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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle confirm to the Queen they won't be returning to royal duties

The Sussexes now live in the US

Danielle Stacey

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have confirmed that they will not be returning as working members of the royal family in a statement released by Buckingham Palace. 

Prince Harry and Meghan stepped back from royal duties last March and moved to the US with their one-year-old son Archie.

In a statement released on Friday, Buckingham Palace 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."

READ: Do Prince Harry and Meghan Markle know the sex of second royal baby?

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WATCH: Harry and Meghan confirm they're not returning to royal duties

It continued: "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."

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Harry and Meghan carried out their final royal duties last March

A spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex 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 organisations they have represented regardless of official role.

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

Harry and Meghan confirmed they're expecting their second child with an announcement and a new photo released on Valentine's Day.

The new royal baby will be eighth in line to the throne when he or she is born.

Which patronages have Harry and Meghan lost and which ones do they keep?

Harry, who served in the army for ten years, 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 (RFU) and the Rugby Football League – roles which he took over from the Queen.

MORE: Why Meghan Markle and Prince Harry announced her pregnancy news on Valentine's Day

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Harry at The Rugby Football Union All Schools Programme in 2019

The RFU said in a post on the England Rugby Twitter account: "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."

Meanwhile, the Rugby Football League 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."

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

It's understood that he will retain his private patronages or presidencies, including African Parks, Dolen Cymru, the Henry van Straubenzee Memorial Fund, Invictus Games, MapAction, Rhino Conservation Botswana charity, Sentebale, and WellChild.

In a statement, the Invictus Games Foundation 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.

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Harry founded the Invictus Games Foundation in 2014

"His military service and experience, combined with his genuine compassion and understanding for those who serve their countries has raised awaresness of wounded, injured and sick service personnel and the role they continue to play in society.

"His work has had an extraordinary impact on the way in which disability, service, and mental health is viewed around the world. And he has been instrumental in changing the lives of many."

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Meghan during a visit to the National Theatre in 2019

Meanwhile, the Duchess has had to give up her role as patron of The National Theatre and the Asssociation of Commonwealth Universities, as well as her position as vice-president of The Queen's Commonwealth Trust.

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."

MORE: Meghan Markle to help the Queen break incredible record in 2021

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Meghan visited City, University of London in 2019

Meanwhile, The Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) thanked the Duchess of Sussex for her patronage following the news she and her husband will not be returning as working members of the royal family.

The ACU said in a statement: "Since the Duchess of Sussex took over the role of patron of the Association of Commonwealth Universities from Her Majesty the Queen in January 2019, she has been a passionate advocate for our mission to build a better world through higher education.

"We thank the duchess for her support, which has shone a light on higher education, the impact it has on individuals and communities, and the importance of access and inclusion."

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Meghan has remained patron of Smart Works

The National Theatre said in a tweet: "The National Theatre is very grateful for the support offered by the Duchess of Sussex throughout the course of her patronage.

"The Duchess championed our work with communities and young people across the UK, and our mission to make theatre accessible to all.

"As Buckingham Palace have stated, the process of appointing a new patron is ongoing and will be announced in due course."

Meghan keeps two of her private patronages - Smart Works and animal charity Mayhew.

Smart Works said in a tweet: "We are delighted to confirm that The Duchess of Sussex will remain a Patron of Smart Works. 

"We are thankful for everything she has done in support of our clients and look forward to working together in the future."

Meanwhile, the Mayhew tweeted: "We're pleased to confirm that The Duchess of Sussex will remain our Patron.

"We want to thank The Duchess for all of her support, and look forward to continuing our work with her helping dogs, cats and communities in need."

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