822 views | Peters Okwudili | March 10, 2020
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on Monday bid adieu after making their last appearance as working members of the royal family as part of their intention to ‘step back’ and live a new life of independence in Canada and the UK.
The couple joined Queen Elizabeth, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Commonwealth secretary-general Patricia Scotland, members of the royal family and diplomats from various countries at the Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey.
Prince Charles greeted Johnson and other dignitaries with ‘namaste’, in keeping with official advice not to shake hands due to the growing incidence of Coronavirus in the UK. Four people have died and 310 have tested positive in the UK.
The queen is the head of Commonwealth, and the UK is the current chair-in-office of the group with 54 countries as members. India is the largest country in the group by population and the third-largest by size after Canada and Australia.
The couple will stop using royal titles from March 31 and stop receiving public money as part of an arrangement reached with the Queen. The arrangement is to be reviewed after one year. Any future attendance by them at royal events will not be classified as official duties.
Prince Harry will also step down as the Commonwealth Youth Ambassador, the role he took on during the 2018 meeting of Commonwealth heads of government in London, but will continue to be the president of the Queens Commonwealth Trust.
Speaking on the occasion, PM Johnson said: “The Commonwealth has over 70 years of history as a driver for peace, democracy and human rights around the world. It gives a voice to its member states and the 2.4 billion Commonwealth citizens around the world.
“Over 60% of those citizens are under 30 years old and it is for them, in particular, we must look, not just to the past successes of the Commonwealth, but to its future. With the world facing increasingly difficult challenges from climate change to global health security, we need cooperation and understanding that the Commonwealth brings more than ever”.
After the service, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle keen to live a life away from the royal family were expected to return to their new home in Canada. They have announced plans to live a life of personal independence, pursuing private commercial deals and charity projects.
The couple, who have been on a farewell tour of the UK, appearing at various events, will continue to have the use of Frogmore Cottage in Windsor.