After announcing their decision to step down as senior royals, Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan may be gearing up for a decidedly more chill chapter of married life with baby Archie — but not until they finish off one final round of royal engagements. Rest assured, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's last royal appearance was everything you thought it would be — emotional, elegant, and brimming with mixed feelings. For their final bow on March 9, the couple attended the Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey, along with the Queen and other members of the royal family.
ICYMI, on Jan. 8, Meghan and Harry announced their decision to “step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent” in an Instagram post. Since then, the duo has mostly been spending time in Canada — until recently, when they began their epic goodbye tour throughout the UK, which has included attending the Mountbatten Festival of Music (where they got a standing ovation, obvi), and a visit from Meghan to a school in Dagenham on International Women's Day.
The final stop on their tour, the Commonwealth Service, has historically been a momentous event on the royal calendar — mainly because the Queen has been head of the organization for 68 years, so it seems to hold a special place in her heart. The theme for Commonwealth Day this year was "Delivering a Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, and Transforming,” and as is tradition, the procession involved a grand exit from the royal family.
Things were a little different this year, though. Due to the circumstances surrounding their impending transition, Harry and Meghan were ushered to their seats upon arrival (rather than waiting for the Queen and entering the church with her), they also did not join the monarch for the procession. When the couple first arrived at the central London church, they were reportedly greeted by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Rev. Dr. David Hoyle, and met the Commonwealth's secretary-general, Baroness Scotland, among other dignitaries. They then gathered with the Queen, the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Since Harry is stepping down from his position as a working senior royal, he is required to give up his title as Commonwealth Youth Ambassador. That said, he will remain president of the Queen's Commonwealth Trust, with Meghan serving as the Trust's vice president.
That’s not the only reason why this event is significant, however. It’s time to face facts, fam: This is the last official appearance that Harry and Meghan will make as His and Her Royal Highness. As expected, the couple totally crushed their last hoorah style-wise. In fact, let’s all take a moment of silence for Meghan’s stunning green ensemble (by Emilia Wickstead), complete with an elegant cape and matching headpiece by William Chambers. The best part? The lining on the inside of Harry’s suit was the very same emerald hue that Meghan was wearing — a subtle sign of his unity with and support of his wife. Talk about being in sync, right?
This farewell appearance obviously marks a poignant occasion. On the one hand, many are thrilled for the couple as they prepare to embark on this exciting new phase of life, sans royal duties (and, hopefully, with less attention from the paparazzi). On the other hand, it goes without saying that some are struggling to imagine the royal fam without their golden couple. Regardless of whether you’re toasting them from afar or still mourning their loss, it’s safe to say that these two went out with a bang. That's how many Twitter users seem to feel, at least.
Some Twitter users, however, are still mourning — which is totally understandable, IMO.
As Harry and Meghan prepare to find their new normal outside of Buckingham Palace, they face a number of changes. On March 31, their last official day as working senior royals, their office at the Palace will close, and they will resume living part-time in North America. After 12 months, their royal status will be reviewed. It’s unclear at this point how things will play out during that time, but on the official website of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, the couple has shared additional details about their transition, including the fact that they will become privately funded members of the family with “permission to earn their own income and the ability to pursue their own private charitable interests.”
As the grandson of Her Majesty The Queen, Harry remains sixth in line to the throne of the British Monarchy. They’ll keep their titles as duke and duchess of Sussex, but will no longer be using their prefixes (His Royal Highness and Her Royal Highness). Additionally, the couple won’t be using the term “royal” to describe any of their projects or endeavors going forward, though, since they aren’t full-time working members of the family.
The exact details on their plans for the next phase are still unclear. The couple reportedly plans to launch a nonprofit that will “advance the solutions the world needs most,” and they intend to work toward supporting themselves financially. They also apparently have a backup plan in case things don’t work out — but before you get too excited, note that said plan does not seem to involve a return to their royal duties.
Harry and Meghan’s future may look uncertain, but one thing is for sure: Even without their royal duties and all the pomp and circumstance surrounding their life in the palace, they’ll no doubt still be making headlines for years to come.