Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex arrive at the Royal Albert Hall in London, Saturday March 7, 2020, to attend the Mountbatten Festival of Music. (Simon Dawson/Pool via AP)

Harry, Meghan do their last royal job at Commonwealth event

The Commonwealth service is a major event on the royal calendar

Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, are making made their final appearance as senior royals at Westminster Abbey, joining Queen Elizabeth II and other members of Britain’s royal family Monday for an annual Commonwealth Day service.

The televised event was expected to be the last time the couple works alongside the entire Windsor clan before Harry and Meghan fly off into self-imposed exile in North America. The pomp-filled observance featured no hand-shaking, apparently due to the new coronavirus.

The service ended the two-month drama that began when the couple announced plans to walk away from their roles as senior members of the royal family and into a world where they will have to earn a living. It’s uncharted territory for the House of Windsor, which only has the messy abdication of Edward VIII in 1936 as a guide to the potential pitfalls.

“(The Windsors) have lost a major attraction for the future,” said Pauline Maclaran, co-author of “Royal Fever: The British Monarchy in Consumer Culture.”

ALSO READ: Prince Harry takes on first duties since royal crisis talks

The Commonwealth service is a major event on the royal calendar, largely because the 93-year-old monarch has embraced the organization for much of her life. She became head of the network of 54 countries in 1952 when she was only 26-years-old.

Elizabeth has long considered supporting good relations among Commonwealth members to be her own particular political project, said Philip Murphy, the director of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies at the School of Advanced Study at the University of London.

“It’s not just what a lot of people would call Imperial nostalgia — a yearning for the good old days of the Raj,” Murphy said. “The queen has always embraced an evolving Commonwealth and supported the notion of Britain as a multiracial country because it is part of a multiracial Commonwealth.”

The service departed slightly from plan.

ALSO READ: Prince Harry, Meghan to give up ‘royal highness’ titles

Harry and Meghan were ushered to their seats before the monarch’s arrival instead of awaiting the queen and walking through the church with her as they did last year. In a change from the order of service, Prince William and his wife, Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, also did not take part in the traditional procession of the queen, making the outgoing royals’ absence less glaring.

The queen gave Harry and Meghan the titles Duke of Sussex and Duchess of Sussex on their wedding day. Starting at the end of this month, the Sussexes will no longer use their royal titles as they pursue a new life of financial freedom in North America.

The couple are expected to earn their keep at least partly through speaking engagements, which can net as much as $400,000 per event for the most sought after speakers such as former U.S. President Barack Obama. They’ve already had at least one speaking engagement, at a JPMorgan investment conference last month in Florida, but it isn’t known whether they were paid or how much.

Among the things they may have to pay for is security after the Canadian government said it wouldn’t cover the cost of the couple’s security detail once they step back from royal duties.

Danica Kirka, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Better COVID-19 testing results needed in the north

Former senior Northern Health official also wants work camps shut down

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

A curfew is being implemented by Nak’azdli Whut’en First Nation

The First Nations community will also be putting up check-points due to COVID-19 concerns

Northern Health preparing ‘for a changing situation’ in response to COVID-19

The health authority is taking a number of measures to free up hospital capacity where possible

B.C. COVID-19 contact restrictions working, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

’Not out of the woods yet’ as next two weeks are critical

Evening world update: U.S. restrictions extended 30 days; NY deaths near 1,000

Comprehensive world update, with the latest developments in the COVID-19 crisis

‘It’s up to us: Recently-returned B.C. couple urges Canadians to take COVID-19 seriously

Garrett Kucher and Tory Apostoliuk make it home after almost a week of lockdown in Spain

‘Nothing concrete’: Tenants, landlords lack details after B.C. unveils COVID-19 rental aid

Single mom in Golden says she’s already going to the food bank after being laid off

Canada will make sure masks sent by China meet quality standards: Trudeau

Chinese Embassy tweeted that China was sending 30,000 medical masks along with gowns, gloves and goggles

B.C. issues guidelines about distancing, reusable bags to grocery stores amid COVID-19

Hand sanitizer and markers to keep lines two metres are apart are needed, province says

No plans to call in military right now to enforce COVID-19 quarantine: Trudeau

Trudeau unveils $7.5M for Kids Help Phone, $9M for vulnerable seniors amid COVID-19

QUIZ: How much do you know about the Olympics?

Put your knowledge to the test with these 12 questions

B.C. announces $3M for food banks to increase capacity during COVID-19

It is not clear how much of the money will flow towards Greater Victoria food banks

Most Read