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The one way Prince Harry and Meghan's Commonwealth Day appearance will be very different this year

The Sussexes will step back from royal duties on 31 March

Danielle Stacey

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are carrying out their final official engagement as senior royals on Monday, attending the Commonwealth Day service with the royal family. But there will be one notable difference to their outing; it has been revealed that Prince Harry and Meghan will not form part of the royal procession through Westminster Abbey at the start of the service. Instead of walking through the church with the Queen and other members of the royal family, the Sussexes will be conducted to their seats and will already be waiting in their positions when Her Majesty arrives.

READ: Meghan Markle's necklace included a secret message for Prince Harry

 

WATCH: Harry and Meghan attend the Mountbatten Festival of Music

The service will mark their final scheduled royal engagement before the couple step back as senior members of the royal family on 31 March. Last year, Harry and Meghan waited alongside the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for the Queen to arrive at Westminster Abbey, before they walked in order of precedence to their seats.

The Sussexes will arrive at the central London church after the Earl and Countess of Wessex, who will also be escorted to their seats. Prince Edward and Sophie have both attended the Commonwealth Day service in the past.

Harry and Meghan have been carrying out their final royal duties over the past week, both attending the Endeavour Fund Awards last Thursday and the Mountbatten Festival of Music on Saturday night. The Duchess also marked International Women's Day by carrying out a secret visit to Robert Clack Upper School in Dagenham, East London, where she surprised pupils during assembly.

MORE: Meghan Markle gives rare insight into life with baby Archie Harrison

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The Sussexes with the Cambridges at the service in 2019

In a moving speech, Meghan told the teenagers: "I encourage and empower each of you to really stand in your truth, to stand for what is right - to continue to respect each other. For young men, to continue to value and appreciate the women in your lives, and also set the example for some men who are not seeing it that same way.

"You have your mothers, sisters, girlfriends, friends in your life - protect them. Make sure that they are feeling valued and safe. Let's all rally together to make International Women’s Day something that is not just on Sunday - but frankly, feels like every day of the year."

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are expected to be reunited with their ten-month-old son Archie in Canada in the coming days. 

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