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Prince Harry, Meghan Markle say they won't return to royal duties

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle say they won't return to royal duties
Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan, duchess of Sussex, kiss after they are married at St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle in Windsor, Britain, on May 19, 2018. File Photo by Neil Hall/UPI/Pool | License Photo

Feb. 19 (UPI) -- Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, duchess of Sussex, have finalized their split from royal duties, the royal family said Friday.

A year after they withdrew from their royal responsibilities, the couple have informed Queen Elizabeth II that they will not return and will give up their patronages.

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"The duke and duchess of Sussex have confirmed to Her Majesty the queen that they will not be returning as working members of the royal family," Buckingham Palace said in a brief statement Friday.

"Following conversations with [the couple], the queen has written confirming that in stepping away from the work of the royal family it is not possible to continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service. The honorary military appointments and royal patronages held by the duke and duchess will therefore be returned to Her Majesty, before being redistributed among working members of the royal family."

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"While all are saddened by their decision, the duke and duchess remain much loved members of the family," it added.

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The couple's patronages had included Britain's Royal Marines, RAF Honington, Royal Navy Small Ships and Diving, the Queen's Commonwealth Trust, the Rugby Football Union, the Rugby Football League, the Royal National Theater and the Association of Commonwealth Universities.

Prince Harry, 36, and Meghan Markle, 39, who married in 2018, stepped away from their royal duties last year and moved to North America -- first to British Columbia, Canada, before moving to Southern California. The couple have a home in Montecito.

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"As evidenced by their work over the past year, the duke and duchess of Sussex remain committed to their duty and service to [Britain] and around the world and have offered their continued support to the organizations they have represented regardless of official role," the couple said Friday through a representative.

"We can all live a life of service. Service is universal."

Friday's announcement came weeks before the couple are set to be interviewed by Oprah Winfrey, which is scheduled to air March 7.

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