The Major Shakeup to Britain's Royal Family Is Here

Harry, Meghan make their exit today
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 31, 2020 12:30 PM CDT
Harry and Meghan's Big Day Has Arrived
In this March 5, 2020, photo, Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, arrive at the annual Endeavour Fund Awards in London.   (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, file)

Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, officially make the transition Tuesday from senior members of Britain’s royal family to—well, it’s unclear. International celebrities, charity patrons, global influencers? The royal schism that the couple triggered in January by announcing that they would step down from official duties, give up public funding, seek financial independence and swap the UK for North America becomes official on March 31, reports the AP. The move has been made more complicated and poignant by the global coronavirus pandemic, which finds the couple and their 10-month-old son, Archie, in California, far from Harry’s father Prince Charles—who is recovering after testing positive for COVID-19—and Harry’s 93-year-old grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II.

It is less than two years since ex-soldier Harry, who is sixth in line to the British throne, married American actress Meghan Markle at Windsor Castle. The couple—who are keeping their titles, Duke and Duchess of Sussex, but will no longer be called Their Royal Highnesses—had hoped to keep using the Sussex Royal brand in their new life. But last month they announced they wouldn't seek to trademark the term because of UK rules governing use of the word "royal." The couple plans to launch a non-profit organization for their charitable activities in areas including youth empowerment, mental health, conservation, gender equality, and education. Harry will also continue to oversee the Invictus Games, the Olympics-style competition he founded for wounded troops. They'll also need to earn money to help pay for a multi-million dollar security bill. (Read more about Meghan's first Hollywood gig post-transition here.)

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