British Royal Family

"It brings me great sadness that it has come to this": Prince Harry delivers emotional, unprecedented statement after officially stepping back

The Prince shared the emotional speech at a private dinner for Sentebale.

By Jess Pullar
Prince Harry has shared a deeply personal and moving statement in the wake of his and Meghan's decision to step back as senior royal family members.
Speaking at a private dinner for one of his key charities, Sentebale, on Sunday, 19 January, the Prince was emotional as he delivered the powerful speech to guests.
"Before I begin, I can only imagine what you may have heard or perhaps read over the last few weeks," he said as he addressed the room.
"So, I want you to hear the truth from me, as much as I can share - not as a Prince, or a Duke, but as Harry, the same person that many of you have watched grow up over the last 35 years with a clearer perspective."
Harry then said that the UK is his "home" and a place that he loves.
"I have grown up feeling support from so many of you, and I watched as you welcomed Meghan with open arms as you saw me find love and happiness that I had hoped for all my life."
He then added a sweet quip: "Finally, the second son of Diana got hitched, hurray!"
He continued: "I also know you've come to know me well 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, we were here to serve."
He then explained the heart-breaking reality of what came to be: "For those reasons, it brings me great sadness that it has come to this."
Harry has issued a rare personal statement about his and Meghan's decision to step back. (Getty)
He continued: "The decision I have made for my wife and I to step back is not one I made lightly."
Harry explained tat the decision was made after many months of talks and "years of challenges", adding that he understands he hasn't always got it right, but that there was "no other option".
"What I want to make clear is we're not walking away, and we certainly aren't walking away from you," he said.
Referring to the Palace's official statement yesterday which outlined that in choosing to step down, Harry and Meghan would step back from a number of royal duties, including "official military appointments."
Of this, Harry said: "Our hope was to continue serving the Queen, the Commonwealth and my military associations, but without public funding. Unfortunately, that wasn't possible."
Harry admitted that he had hoped to continue his military associations, but it wasn't possible. (Getty)
Harry continued his speech: "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 to 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."
He said it was an honour to serve the country and the Queen in the way he has, before adding: "When I lost my mum 23 years ago, you took me under your wing."
"You've looked out for me for so long, but the media is a powerful force, and my hope it one day our collective support for each other can be more powerful because this is so much bigger than just us."
WATCH: Prince Harry rocks Archie as Duchess Meghan is interviewed. Story continues...
He said that he and Meghan intended to lead a life of service, and he was thrilled to feel everyone's excitement for his son Archie, adding that the young eight-month-old had seen snow for the first time and "thought it was bloody brilliant!".
He addressed the Queen in his statement saying, "I will always have the utmost respect for my grandmother, my commander in chief, and I am incredibly grateful to her and rest of my family, for the support they have shown Meghan and I over the last few months."
"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."
He finished his emotional statement by saying: "This role has taught me more about what is right and just then I could have ever imagined, we are taking a leap of faith - thank you for giving me the courage to take this next step."

Over the weekend, it was confirmed that Harry and Meghan would step back from their royal duties, and would no longer receive public funds.
"With The Queen's blessing, the Sussexes will continue to maintain their private patronages and associations. While they can no longer formally represent The Queen, the Sussexes have made clear that everything they do will continue to uphold the values of Her Majesty," a statement from the Palace read.
The Palace also confirmed the pair would no longer use HRH titles, and that they would repay the Sovereign Grant expenditure for the renovations they made on their home, Frogmore Cottage in Windsor.

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