MEGHAN Markle and Prince Harry were disappointed to lose their patronages as they thought they would be able to quit royal life and keep them, a royal source has suggested.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were officially stripped of their royal patronages today, with Her Majesty said to be "saddened" by the move.
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Buckingham Palace confirmed the couple will no longer hold their formal positions with a range of military, arts, Commonwealth and sporting organisations.
But the decision is said to have come as a bitter blow to Harry and Meghan who, despite wanting to remain in the US for personal and financial freedom, believed they could still represent the public-facing bodies.
A royal source told the PA news agency they had "absolutely, no question" they wanted to retain the positions they had lost.
"They do respect the decision but they always made clear they were committed to doing the roles," the source added.
It comes as….
- The Sussexes confirmed they were officially quitting in a statement but insisted "service is universal"
- The decision to officially quit could pave the way for more megabucks deals for the couple
- Prince Harry will no longer represent England Rugby as patron
- The 36-year-old prince won't be able to wear his military uniform after losing his honorary titles
- An expert said the couple's statement "lacked any love"
- Prince Philip remains in hospital after feeling unwell
- Meghan Markle and Prince Harry announced they were expecting another baby – making son Archie a big brother
- The couple will be interviewed by Oprah in a primetime special to be aired next month
- Harry is said to be isolating in LA so he is able to return to the UK after the Duke of Edinburgh was admitted to hospital
It comes just days after Harry was said to be “upset” by the move, having vowed to fight for his patronages earlier this month.
The Duke was understood to be particularly devastated at having to give up his cherished military titles, having reportedly been convinced he could continue to represent them from afar with regular trips back to the UK.
A source told the Telegraph: "His military work is one of the most important things to him. Of course he wants to keep them."
And on Tuesday, someone close to the couple told the paper they were reluctantly resigned to losing their links with certain organisations.
Today's Megxit announcement – released 11 months after the couple stepped back from their roles as senior royals – was made after conversations between The Duke of Sussex and Members of The Royal Family.
And it puts extra strain on the family when 99-year-old Prince Philip is in hospital after feeling unwell – with Harry believed to be isolating in the US so he can return to the UK if needed.
A statement released by Buckingham Palace read: "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.
While all are saddened by their decision, The Duke and Duchess remain much loved members of the family.
"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."
Meghan, 39, and Harry, 36, who are living in the US as they await the arrival of their new baby, then released a statement saying "service is universal".
A spokesperson for the couple 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."
Phil Dampier, author of Royally Suited: Harry and Meghan In Their Own Words, said the statement was "pointed" and "lacked compassion".
He told Fabulous: “Harry and Meghan's statement seemed to lack any love or compassion, which is very sad.
“While the Queen wants to leave the door open and generously hasn't stripped them of their royal titles, they have given nothing in return.
“The tone of Harry and Meghan’s press release is quite pointed.
“To say ‘service is universal’ and that anyone can serve is a shot back at the royal family and I think the Queen will be distraught at this turn of events."
Meghan and Harry had previously agreed to no longer use their HRH titles as part of the initial Megxit agreement.
But they will still be known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex because they were given the titles as a wedding gift at their 2018 nuptials.
Harry will no longer hold his military titles including The Royal Marines, RAF Honington, Royal Navy Small Ships and Diving.
He is also no longer the patron of England Rugby.
Meghan also lost her patronages with The Royal National Theatre and The Association of Commonwealth Universities.
It comes after the couple last year announced they were quitting as royals, saying they wanted to become financially independent.
Since then, they have moved to the US and signed a string of multi-million pound deals including a rumoured $112 million deal with Netflix.
They have also started their own foundation, Archewell, and launched a podcast series with Spotify believed to be worth £30m.
The pair are next expected to sit down in a tell-all chat with Oprah Winfrey in an interview to be aired on CBS next month.
Royal patronages: what positions do Harry and Meghan still hold?
What have they lost and what have they retained?
Former soldier Harry, who served on the frontline in Afghanistan, 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 and the Rugby Football League – roles which he took over from the Queen.
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.
He so far retains the following private patronages or presidencies: African Parks, Dolen Cymru, the Henry van Straubenzee Memorial Fund, Invictus Games, 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 Queen handed Meghan two royal patronages in 2019, but the duchess loses these: The Royal National Theatre and the Association of Commonwealth Universities.
Meghan also 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 National Theatre, of which the Duchess of Sussex was a patron, tweeted this afternoon: "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."
The Queen's Commonwealth Trust – only founded in 2018 – of which the duke and duchess were president and vice-president respectively said it was "lucky" to have had their support.
The trust said in a statement: "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."
It comes after the Sun revealed earlier this week that Prince Harry, 36, was "upset" at the prospect of losing his military titles.
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Meghan and Harry are now living in the US, raising their son Archie, after paying back £2.4million they spent renovating their Windsor home, Frogmore Cottage.
The couple this week announced they were expecting another baby with the Queen saying she was delighted with the news.
Harry and Meghan now live in their own £8m home in Santa Barbara.
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