Buckingham Palace ready for final 'Megxit' announcement on Harry and Meghan's royal patronages

Victoria Ward
·4-min read
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex - MICHELE SPATARI
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex - MICHELE SPATARI

Buckingham Palace will bring forward its final “Megxit” announcement on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s royal patronages to prevent further speculation and uncertainty, The Telegraph understands.

The couple are expected to be stripped of their roles as the one-year review period of their exit from royal life comes to an end next month.

But none of the organisations involved have received any communication from the palace about the move, leaving them “blindsided” by the revelations with future events in limbo.

As a result, the decision is expected to be announced sooner rather than later, as aides indicated that it would not be left until the end of March.

The Sussexes pictured in Australia in October 2018 - Chris Jackson/pool/Getty
The Sussexes pictured in Australia in October 2018 - Chris Jackson/pool/Getty

The Duke is set to lose his three honorary military appointments, as well as patronages with the Rugby Football Union, Rugby Football League and the London Marathon, while the Duchess, who is expecting their second child, will have to step down as patron of the National Theatre.

While a source close to the couple indicated on Tuesday that they were reluctantly resigned to losing their links with organisations passed down through the Royal Family, they too were awaiting confirmation from the palace.

It came as a friend insisted that the Duke and Duchess’s decision to give an “intimate” and “wide ranging” interview to Oprah Winfrey was not agreed as a form of revenge, but had been long planned.

The couple will not be paid for the interview, which is due to be recorded this week and broadcast on US network CBS on Mar 7.

Oprah Winfrey promotes the Duchess's 'superlatte' brand
Oprah Winfrey promotes the Duchess's 'superlatte' brand

Gayle King, a CBS anchor, revealed that no subject was off the table.

"This is a big deal," she said. "I know Oprah has been working on the questions all weekend long, I'm told that nothing is off limits. She can ask anything she wants."

A one-year review period was put in place when the Sussexes stepped back from royal duties last March as a “safety net” in case they changed their minds or failed to secure any financial deals as they pursued an independent life abroad.

Their royal patronages and the Duke’s honorary military titles, Captain General of the Royal Marines, Honorary Air Commandant of RAF Honington and Commodore-in-Chief, Small Ships and Diving, Royal Naval Command, were put on hold until that year was up on Mar 31.

Discussions on those outstanding issues have been ongoing with Buckingham Palace in recent weeks.

However, a source close to the Sussexes suggested that the couple knew they would be unable to retain such titles after the Queen made clear last year that they could not opt for a “one foot in, one foot out” approach to official duties.

They said: “The royal appointments and patronages were never in their gift.

“All they have done is express their commitment to them. There is no question that if it was up to them, they would keep them.”

The Duke is understood to be particularly devastated at having to give up his cherished military titles, having been convinced he could continue to represent them from afar, with regular trips back to the UK.

“His military work is one of the most important things to him,” a friend previously told the Telegraph. “Of course he wants to keep them.”

The organisations involved have revealed that they had received no contact from Buckingham Palace about the predicted upheaval, which will have significant consequences for each of them.

They have each expressed a desire to maintain links with the Sussexes and privately, many voiced frustration that they had not been kept abreast of developments.

The Rugby Football League, which was expecting the Duke to be “front and centre” of its World Cup coverage in the autumn, said it was “very proud” Prince Harry had been the sport’s patron since 2016, adding: “The RFL has not received official correspondence relating to any changes at this time.”

The Duchess’s patronage of the National Theatre was handed to her by the Queen, in what was deemed a public show of support.

Publicly, the theatre has enthusiastically backed her, describing her as “very engaged” and keen to harness her “star reach.” But one former patron suggested that there was no love lost with the former actress.

The Sussexes will be allowed to keep private patronages such as the Invictus Games and WellChild for the Duke, and the Mayhew animal charity and Smart Works for the Duchess.

Their positions with the Association of Commonwealth Universities and the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust are unclear, although now they are living in the US, it appears likely those too will go.