Why Meghan Markle Just Lost An Official Title To Camilla Parker Bowles

Two years ago, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle made the difficult decision to step back from their official roles with the British royal family. In doing so, they gained the privacy they craved (sort of!), plus the freedom to speak openly about topics such as Harry's upbringing and the racially insensitive comment they claim a royal family member made about their son, Archie, per InStyle. In addition to pursuing their own projects such as their Archewell Foundation charity and their production deal with Netflix, they enjoy some perks of American life. For instance, the Daily Mail claims the couple has been tapped to present the Best Picture award at the 2022 Academy Awards ceremony. 

But in renouncing their palace life, they have also given up many of the privileges that go with it, as The Independent has pointed out. Among them are being able to conduct duties and tours on behalf of Queen Elizabeth, having an official office in Buckingham Palace, and being provided with government security on their travels to the UK. Harry is currently embroiled in a lawsuit to have that last privilege restored so that he can travel back home with his family, per Newsweek.

The couple has also had to say goodbye to many of their royal patronages. In Meghan's case, her role as Patron of the National Theatre — a major publicly funded arts organization in London — was taken away following the Sussexes' departure, per Bloomberg. Her just-announced replacement is a very familiar name.

Camilla Parker Bowles is being given more responsibility within the royal family

On March 19, the National Theatre announced that Queen Elizabeth has passed on the royal patronage of the organization to Camilla Parker Bowles, wife of Prince Charles. Director Rufus Norris said in a statement, "It is a privilege to welcome The Duchess of Cornwall as the National Theatre's Royal Patron. The Duchess shares our belief that theatre enriches our lives in so many ways and that everyone should have access to the arts and creativity no matter where they are in the world ... I look forward to working with Her Royal Highness for many years to come."

Camilla Parker Bowles is also the patron of a number of other British arts associations, including The Royal Academy of Dance, the London Chamber Orchestra, London Youth Orchestra, and the Royal Society of Literature, so this isn't an unexpected honor. However, the loss of the patronage to Prince Harry's stepmother may sting a bit for Meghan Markle, who enjoyed a successful acting career before joining the royal family. As Page Six notes, Meghan lost other patronages when she and Harry relinquished their official duties, but this is the first time another family member has been tapped to take her place.

The new honor suggests that the queen is continuing to warm up towards her once-controversial daughter-in-law. In February, she stated her desire to have Camilla named as Queen Consort when Charles eventually ascends the throne, per BBC

Queen Elizabeth reassigned Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's patronages before

This isn't the first time Queen Elizabeth has reassigned one of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's patronages. In February 2022, it was announced that Kate Middleton would be taking over for Harry as the patron of Royal Football Union and the Royal Football League. "I am so thrilled to become Patron of the Rugby Football League and Rugby Football Union — two fantastic organizations who are committed to harnessing the power that sport can have in bringing communities together and helping individuals flourish," the Duchess of Cambridge wrote on Instagram. "I look forward to working with them across all levels of the games, and to cheering England on in what promises to be an exciting year for both sports!"

Before stepping down from his royal duties, Harry held 16 patronages, including The London Marathon Charitable Trust, Sentebale, Silverstone Heritage Experience, Small Ships and Diving, Royal Naval Command, per Express. He was given the RFU patronage in 2016, and RFL the following year, taking over the roles from his grandmother, per Bloomberg. Even after he stepped down from his royal duties, Harry reportedly wanted to keep his positions, but was forced to let them go. 

Kate seemed like a great choice to take over her brother-in-law's rugby patronages. She is already patron of the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club (the home of Wimbledon), as well as the SportsAid charity, which helps fund the early careers of young sports stars, according to the royal family's website.

Meghan Markle will get to keep two of her patronages

While Prince Harry has had to give up all of his royal patronages, Meghan Markle will actually get to keep two of hers — The Mayhew and Smart Works — because she chose those for herself and they were not assigned to her by Queen Elizabeth. 

Smart Works aims to "give women the confidence they need to reach their full potential, secure employment and change the trajectory of their lives," according to its website. Meghan visited the UK-based charity for close to one year before making her patronage official, per Elle. And The Mayhew provides preventative veterinary care, as well as shelter, to rescue animals. The charity is a perfect match for Meghan, who is an outspoken dog lover. "We're pleased to confirm that The Duchess of Sussex will remain our Patron. We want to thank The Duchess for all of her support, and look forward to continuing our work with her helping dogs, cats and communities in need," The Mayhew said in a statement, per Express.