Prince Harry Said He And Meghan Markle Had "No Other Option" Than To Step Back From Royal Life
"Once Meghan and I were married, we were excited, we were hopeful, and we were here to serve. For those reasons, it brings me great sadness that it has come to this."
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, has spoken out publicly for the first time since the announcement that he and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, would step back as working members of the royal family -no longer receiving public funding and no longer using their royal titles.
In a moving speech at a London fundraiser for Sentebale, the charity he co-founded in 2006, Harry addressed his decision and shed some light on the factors that led him to take such a radical step.
"The decision that I have made for my wife and I to step back is not one I made lightly. It was so many months of talks after so many years of challenges," he said. "And I know I haven't always gotten it right, but as far as this goes, there really was no other option.
"What I want to make clear is that we're not walking away, and we certainly aren't walking away from you. Our hope was to continue serving the Queen, the commonwealth, and my military associations, but without public funding. Unfortunately, that wasn't possible.
"I've accepted this, knowing that it doesn't change who I am or how committed I am. But I hope that helps you understand what it had come to, that I would step my family back from all I have ever known, to take a step forward into what I hope can be a more peaceful life."
In Harry's address to the charity - which supports young people with HIV in southern Africa and was founded in honor of his mother, Princess Diana - he alluded that the unrelenting media scrutiny of him and his wife had been a factor in the decision.
"When I lost my mum 23 years ago, you took me under your wing," he said to the audience. "You've looked out for me for so long, but the media is a powerful force, and my hope is one day our collective support for each other can be more powerful, because this is so much bigger than us."
Harry said that falling in love with Meghan gave him "the love and happiness that I had hoped for all my life," and he thanked his longtime supporters and friends in the audience for welcoming her "with open arms."
"Finally, the second son of Diana got hitched, hurray!" he joked.
"I also know that you've come to know me well enough over all these years to trust that the woman I chose as my wife upholds the same values as I do. And she does, and she's the same woman I fell in love with.
"We both do everything we can to fly the flag and carry out our roles for this country with pride. Once Meghan and I were married, we were excited, we were hopeful, and we were here to serve. For those reasons, it brings me great sadness that it has come to this."
Harry's full speech was posted to the Sussexes official Instagram account soon after the event ended on Sunday night.
Harry added he and Meghan felt privileged to be able to serve others.
"It has also been a privilege to meet so many of you and to feel your excitement for our son Archie, who saw snow for the first time the other day and thought it was bloody brilliant!" he quipped.
He then took a more serious note to discuss his feelings for and dedication to the Queen.
"I will always have the utmost respect for my grandmother, my commander-in-chief, and I am incredibly grateful to her and the rest of my family, for the support they have shown Meghan and I over the last few months," he said.
"I will continue to be the same man who holds his country dear and dedicates his life to supporting the causes, charities, and military communities that are so important to me. Together, you have given me an education about living. And this role has taught me more about what is right and just than I could have ever imagined. We are taking a leap of faith — thank you for giving me the courage to take this next step."
Quote of the Day
The most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help.