20 February 2021

UK: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will not be returning as working members of the royal family

Buckingham Palace issued the following statement yesterday, 19 February 2021:

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.

In a note to the editors, Buckingham Palace added that 

Following The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s decision to step away last year as working members of The Royal Family, a 12-month review was agreed. A decision has now been made after conversations between The Duke of Sussex and Members of The Royal Family. The military, Commonwealth and Charitable associations which will revert to The Queen are:

    The 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 and The Association of Commonwealth Universities.

The decision to step back as senior members of the British royal family was announced on 8 January 2020. Yesterday's statement informing the public that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who currently live in Los Angeles, USA, will not be returning as working members did not come as a surprise to anyone who has followed the developments during the last year. I still feel sad about the decision, but I both respect it and understand it well. It should be added, as Michael Rhodes of Peerage News has pointed out, we will most likely still on various occasions be seeing the Duke of Sussex in uniform. He can not wear those uniforms of the regiments of which he was honorary colonel or captain general, but he will retain the right to wear those of the regiments in which he served. 

Last Sunday (Valentine's Day) it was announced that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are expecting their second child later this year. Their first child, Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, was born on 6 May 2019.

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