Buckingham Palace said in a statement that the Queen had written confirming Harry and Meghan would not be able to continue with royal duties, and their honorary military appointments and royal patronages would be returned.
A spokesperson for The Duke and Duchess of Sussex said the couple “remain committed to their duty and service to the UK and around the world” regardless of their role within the royal family.
The move prompted the Queen to organise a crisis summit regarding their future roles and it also raised a number of questions about what the exit will mean for the monarchy, from how the couple will fund their lifestyle to the impact on the line of succession.
This is because the positioning is based on legislation meaning the government would have to step in to remove someone from the list.
Historian and author Marlene Koenig told Royal Central: “Succession to the throne is based on legislation including the Succession to the crown Act, which includes the Act of Settlement.
“It would take an act of Parliament to remove a person from the line of succession.”
While this is incredibly rare, it has happened once before. In 1936, Edward VIII abdicated from the throne, sparking a constitutional crisis which resulted in the King denouncing his position so he could marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson.
However he could not do this without an act of parliament.
Previous to this, the crown was passed lineally in birth order, but subject to male preference over females.
Prince Harry remains sixth in line to the throne after his niece and nephews. However, it is worth noting that, if the Cambridge family expands, the royal will keep moving down the line of succession.