The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s royal exit is officially permanent. This now raises the question, however, of who will get Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s roles after the Queen stripped them of their patronages. According to a source close to Buckingham Palace, Her Majesty has already chosen their replacements—and royal experts have an idea of who her candidates might be.
The Queen, 94, announced Meghan, 39, and Harry, 36, would be permanently stepping down from their roles as working members of the royal family on Friday, February 19. In a statement released by Buckingham Palace at the time, the monarch revealed that the couple (who will retain their Duke and Duchess titles) will remove themselves from their patronages, a.k.a. their charitable assignments in the U.K, whereas Harry will also be stripped of his military appointments.
While the announcement came less than a month before the Sussexes’ royal exit agreement was set to expire on March 31, a source told The Mirror that the Queen reportedly “made her mind up long ago” to strip the couple of their royal roles and assign them to other members of the royal family. A source close to Buckingham Palace told the newspaper, “When the writing was on the wall and it was clear the Duke and Duchess had no intention of coming back into the fold and being part of the team, the Queen made her mind up long ago over her preferred candidates for the roles they vacated.”
These roles included Meghan and Harry’s positions with the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, the Rugby Football Union, the Rugby Football League, the Royal National Theatre, the Association of Commonwealth Universities, and the Duke’s title as Captain-General of the Royal Marines. But which members of the royal family can we expect to see fill these positions?
Royal experts believed that Harry’s coveted military appointment with the Royal Marines is likely to be assumed by the Queen’s only daughter, Princess Anne. At the age of 70, Anne is familiar with military affairs after working with over 65 military organizations and serving as Chief Commandant for Women in the Royal Navy. While some experts also believe Harry’s brother Prince William could take over, having Princess Anne assume the position would mark a historic moment in the royal family as she would become the first woman to ever fill the role. As for Prince William, we may see the Duke of Cambridge taking over Harry’s role with the RFL instead.
Meanwhile, royal insiders claim that Prince Edward, the Queen’s youngest son, may assume Meghan’s role as the National Theatre patron. The Earl of Wessex has worked in television and theatre while also serving as a patron to the National Youth Theatre, making him an obvious choice to assume the Duchess of Sussex’s former role.