How Harry and Meghan's royal exit will affect William and Kate

Gillian Wolski
·Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
·6-min read

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have made their permanent exit from their roles as senior royals, and in doing so the couple was forced to leave behind a number of patronages and charities for good.

Meghan and Harry's former roles will revert to the Queen and are expected to be redistributed among other family members, which begs the question: who, exactly, is going to pick up the slack?

Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex (R), and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend the annual WellChild Awards in London on October 15, 2019.
Due to their Megxit deal, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have been forced to give up a number of patronages for organisations such as WellChild. The couple at pictured at the annual awards in 2019. Photo: Getty Images.

Patronages lost

As part of their Megxit deal brokered with the Queen, the Duchess of Sussex was stripped of two patronages bestowed by Her Majesty: the Royal National Theatre and the Association of Commonwealth Universities.

Meghan, 39, also had to give up her role as vice-president of the Queen's Commonwealth Trust but was able to retain her patronages at Mayhew, an animal welfare centre and Smart Works, a charity that provides clothing to disadvantaged women entering the workforce.

Her husband, Prince Harry, may have suffered a tougher blow having lost at least six patronages along with several honourary military appointments.

The Duke, 36, is now no longer patron of WellChild, a national charity for seriously ill children, as well as the London Marathon Charitable Trust, The Rugby Football Union and The Rugby Football League.

He also relinquished his role as vice-president of The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust and as Commonwealth Youth Ambassador which he held since 2018.

Also on the chopping block were Harry's military titles with The Royal Marines, RAF Honington and the Royal Navy Small Ships and Diving.

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(L-R) Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, stand on the balcony of Buckingham Palace on July 10, 2018 to watch a military fly-past to mark the centenary of the Royal Air Force (RAF)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are hot picks to take over Harry and Meghan's former workload after they quit the royal family for good. Photo: Getty Images.

What happens now?

The obvious candidates to take on the Sussexes' patronages are Britain's future king and queen, Prince William and Kate Middleton.

Will, who is already vice-patron of the Welsh Rugby Union, is tipped to replace Harry's position at the Rugby Football League.

Current RFL chairman Simon Johnson was suitably impressed with Will, 39, when they worked together on a separate project for the Football Association where Johnson was Director of Corporate Affairs.

"Having worked closely with the Duke during my time at the FA [Football Association], I know that he will be fascinated and interested and will make a lasting impression on all those he meets," Johnson said in 2018.

A source close to the Rugby Football League told The Telegraph that the organisation was left 'blindsided' by the final Megxit deal ahead of the World Cup later this year.

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 26: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Prince Harry and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge attend the England v Wales match during the Rugby World Cup 2015 at Twickenham Stadium on September 26, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Pool/Indigo/Getty Images)
Rugby fans Princes Harry and William watch the England v Wales match at the Rugby World Cup 2015. Photo: Getty Images.

"There will be a lot of disruption. The World Cup is in autumn and Prince Harry was expected to be front and centre of that… We were completely blindsided by the news to be honest," the source said.

"The Duke of Sussex was a high profile figure who embraced the World Cup and we hope the next appointment will be a continuation of that," they added.

Kate Middleton is the favourite to step into Meghan's shoes as patron of the National Theatre, according to The Sunday Times.

The 39-year-old is already patron of the National Portrait Gallery and the V&A but word is that the Queen's youngest son, Prince Edward, would be a more 'diplomatic' choice.

The hardest-working member of the royal family, Princess Anne, is rumoured to be taking on Harry's old Royal Marines role.

WINDSOR, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 08: Queen Elizabeth II thanks volunteers and key workers at Windsor Castle on December 08, 2020 in Windsor, England. The Queen and members of the royal family gave thanks to local volunteers and key workers for their work in helping others during the coronavirus pandemic and over Christmas at Windsor Castle in what was also the final stop for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their tour of England, Wales and Scotland. (Photo by Richard Pohle - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth (pictured December 08, 2020) was 'saddened' by Harry and Meghan's decision to quit the royal family for good. Photo: Getty Images.

The Queen 'saddened'

Prince Harry's grandmother, the Queen, was 'saddened' by his decision to quit the royal family permanently after he and wife Meghan stepped back from their duties just over a year earlier.

A statement released by Buckingham Palace announcing the outcome of the 94-year-old's discussions with the Duke and Duchess reads:

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 response, Meghan and Harry shared their own statement which appears to clap back at the Palace's suggestion that, due to their split from the royal family, the pair are no longer able to live a life of 'public service'.

“We can all live a life of service. Service is universal,” a spokesperson for the couple said.

“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.”

Post-Megxit moves

While they're no longer permitted to use the word 'royal' in their branding as per the initial Megxit agreement in 2020, Harry and Meghan appear to be doing just fine establishing an income outside of The Firm.

Since relocating to California where they currently live in Montecito in a sprawling mansion, the pair has inked multi-million dollar deals with both Netflix and Spotify.

And, after announcing that they were expecting their second child, the couple also revealed that they agreed to a tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey which will air on March 7 on US channel CBS.

In an announcement, the network revealed the 'intimate' 90-minute special will see Oprah sit down with Meghan first to discuss everything from "stepping into life as a royal, marriage, motherhood, philanthropic work, to how she is handling life under intense public pressure".

The pair will later be joined by Prince Harry to speak "about their move to the United States and their future hopes and dreams for their expanding family.”

Talkshow queen Oprah was one of many celebrity attendees at the Sussexes' 2018 wedding at Windsor Castle.

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