The annual Commonwealth Day service, which normally gathers people from all over the world at Westminster Abbey, has been canceled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, the BBC will broadcast a television special featuring members of the royal family. Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, Prince William, Kate Middleton and Sophie, Countess of Wessex are all set to contribute, while the 94-year-old monarch will appear in a pre-recorded message from Windsor Castle.
The Commonwealth Day TV special has been in the works since January, and the time slot was decided around three weeks ago, PEOPLE understands.
Paul Grover – WPA Pool/Getty Images Queen Elizabeth, Meghan Markle, Prince Harry, Prince William and Kate Middleton
The broadcast will air on Sunday, March 7 — the same day as CBS’s 90-minute primetime special in which Oprah sits down for an “intimate conversation” with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. (Due to the time difference, Meghan and Harry’s interview will air in the early morning hours of March 8 in the U.K.)
David Livingston/Getty; Chris Jackson/Getty Oprah Winfrey; Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
The special airs weeks after Meghan, 39, and Prince Harry, 36, announced that they are expecting their second child — and shortly after they confirmed they would not be returning as working members of the royal family.
CBS said Oprah’s talk with Meghan would be “covering everything from stepping into life as a Royal, marriage, motherhood, philanthropic work to how she is handling life under intense public pressure,” according to a statement. “Later, the two are joined by Prince Harry as they speak about their move to the United States and their future hopes and dreams for their expanding family.”
PHIL HARRIS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images Commonwealth Day 2020
The March 2020 celebration of Commonwealth Day marked Meghan and Prince Harry’s final appearance as working royals — and the last time they were seen with members of the royal family.
Chris Jackson/Getty Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at Commonwealth Day 2020
Phil Harris – WPA Pool/Getty Images Commonwealth Day 2020
Later that month, Harry and Meghan relocated to California with their son Archie, who will turn 2 in May.
Misan Harriman Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s pregnancy reveal on Feb. 14
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Less than a week after the couple announced that they are expecting their second child, Buckingham Palace confirmed that the couple will officially not be returning to their royal roles. The announcement came a few weeks shy of their 12-month review period.
Meghan and Harry will no longer keep their patronages (their royal involvement with numerous U.K. charities). Further, Prince Harry will lose his honorary military appointments, which will subsequently be redistributed “among working members of The Royal Family.”
Although Prince Harry and Meghan no longer use their coveted His/Her Royal Highness titles, they will retain them — along with their Duke and Duchess of Sussex titles.
“While all are saddened by their decision, The Duke and Duchess remain much loved members of the family,” the Buckingham Palace announcement said.