Harry and Meghan to return to UK for final round of official royal duties

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LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 07: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex depart Canada House on January 07, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

 The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will return to the UK later this month to carry out their final official engagements before they step down as senior members of the royal family, a spokesperson for the couple said Wednesday.

In a guidance statement, the spokesperson confirmed that Harry and Meghan’s office at Buckingham Palace would officially close and that the couple would begin a 12-month transition period from March 31, as they work on establishing their non-profit organization.

Prince Harry will drop into a session by musician Jon Bon Jovi in which he will re-record his song “Unbroken” with the Invictus Games Choir on February 28.

The couple will attend a series of other events through March, including the Endeavour Fund Awards “to recognize wounded, injured and sick service personnel and veterans who have gone on to use sport and adventurous challenge as part of their recovery and rehabilitation,” according to the statement, as well as an annual performance at the Royal Albert Hall to raise money for Her Majesty’s Royal Marines and CLIC Sargent, a UK cancer charity for children.

The engagements were announced as Buckingham Palace discusses whether the couple can continue to use the word “Royal” for their new venture, according to a royal source. Discussions are still underway but the likely direction is that the term will not be a part of the Sussexes’ branding.

“As the Duke and Duchess are stepping back as senior members of the royal family, and will work towards financial independence, use of the word ‘Royal’, in this context, needed to be reviewed. Discussions are still ongoing, however, a change will be announced alongside the launch of their new non-profit organization,” the statement said, adding that details of the organization would be shared at the end of the year.

The couple will continue to focus on the same causes they currently engage with, including the Commonwealth, community, youth empowerment and mental health, the statement said.

“The Duke’s priorities remain supporting the welfare of servicemen and women, conservation, sport for social development, HIV and Travalyst which works to mobilize the tourism and travel industry for social good,” it said.

“For the Duchess, her focus remains women’s empowerment, gender equality and education.”

Prince Harry will keep his honorary military titles — the ranks of Major, Lieutenant Commander, and Squadron Leader — during the 12-month transition period but won’t use them or undertake duties associated with them. The roles will not be filled by anyone else in that time period.

The couple announced last month that they were stepping back from royal duties and would split their time between the UK and North America. The couple spent an extended Christmas break on Vancouver Island in Canada with their son, Archie, and have spent much of this year in the country, where Meghan worked as an actress in the TV show “Suits.”

They are expected to return to the UK frequently and Prince Harry is expected to attend the London Marathon in April, in his capacity as Patron. The Duke and Duchess will also attend the Invictus Games in May.

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