Prince Harry has broken his silence to share 'the truth' about he and wife Meghan's exit from royal life, revealing he felt "there was no other option" and that their decision was made after "many months of talks" and "after so many years of challenges". He also shared that he felt "a great sadness that it has come to this".
The royal couple dropped a royal bombshell when they announced earlier this month that they would be stepping back from royal duties.
And then on Sunday (NZ time) the Queen, who initially seemed to have been caught by surprise that they'd gone public with their news, followed up with a statement sharing details about the agreement she had reached with the Duke and Duchess about their future as they step back from royal life.
In a moving and heartfelt speech at a private fundraiser at The Ivy Chelsea Garden in aid of his charity Sentebale, Prince Harry, 35, has now opened up himself about why he and Meghan have made the decision they have.
He said, "I can only imagine what you may have heard or perhaps read over the last few weeks... 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 – but with a clearer perspective.
"The UK is my home and a place that I love. That will never change," he continued.
"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 the love and happiness that I had hoped for all my life. Finally, the second son of Diana got hitched, hurray!
"I also know 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.
Prince Harry emphasised that the decision was one that he had made for himself and Meghan, stipulating: "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. 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. 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 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.
"I was born into this life, and it is a great honour to serve my country and the queen. 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 is one day our collective support for each other can be more powerful because this is so much bigger than just us.
He concluded, "It has been our privilege to serve you, and we will continue to lead a life of service. 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!
"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. 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."
In a statement released on Sunday (NZ Time) the Queen released details on the agreement Her Majesty has reached with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex following talks at Sandringham.
Under the new arrangement the couple will step back from all royal duties including official military appointments and will no longer receive public funding for royal duties.
They will no longer formally represent the Queen, but they will maintain their private patronages and associations.
They have promised to repay £2.4million of taxpayers' money spent renovating their home at Frogmore Cottage, in the grounds of Windsor Castle, and given up their HRH titles "as they are no longer working members of the Royal Family".
The couple shared Prince Harry's full speech on their sussexroyal Instagram page.
You can watch it below.
A royal source told The Mirror that the Queen felt an overwhelming sadness over Harry and Meghan's move:
"The overriding feeling among the family is certainly one of immense sadness," the source said.
"Sadness that Harry and Meghan felt they could no longer carry on inside the family and, of course, huge sadness that the family will not get to see Archie grow up as much as they would have.
"He will miss growing up around his grandparents, his aunt, uncle and, of course, his young cousins.
"It is hoped that after a calming period of reflection they will want to spend more time in the UK. This is Harry's home and he will always have the love and support of his family here," the publication was told.
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