Harry and Meghan to stop being 'working' members of royal family

The changes will come into effect during the first half of 2020, according to Buckingham Palace.

    Prince Harry, 35, and Markle, 38, sparked a crisis in the British monarchy this month by announcing they wanted to reduce their royal duties and spend more time in North America [File: Phil Noble/Reuters]
    Prince Harry, 35, and Markle, 38, sparked a crisis in the British monarchy this month by announcing they wanted to reduce their royal duties and spend more time in North America [File: Phil Noble/Reuters]

    Prince Harry and Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle will no longer be working members of Britain's royal family. The couple will not use their "royal highness" titles as they embark on a more independent future, Buckingham Palace said on Saturday.

    "Harry, Meghan, and Archie will always be much-loved members of my family," Queen Elizabeth said in a statement, referring to the couple's baby son.

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    "I recognise the challenges they have experienced as a result of intense scrutiny over the last two years and support their wish for a more independent life."

    The queen added that she was "particularly proud" of how Markle became one of the family.

    Harry, 35, and his American wife, former actress Markle, 38, sparked a crisis in the British monarchy this month by announcing they wanted to reduce their royal duties and spend more time in North America, while also becoming financially independent.

    In recent days, the queen and her family have been working out with officials how this stepping back will work in practice.

    The palace said Harry and Meghan will no longer receive public funds, and they will repay money spent on the refurbishment of their cottage at Windsor, west of London in the United Kingdom.

    The changes will come into effect in the spring of this year, the palace said.

    SOURCE: Reuters news agency