The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have told the Queen they will not return as working members of the Royal Family, Buckingham Palace says.
A statement said the royals were “saddened by their decision” but that Harry and Meghan “remain much loved members of the family”.
Honorary military appointments and royal patronages held by the couple – such as Harry’s affiliation with the Royal Marines – will be returned to the Queen and “redistributed among working members of The Royal Family”.
Sky’s royal correspondent, Rhiannon Mills, says it appears that “tense discussions” have been behind the scenes and that the couple “don’t sound happy” in their latest statement.
Harry and Meghan decided to step away as working members of the Royal Family last year and a 12-month review was agreed on their future role.
The couple’s statement today 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.”
The news comes ahead of an interview next month with Oprah Winfrey – something royal watchers say could prove an “uncomfortable watch” for the Windsors.
With them now stepping back permanently from royal duties, the Queen confirmed in writing that it was “not possible to continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service”.
That means cutting their official links with military, Commonwealth and charitable associations.
Prince Harry will no longer be captain general of the Royal Marines, and he will also lose roles with the likes of Rugby Football Union and RAF Honington.
The Duchess of Sussex will have to quit her appointment as royal patron of the National Theatre, while Harry and Meghan will no longer be president and vice-president of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust.
Buckingham Palace said the decision was taken after conversations between the duke and members of the Royal Family.
Losing his military links will be an “enormous blow” to Prince Harry in light of his 10 years in the Army, said Sky’s royal correspondent.
“He is such a proud man when it comes to having served his country… He really wanted to show that despite moving to America he could continue to represent his military family.”
Mills says it is undeniable there is an “undeniable rift” between the couple and other royals – and that the tone of their statement gives the impression they feel “pushed to one side”.