Prince William today held a Zoom call to thank members of the military for their Covid vaccine efforts in footage released by Kensington Palace amid a dramatic afternoon for the royal family.
The Duke of Cambridge shared footage of himself on Instagram as he dialled into calls with members of the Armed Forces as the Queen prepares to hand Prince Harry’s military patronages to ‘working members of the Royal family’.
It will no doubt raise speculation that William, who rose to the rank of Major during his time serving with the British Army, is preparing to step into his brother’s role as Captain General of the Royal Marines.
Harry was today stripped of his titles, including Honorary Air Force Commandant of the Royal Air Force Base Honington and Honorary Commodore-in-Chief of the Royal Naval Commands’ Small Ships and Diving.
The Queen, 94, will make a decision on who should inherit the roles and patronages this summer.
The Duke of Cambridge dialled into video calls today to discuss how Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force members have found the atmosphere in jab centres across the country.
In the short video shared to the kensingtonroyal
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The Duke of Cambridge, pictured at his laptop earlier this week, quizzed some of the 5,000 Armed Service members employed in the vaccination programme in online Zoom calls
One personnel member is heard telling the Prince, in the video shared to the kensingtonroyal Instagram account, that ‘we’ve still got a long way to go’ but that ‘it’s a joy and a privilege’ to be involved in vaccinating people
In a video call with five uniformed staff, the Prince highlighted that over 5,000 military personnel are currently working alongside the NHS in vaccinating priority groups.
William, seen on two separate calls, is heard saying on one of them: ‘Are you hearing hope and optimism coming out now? People are maybe seeing there is light at the end of this tunnel?’
One service personnel member responds: ‘We’ve still got a long way to go but I think a lot of people come in with that keen, eager, enthusiasm because they do start to see light at the end of the tunnel now.’
He added: ‘It’s a real joy and a privilege to be there to help get them done.’
The royals have been vocal in support of the vaccination programme in recent weeks.
Yesterday, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall carried out their first public engagement of the year amid news of Prince Philip’s hospitalisation.
Vital role: An image shared on the Kensington Royal Instagram account on Friday highlighting the work the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force are doing to support NHS staff
One member of the Armed Services told William there was an enthusiasm from those coming into the vaccination centres. Right, William, in a teal blue jumper and navy blazer as he chatted with personnel
Prince Charles, 72, and the Duchess of Cornwall, 73, put safety first as they met with frontline workers at a Birmingham hospital during their first public engagement of the year on Thursday
Royal effort: The Prince of Wales has joined Prince William in thanking those working in the vaccination centres
The Duchess of Cornwall donned a blue and red tartan coat featuring a faux fur collar (Pictured, meeting front line health and care workers)
Prince Charles, 72, who along with the Duchess of Cornwall, 73, arrived at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, where they were greeted by Health Secretary Matt Hancock for the visit, toured the hospital to meet volunteers taking part in clinical trials for Covid-19 jabs.
The couple, who have both had their first doses of the jab, also met healthcare staff receiving their inoculations in their first joint official public event for two months.
They carried out the engagement despite news that Charles’ father Prince Philip, 99, has been admitted to the private King Edward VII Hospital in Marylebone, London, as a ‘precautionary measure’.
The roles and patronages revoked from Harry and Meghan
- 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
- The Association of Commonwealth Universities
The Duke of Edinburgh’s illness is not Covid-related and it is understood the decision to admit him on Wednesday was taken with an ‘abundance’ of caution.
Meanwhile, organisations today started severing ties with
The Duke and
Buckingham Palace said their decision meant ‘it is not possible to continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service’.
A statement said: ‘The honorary military appointments and Royal patronages held by the Duke and Duchess will therefore be returned to Her Majesty, before being redistributed among working members of The
Within minutes of the midday announcement, organisations released their own statements confirming they had parted ways with the Sussexes.
England Rugby tweeted: ‘Prince Harry will be stepping down from his role as RFU Patron. 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.’
Only this month the Duke recorded a video for England Rugby to mark the 150th anniversary of the first international match against Scotland.
He also holds the same role with the Rugby Football League, which this afternoon parted ways with a tweet.
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.’
Meghan’s patronage of the National Theatre, which she was awarded by the Queen in 2019, also came to an end.
In a statement the organisation said it was ‘very grateful’ for her support and commended her championing of its work.
She will also lose her patronage of the Association of Commonwealth Universities and has to give up her role as vice-president of The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust. She keeps her two private patronages: Smart Works and animal charity Mayhew.
Prince Harry, (L) speaks with England rugby player James Haskell during a visit to an England Rugby Squad training session at Twickenham Stadium on February 17, 2017
The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust – only founded in 2018 – of which the Duke and Duchess were president and vice-president respectively said it was ‘lucky’ to have had their support.
The trust said in a statement: ‘The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust exists to support young people around the world who are delivering practical help to those who need it most.
‘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.’
It added: ‘Our focus, as always, is on the young people we work alongside. We will be pressing on with vigour to help them reach even more people with the essential services they provide.’
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex during a visit to The National Theatre on January 30, 2019 in London
‘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. Our focus, as always, is on the young people we work alongside. We will be pressing on with vigour to help them reach even more people with the essential services they provide.’
Harry is also no longer patron of the London Marathon Charitable Trust.
The role was on a three-year term, which was renewed twice, covering nine years. It came to an end in January, and it was decided it would not be renewed.
The Invictus Games, which was the brainchild of the Duke, released a statement confirming he would stay as its patron, as it was not a royal role.
It 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.’
He also retains the following private patronages or presidencies: African Parks, Dolen Cymru, the Henry van Straubenzee Memorial Fund, MapAction, Rhino Conservation Botswana charity, Sentebale, and WellChild.
It is not yet known whether Harry will retain his two other rugby-related patronages of the Rugby Football Union All Schools Programme and the Rugby Football Union Injured Players Foundation.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex quit as senior working royals in March 2020 to earn their own money in the US, where they have signed deals with Spotify and Netflix estimated to be worth more than £100million.
Stepping down as working royals also means the couple, who now live in an £11million mansion in Montecito, California, will not be able to hold on to their military, Commonwealth and some other patronages.
The decision was made after conversations between the Duke of Sussex and members of the Royal Family.
The Duchess of Sussex keeps her two private patronages: Smart Works and animal charity Mayhew
The Sussexes, who announced on Sunday that they expecting their second child, are poised for their ‘intimate’ interview about their lives with chat show queen Oprah Winfrey on March 7.
A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: ‘The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have confirmed to Her Majesty The Queen that they will not be returning as working members of the Royal Family.
‘Following conversations with the Duke, the Queen has written confirming that in stepping away from the work of the Royal Family it is not possible to continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service.
‘The honorary military appointments and Royal patronages held by the Duke and Duchess will therefore be returned to Her Majesty, before being redistributed among working members of The Royal Family.
‘While all are saddened by their decision, The Duke and Duchess remain much loved members of the family.’
A spokesman for Harry and Meghan said: ‘As evidenced by their work over the past year, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex remain committed to their duty and service to the UK and around the world, and have offered their continued support to the organisations they have represented regardless of official role.
‘We can all live a life of service. Service is universal.’
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