Week ahead: Harry and Meghan officially step back from royal duties

Two months after Brexit, this week marks Megxit, with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex formally stepping down as senior royals. Laura Reid reports.

Big Ben has been the subject of April Fools stories in the past. Photo: PA/Philip Toscano

Megxit

Exactly two months to the date since the UK left the EU, another great departure will go down in the country’s history books on Tuesday.

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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will formally step down as senior royals on March 31, as they seek to live a more independent life as a family with their son Archie.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Photo: PA/Dominic Lipinski

They will no longer carry out official duties on behalf of the Queen, though the new arrangements will be reviewed after 12 months.

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In January, the pair said they planned to split their time between the UK and North America and reports emerged last week suggesting they had left their rented home in Vancouver, Canada for a new permanent base in California.

Just days after ‘Megxit’ day, the Duchess will return to the small screen as the narrator of a new Disney film about a family of elephants and their journey across Africa.

In her first post-royal project, former Suits actress Meghan will lend her voice to Disneynature’s Elephant, which will be available to stream on Disney+, which launched in the UK last week, from Friday, April 3.

Health

From tomorrow, MOT due dates for cars, motorcycles and light vans will be extended by six months in a move the Government says it has implemented to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Vehicles will automatically be given the exemption, though owners must keep them safe to drive.

Countries across the world will continue to respond to the global health crisis this week, with many citizens under lockdown as Governments try to mitigate the pressure on health services and minimise the number of deaths associated with Covid-19.

Tradition

During what is an incredibly bleak time for the country, April Fool’s Day on Wednesday could bring some light relief.

Also known as All Fools’ Day, the first of April each year sees many joining in with a custom of playing practical jokes and setting up hoaxes.

Traditionally, the pranks and gags should only be carried out before midday.

Media outlets have been known to join in with the custom, sharing imaginative tales such as plans for Big Ben to go digital and for the M25 to run clockwise and anti-clockwise on alternate days.

Politics

The new leader of the Labour Party, taking over the baton from Jeremy Corbyn, is set to be announced this week.

The ballot closes at noon on Thursday and the winning candidate - either Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy or Keir Starmer - will be revealed on Saturday.

A results conference originally scheduled for April 4, which was expected to attract hundreds of Labour members and journalists, was cancelled earlier this month as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

Prize

The shortlist for the International Booker Prize 2020 is due to be announced on Thursday.

Awarded annually for a single book, translated into English and published in the UK or Ireland, it celebrates the work of translators, with the prize money split between the author and translator.

Judges revealed the 13 novels that made the longlist back in February.