Prince Harry and Meghan’s Markle decision to step back as senior members of the Royal Family has thrown up many unanswered questions.
The statement the couple released on January 8 via Instagram highlighted some of the couple’s future plans, and their Sussex Royal website went into further detail about how they plan to serve the Queen.
But, royal watchers have been left wondering what the move, dubbed ‘Megxit’, could mean for the charities and organisations the couple currently support.
Earlier this week, the Queen met with members of the Royal Family to discuss the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s future role within the institution.
No doubt one of the issues up for discussion was the pair’s current patronages and how the couple stepping down as “senior” members of the Royal Family will impact them.
The Sussex Royal website reveals that Harry and Meghan will be “continuing to honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages”.
“As members of the Royal Family, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex support Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by continuing her efforts to draw special attention to these groups as patrons of multiple organisations,” the site reads.
But, it is unclear what level of royal duty they will be expected to carry out going forward and whether they will remain as patrons in the future.
Yahoo UK contacted Buckingham Palace about the future of the couple’s current patronages and were told by a spokesperson: “In guidance, following Her Majesty's statement on Monday, we have no further updates or guidance.”
Despite a statement for the Queen suggesting solutions would be “reached in the coming days,” it would be understandable if the charities and organisations the couple are currently patrons of are concerned about the impact to them if the couple become only part-time royals.
There is certainly a lot to iron out, but in the mean time as far as their roles as patrons go, it seems to be business as usual as Prince Harry will today attend his first public engagement since the royal exit announcement, and the event is for one of his patronages, the Rugby Football League.
So, it certainly appears that the couple could remain patrons of the organisations and charities, for the time being at least.
What is a patronage?
Members of the Royal Family have links with hundreds of charities, military associations, professional bodies and public service organisations.
While some are well known, others may be smaller bodies working in a specialist area or on a local basis only.
“For over three centuries, members of The British Royal Family have held patronages to advance causes and shine a light on important areas of interest for the nation,” the Sussex Royal website explains.
There are many advantages of having a Royal patron. Not only can it provide publicity for the work of the charity or organisation, it also helps highlight the achievements and contributions they make to society.
Last year the Duke and Duchess of Sussex carried out around 200 engagements on behalf of their patronages and other charities they support.
While Prince Harry is royal patron of 16 organisations, Meghan is patron of four, including the Association of Commonwealth Universities, which the Queen held for 33 years.
The Duchess also took on patronage of animal charity Mayhew and Smart Works, which helps unemployed women and for which she designed a collection of clothes last year.
The Duke of Sussex’s patronages in full
Dolen Cymru encourages strong educational ties, wider young people’s links, health, churches, women’s organisations and more between Wales and Lesotho, enriching communities in both nations.
Henry Van Straubenzee Memorial Fund
Honouring The Duke of Sussex’s late childhood friend, the Henry Van Straubenzee Memorial Fund aims to help children out of poverty through education in rural Ugandan communities.
Invictus Games Foundation
Established by the Duke in 2014, the Invictus Games bring together wounded, injured and sick service men, women and veterans to compete in sporting events.
Just today the Duke announced the location of the 2022 Invictus Games suggesting he will remain as a patron.
The London Marathon Charitable Trust
This supports initiatives encouraging and enabling people of all backgrounds to take part in physical activity.
MapAction maps enable governments, organisations and the International community to understand humanitarian needs so they can efficiently respond to natural disasters, violent conflict and more.
Rhino Conservation Botswana
This charity rescues black and white rhinos from poaching across Southern Africa, helping to ensure the survival of the species.
Royal Air Force Base Honington
Employing over 1,500 people, the Royal Air Force Base Honington hosts and trains specialises to help manage strategic threats and ensure the safety of Royal Air Force personnel.
The Duke of Sussex serves as its Honorary Air Force Commandant.
Since December 2017, the Duke of Sussex has served as Captain General of the Royal Marines, a group of trained fighters who protect the country from a wide range of threats.
The Rugby Football League
Also governing the English Rugby League team, the Rugby Football league supports and promotes the sport in the UK, helping to make it accessible for all.
Rugby Football Union
This is the national body representing the country’s national team, elite rugby and the grassroots game. It’s purpose is to encourage the sport to grow and flourish in the UK. It is made up of more than 2,000 clubs and was founded in 1871.
Rugby Football Union All Schools Programme
This brings rugby to state secondary school in lesser served areas and helps encourage improved health, both physical and mental amongst participants.
Rugby Football Union Injured Players Foundation
Helps to provide lifelong support to players who have been permanently disabled due to rugby injuries.
Provides medical care, education and supportive peer groups for children affected by HIV and AIDS in Lesotho, Botswana and Malawi.
Silverstone Heritage Experience
Teaches visitors to Silverstone motor racing circuit about STEM via British motor racing and educating more than 40,000 children and young people each year.
Small Ships and Diving, Royal Naval Command
Helps to manage underwater threats and keeps the Royal Navy safe. The Duke of Sussex serves as its honorary Commodore-in-Chief.
Helps to provide compassionate care to chronically sick children, while also helping to ensure policy makers are aware and addressing the challenges families face when their child is sick.
The Duchess of Sussex’s patronages in full
The Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU)
Encourages over 500 universities throughout the world to work together to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development goals and address other vital gloal issues.
Rescues and finds homes for abandoned dogs and cats in London. The charity also brings therapy dogs to the sick and elderly and helps vulnerable pet owners to care for their animals when in financial difficulty.
The National Theatre
As well as delivering diverse stage productions, the National Theatre also provides performance, writing and community-building programmes to help make theatre more inclusive.
This charity helps unemployed women return to work by providing them with outfits and interview help.
Last year, the Duchess of Sussex created a capsule collection of essential workwear.