Prince Harry, Meghan Markle step back from royal duties: Here’s what this means

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle step back from royal duties: Here's what this means

Britain's Prince Harry and wife Meghan Markle watch a performance during their visit to Macarthur Girls High School in Sydney, Australia October 19, 2018. (Reuters File Photo: Phil Noble)

In an unprecedented move, Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan Markle said they would step back as senior members of the Royal Family and spend more time in North America. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex said that they would “carve out a progressive new role” within the family and ”work to become financially independent”.

Prince Harry is sixth in line to the British throne. He is the younger son of Prince Charles and Princess Diana.

What are the duties of senior members of the British Royal Family?

According to the official website of the royal family, members of the family support the current monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, in her state and national duties, and also carry out important work in the areas of public and charitable service.

While the term "senior royal" is not officially defined, it is understood to mean adult relatives of the British monarch who are high up in the line of succession, and their spouses, as per Town and Country magazine.

The report says that senior members are full-time working members of the royal family, perform regular duties in the Queen's name, and are highly visible representatives of the monarchy both in Britain and abroad.

Apart from Harry and Meghan, senior members include Prince Philip, Prince Charles, Camilla Parker Bowles, Prince William, and Kate Middleton.

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As per the royal family's website, Prince Harry undertook a number of duties in support of, and at times on behalf of the Queen. He represented her at events in the UK and abroad, and also attended state and ceremonial occasions alongside other members of the royal family. Harry and Meghan have now said that they would “carry out works for The Monarchy within the UK or abroad, as called upon.”

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle step back from royal duties: Here's what this means

The empty space after the figures of Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, left, were removed next to Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip and Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, at Madame Tussauds in London, Thursday Jan. 9, 2020. Madame Tussauds moved its figures of Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex from its Royal Family set to elsewhere in the attraction. (Victoria Jones/PA via AP)

Harry and Meghan, it is believed, did not inform a single member of the royal family before announcing their decision. The Buckingham Palace has called the matter “complicated” and said it would take “time to work through.”

A few months before Harry and Meghan, Prince Andrew, the eighth in line to the throne, also stepped back from his duties, after facing scrutiny over allegations of having sex with a minor, and for his ties with the American hedge fund mogul Jeffrey Epstein, who committed suicide in prison in August last year while pending trial.

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