Prince Harry opened up about his and wife Meghan Markle’s decision to “step back” from the British royal family while assuring the United Kingdom that they “aren’t walking away” for good.
While delivering remarks at a Sunday dinner in support of Sentebale, a charity he founded with Lesotho’s Prince Seeiso in 2006 that helps children affected by HIV/AIDS, the Duke of Sussex addressed the recent announcement that the couple would be stepping back as senior members of the family.
“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,” he said. “The U.K. is my home and a place that I love. That will never change.”
He continued: “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.”
Harry, 35, went on to say that “it brings me great sadness that it has come to this” after the British people “took me under your wing” following his mother Princess Diana’s death 22 years ago.
“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,” he said. “What I want to make clear is we’re not walking away, and we certainly aren’t walking away from you.”
He added: “I was born into this life, and it is a great honor to serve my country and the Queen. … 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.”
The duke stressed his “utmost respect” for Queen Elizabeth II and thanked the U.K. for giving him “an education about living.”
“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. “We are taking a leap of faith — thank you for giving me the courage to take this next step.”
— kendis (@kendisgibson) January 19, 2020
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex sent shock waves worldwide with their decision to scale back their involvement with the royal family after Markle, 38, reportedly felt that her “soul was being crushed” by royal life and endured a strained relationship with the press.
After hashing out the details of their arrangement with the queen, the couple will split their time between the U.K. and North America. They will also give up their His and Her Royal Highness titles and repay the millions they spent to refurbish their Frogmore Cottage residence.