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  1. ITV Report

Harry and Meghan in last official engagement before leaving front line duties

  • Video report by ITV News Royal editor Chris Ship

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have made their final official appearance as senior royals at the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey.

Harry and Meghan joined the Queen and other key members of the family as their farewell UK tour came to an end.

It was their final public royal duty before they step back as senior royals and cease to be official working members of the family firm.

As their final official duty as senior royals came to an end, the couple held hands as they walked towards their car before they were driven swiftly away.

The Sussexes gathered with the monarch, the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in the central London church.

Though - unlike previous years - Harry and Meghan were not be part of the Queen's procession through Westminster Abbey at the start of the service.

The couple were instead conducted to their seats - rather than waiting for the Queen's arrival.

  • Prince Charles appeared to pull out of a handshake as he arrived at the service:

When Meghan and Harry first arrived they were greeted by the Dean of Westminster and the Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle.

The couple met a group of dignitaries including Boris Johnson and the Commonwealth's secretary-general Baroness Scotland.

No-one shook hands as they greeted each other - it is understood the Queen and other senior royals were following the protocol the Abbey has been operating under during the past few days amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived shortly after the Sussexes on Monday. Credit: PA

Meghan was seen to mouth "hi" and give a small wave to William and Kate, followed by a "hello", as the Cambridges took their seats in the High Altar in the row in front of the Sussexes.

Harry also said "hello" and smiled at his brother.

From March 31, the Sussexes will no longer use their HRH styles as they pursue a new life of personal and financial freedom, mostly in North America.

The couple's goodbye tour - a flurry of appearances in the UK - has including the Endeavour Fund Awards and a military musical festival at the Royal Albert Hall.

Meghan was in a green Emilia Wickstead dress with asymmetrical cape and hat by William Chambers. Credit: PA

On March 31, the couple will bow out of royal life just one year, 10 months and 12 days after the pair were married.

Their final event - the Commonwealth Service - is a key annual event in the calendar for the Queen who is head of the Commonwealth.

This year's ceremony, however, holds further significance for being Harry and Meghan's royal swansong.

The happy couple arriving at events for their final five days of Royal duties. Credit: PA

On Friday, Meghan had an eventful visit to a school in Dagenham, east London, to celebrate International Women's Day.

One student, 16-year-old Aker Okoye, joined Meghan onstage and joked: "She really is beautiful, innit," prompting laughter from both his classmates and the former Suits actor and model.

  • 'She really is beautiful, innit' - Cheeky student meets Meghan:

Monday's Commonwealth Service was the first time the Duke and Duchess have appeared in public with the royal family since their bombshell "Megxit" announcement in January.

Tradition dictates that Harry, who is not a future king, sits with Meghan in the second row of seats behind the Queen, Charles, Camilla, William and Kate during the service.

The Cambridges and the Sussexes seated awaiting the arrival of the Queen. Credit: PA

Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, was at the service in 2019 - accompanying the Queen as she arrived.

He was absent this year, having stepped down from public life following his disastrous Newsnight appearance over his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrived at Monday's ceremony with partner Carrie Symonds. Credit: PA

The Queen in her Commonwealth Day message praised the diversity of the family of nations whose blend of traditions "serves to make us stronger".

In her annual message, the head of state highlighted how global connectivity makes people aware their "choices and actions" can affect the "well-being of people and communities living far away".

Fans wait for the arrival of Queen Elizabeth II at Monday's Commonwealth Day Service. Credit: PA

International boxing champion and Olympic gold medallist Anthony Joshua delivered a reflection at the service.

The world heavyweight champion spoke eloquently about his Nigerian and British heritage and how his background reflected many in the Commonwealth.

Alexandra Burke performed a rendition of Ain't No Mountain at the service, Meghan later hugged the singer as they were introduced at the end of the service.

Meghan crouched down to chat to children gathered at the Great West Door after Monday's service. Credit: PA

Ahead of their wedding, Harry and Meghan highlighted the Commonwealth as a priority for their royal duties.

Harry said: "Both of us have passions for wanting to make change, change for good, and with lots of young people running around the Commonwealth, that's where we’re going to spend most of our time hopefully."

Stepping down as a working royal means Harry must leave his role as Commonwealth Youth Ambassador.

He will remain president of the Queen's Commonwealth Trust and Meghan will still be the Trust's vice-president.

As the Sussexes made their way out of the Great West Door after Monday's service, the duchess crouched down to chat to the children who were handing out bouquets to the royal women.