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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have today announced how their life away from the spotlight will change as they step back as senior members of the Royal Family effective March 31.
Harry and Meghan intend to spend the next few months “focusing on their family and continuing to do what they can, safely and privately, to support and work with their pre-existing charitable commitments while developing their future non-profit organization,” their spokesperson told ELLE.com.
In their departure Instagram post, the couple confirmed as much, writing:
As we can all feel, the world at this moment seems extraordinarily fragile. Yet we are confident that every human being has the potential and opportunity to make a difference—as seen now across the globe, in our families, our communities and those on the front line—together we can lift each other up to realize the fullness of that promise.
What’s most important right now is the health and wellbeing of everyone across the globe and finding solutions for the many issues that have presented themselves as a result of this pandemic.
As we all find the part we are to play in this global shift and changing of habits, we are focusing this new chapter to understand how we can best contribute.
While you may not see us here, the work continues.
Thank you to this community—for the support, the inspiration and the shared commitment to the good in the world. We look forward to reconnecting with you soon. You’ve been great!
Until then, please take good care of yourselves, and of one another.
Harry and Meghan
Harry will continue his work with Invictus, Sentebale, Rhino Conservation Botswana, and a number of his other patronages, and Meghan will continue her work with the Association of Commonwealth Universities, the National Theatre, Smart Works, and her animal rescue charity Mayhew. “The Duke and Duchess remain committed and supportive to their patronages and will continue to work closely with them,” a Sussex spokesperson shared with ELLE.com.
ELLE also has learned that Meghan and Harry will continue to be focused on the issues closest to their heart including gender equity and education, mental health, conservation, and support for the military community.
The couple understand and appreciate the interest in their future but “would prefer that in the immediate weeks and months, the focus remains on the global response to COVID-19.” Harry and Meghan recently relocated from their Vancouver Island bolthole in Canada to Los Angeles where their future business activities will be focused, and Meghan’s mother Doria is based.
As was agreed with The Royal Family, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will no longer use the name Sussex Royal for their charitable organization, Instagram, or website. The website will remain in existence although it will be “inactive,” according to a spokesperson for the Sussexes.
The Sussex Royal Foundation, which was in the process of being established in the UK, will not continue. A winding-up process has begun. The primary initiative currently underway as part of Sussex Royal is Travalyst, The Duke’s sustainable tourism initiative. Travalyst will be established as an independent non-profit organization, based in the UK.
Prince Harry has been actively engaged in promoting sustainable tourism and once restrictions related to controlling the global coronavirus pandemic ease, Travalyst’s goal is to support communities to better understand how this non-profit organization can aid in global recovery, protecting our natural resources and wildlife making the environment a priority.
As outlined in January, after the Sandringham Summit, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex remain “valued members” of the Royal Family and will retain their titles of “His/Her Royal Highness” but no longer actively use their HRHs.
As the grandson of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and second son of The Prince of Wales, Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex, remains sixth in line to the throne of the British Monarchy. The Order of Precedence will remain unchanged.
Catherine St-Laurent, who was a former senior executive of Melinda Gates staff, has been tapped to become chief of staff to the Sussexes and serve as executive director of their new non-profit organization. St-Laurent, formerly the director of Pivotal Ventures, worked lovely with Melinda Gates, spearheading the foundation’s work on women and family planning initiatives including making sure contraception and birth control is available to women globally, regardless of circumstance.
An emailed leaked earlier this week to St-Laurent’s colleagues announced her new role. “After nearly 9 years alongside Melinda and the Gates Foundation and Pivotal Ventures teams, I am moving on to begin a new chapter and wanted to make sure to share my contact info so we can stay in touch.
“Beginning next week I will be acting as Chief of Staff and Executive Director of the new non-profit enterprise for Meghan M and Harry. They are embarking on a new chapter themselves and I am thrilled to be able to play a supporting role in realizing their vision and enabling them to achieve impact on the issues that matter most to them.”
Meghan and Harry confirmed the hiring, saying today, “We are proud to be joined by Catherine St-Laurent in this next chapter with us. Her leadership and proven track record working within two organizations that have tremendous impact in the world—the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Pivotal Ventures—make her an incredible asset and we are excited to have her on our team.”
St-Laurent expressed her excitement too, saying, “From our very first conversation, Harry and Meghan have expressed a deep commitment to improving lives and having a positive impact on society. Their perspective on the role that empathy, connection, and compassion can play in that mission is both deeply personal and incredibly timely. I am delighted and honored to be able to play a role in realizing their vision as they embark on this journey of learning, listening, and inspiring all of us to act.”
James Holt, a valued member of Harry and Meghan’s staff, will also stay on with the couple in a new role. The highly regraded Holt had served as communications director for the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Duke and Duchess of Sussex before moving to the Sussexes’ household when the Foundation split.