


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

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 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 thanked them: ‘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. 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.

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

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.

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

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.’

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