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Prince Harry, Meghan Markle confirm to queen they're not returning to royal duties

"While all are saddened by their decision, The Duke and Duchess remain much loved members of the family," Buckingham Palace announced.
/ Source: TODAY

Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, have informed Queen Elizabeth II that they will not be returning as working members of the British royal family, more than a year after they initially stepped down from their obligations.

Buckingham Palace announced in a statement Friday that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex confirmed to the queen that they have no intention of returning to their royal duties after a 12-month review period that began upon the couple's "Megxit" announcement last year.

"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 palace said in the statement. "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 the former Meghan Markle, who announced this week they are expecting their second child, released a statement following the announcement by Buckingham Palace.

Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, have informed his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, that they will not be returning to their duties as senior members of the British royal family. Max Mumby / Getty Images

"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," the statement read. "We can all live a life of service. Service is universal."

Queen Elizabeth stripped Harry of his military titles of the Royal Marines, RAF Honington and Royal Navy Small Ships and Diving, and removed the couple as patrons of The Queen's Commonwealth Trust, The Rugby Football Union, The Rugby Football League, The Royal National Theatre and The Association of Commonwealth Universities.

The announcement cements the couple's official break from the royal family as they raise their own growing family and pursue their charitable efforts in their home in California.

They no longer use their "royal highness" titles, but Harry remains in the British line of succession as sixth in line to the throne, with their son, Archie, at seventh.