Ever since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced they’d be making their departure from the royal family, those following the situation have been waiting to hear from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
While Markle has understandably been avoiding the public over the past week, Harry decided to speak out about why he, his wife and son, Archie, prefer a life more out of the public eye.
During a speech given for supporters of the Sentebale charity in London, the Prince addressed his family’s choice to move to Canada.
“Before I begin, I must say that I can only imagine what you may have heard, or perhaps read, over the past few weeks,” he began. “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 past 35 years, but now with a clearer perspective.”
Harry continued: “The U.K. is my home and a place that I love. That will never change. I have grown up feeling supported by so many of you, and I watched as you welcomed Meghan with open arms, as you saw the love and happiness that I had hoped for all my life. Finally, the second son of Diana got hitched, hooray!”
The prince then stressed that he and Meghan still hold the same values as the royal palace and she’s still the same woman he loves and married. He also recalled the excitement they felt when they met and said he was saddened that the situation surrounding his entire family has had to come to this.
“The decision that I have made for my wife and I to step back is not one I made lightly,” he said. “It was so many months of talks after so many years of challenges. 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, we’re not walking away, and we certainly aren’t walking away from you.”
As far as the public funds that go with being British royalty, Harry says he’s supporting his queen without that money.
“Unfortunately, that wasn’t possible,” he stated. “I’ve accepted this knowing it doesn’t change who I am or how committed I am, but I hope it 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.”
He then reflected on the death of his mother, Princess Diana, who died as a result of a car wreck 23 years ago.
“You looked after 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 just us,” he said. “It has been our privilege to serve you, and we will continue to lead a life of service. So in that respect, nothing changes.”
In conclusion, Harry says he holds “the utmost respect” for his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II and is “incredibly grateful” for the support his family has given him over the past few.
“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 said. “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 ever have imagined. We are taking a leap of faith, so thank you for giving me the courage to take this next step.”
Video of Prince Harry’s speech was posted to the official Instagram page of Harry and Meghan with a caption reading, “Remarks from The Duke of Sussex at tonight’s dinner for supporters of Sentebale in London.”
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced they would be stepping away from the royal family on January 8 and have since agreed to pay back the $3.1 million they used to renovate their home, Frogmore Cottage.
Watch Prince Harry’s remarks about his and Meghan Markle’s departure from the royal family below.