The final step back: Prince Harry, Meghan Markle make last royal appearance

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle made their final appearance as senior members of the Royal Family on Monday at the annual Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey.

The televised event marked the final time the couple will attend an official public engagement on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II. They will formally renounce their His and Her Royal Highness titles on March 31, at which point they’re expected to return to Canada.

To mark the impending separation, Harry and Markle did not join the other senior royals in the queen’s procession. Instead, they were seated prior to Her Majesty’s arrival at the church.

The service marked the end of a two-month drama that began when the couple announced plans to walk away from their roles as senior members of Britain’s Royal Family and into a world where they will have to earn a living, pay their own way and even open some doors for themselves.

It’s uncharted territory for the House of Windsor, even as the family seeks to downsize.

Harry, Markle and their son, Archie, have been keeping a relatively low profile since the announcement of their separation from the Royal Family.

After not being seen publicly for quite some time, Markle joined her husband at the Endeavour Fund Awards on March 5.

The event marked the couple’s first joint outing since they announced their plans to step away from senior royal duties.

Harry and Markle’s first red carpet event they attended as a couple was the Endeavour Fund Awards in 2018, just a few months after their engagement.

Later in the week, the couple appeared at the Mountbatten Music Festival.

Markle — a well-known advocate for women — also stepped out to celebrate International Women’s Day at a school in Dagenham, east London.

After the Commonwealth Day service, the prince and his wife will walk away from most royal duties, give up public funding and try to become financially independent. The couple is expected to spend most of their time in Canada while maintaining a home in England near Windsor Castle.

In a lengthy statement released on their Sussex Royal website recently, the couple shared an update on the details discussed during the Royal Family’s meeting last month.

In bullet points outlining the details, Prince Harry and Markle reiterate their interest in giving up their royal titles to remove the “public interest” justification for media intrusion into their lives.

Their statement confirms they will retain their His and Her Royal Highness prefixes but won’t actively be using the titles come the end of March. It was previously believed that they would lose this title.

The next stage of changes, as announced on their website, will include a digital channel refresh this spring.

— With files from the Associated Press and Global News’ Meaghan Wray

Meghan.Collie@globalnews.ca


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