Prince Harry will remain a private patron of the Invictus Games, the foundation’s CEO has said.
CEO Dominic Reid said the charity was “proud” to have the continued support of the Duke of Sussex, after it was announced he and the Duchess of Sussex would be permanently stepping down as working royals.
A statement from Mr Reid said: “We are proud to have The Duke of Sussex as our patron.
“The Invictus Games was founded by him, it has been built on his ideas and he remains fully committed to both the Games and to the Invictus Games Foundation.
“His military service and experience, combined with his genuine compassion and understanding for those who serve their countries has raised awareness of wounded, injured and sick service personnel and the role they continue to play in society.
“His work has had an extraordinary impact on the way in which disability, service, and mental health is viewed around the world. And he has been instrumental in changing the lives of many.”
The announcement from Buckingham Palace came after conversations between Harry and members of the royal family, ahead of the one-year anniversary of the Sussexes formally stepping away from royal life on 31 March.
Honorary military appointments and royal patronages held by the couple – such as Harry’s affiliation with the Royal Marines and Meghan’s patronage of the National Theatre – will be returned to the Queen and “redistributed among working members of The Royal Family”, Buckingham Palace said.
The military, Commonwealth and charitable associations which will revert to the Queen are:
- The Royal Marines, RAF Honington, Royal Navy Small Ships and Diving
- The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, The Rugby Football Union, The Rugby Football League, The Royal National Theatre and The Association of Commonwealth Universities
A statement from the palace said the royals were “saddened by their decision” but that Harry and Meghan “remain much loved members of the family”.
A spokesperson for the duke and duchess said despite the formal links being broken they have “offered their continued support to the organisations they have represented regardless of official role”.
Shortly after the announcement, the Rugby Football Union (RFU) confirmed that Harry would be stepping down from his role as a patron.
It said in a post on the England Rugby Twitter account: “We would like to thank Prince Harry for his time and commitment to the RFU both in his position as Patron and Vice Patron.
“The RFU has greatly valued his contribution to promoting and supporting the game.”
It was followed by a statement from the Rugby Football League, of which Harry was also a patron.
It said: “The Rugby Football League thanks The Duke of Sussex for his time, care and commitment in supporting Rugby League at all levels in recent years – from the children’s game to the Challenge Cup, the England teams and RLWC2021.”
The National Theatre, of which the Duchess of Sussex was a patron, tweeted: “The National Theatre is very grateful for the support offered by the Duchess of Sussex throughout the course of her patronage.
“The Duchess championed our work with communities and young people across the UK, and our mission to make theatre accessible to all.
“As Buckingham Palace have stated, the process of appointing a new patron is ongoing and will be announced in due course.”
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The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust said in a statement: “We have been very lucky to have had the keen support and encouragement of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in our formative years.
“They have enabled us to make fast progress and have helped us to take the organisation to readiness for its next phase.
“We are glad that they remain in our circle of supporters.”
And the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) said it had been fortunate to have Meghan as “a passionate advocate” for its mission to “build a better world through higher education”.
“We thank the duchess for her support, which has shone a light on higher education, the impact it has on individuals and communities, and the importance of access and inclusion,” a statement added.
Meanwhile, Smart Works, which helps women with clothes and coaching to get in to work, said it was “delighted to confirm” that Meghan would remain a private patron.
“We are thankful for everything she has done in support of our clients and look forward to working together in the future,” the charity said on Twitter.
She will also remain in as patron of the Mayhew cats and dog’s charity.
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