Last night, Harry attended a dinner for Sentebale, a charity he co-founded in 2006 to continue his mother’s efforts to raise awareness and extend aid to help the well-being of children and young people affected by HIV in Lesotho and Botswana. During the dinner, he delivered a speech, addressing his decision to step back from his royal duties.
It marked the first time he made a public speech after the Queen announced her decision to strip Harry and Meghan of their HRH (His/Her Royal Highness) titles and his military appointments. He said, “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.”
The Duke of Sussex said that he had no other option other than to make the decision to step back after “so many months of talks, after so many years of challenges.” He added, “Our hope was to continue serving the Queen, the Commonwealth, and my military associations, but without public funding. Unfortunately, that wasn’t possible.”
He also mentioned the media being the reason that drove him to make the decision: “When I lost my mum 23 years ago, you took me under your wing. You looked out for me for so long, but the media is a powerful force, and my hope is that one day, our collective support for each other can be more powerful. Because this is so much bigger than just us.”
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Read his transcript below.
“Before I begin, I must say that I can only imagine what you may have heard—or perhaps read—over the past 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 past 35 years, but now with a clearer perspective. The UK is my home and a place that I love. That will never change. I’ve grown up feeling supported by so many of you, and I’ve 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 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. 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 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 come to—that I would step my family back from all I had 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 was a great honor to serve my country and the Queen. When I lost my mum 23 years ago, you took me under your wing. You looked out for me for so long, but the media is a powerful force, and my hope is that one day, our collective support for each other can be more powerful. Because this is so much bigger than just us.
It has been our privilege to serve you, and we will continue to lead a life of service—so in that respect, nothing changes. 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 to 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, so thank you for giving me the courage to take this next step.”
Following the Queen’s decision, which will take effect in Spring, Harry and Meghan will retain their title of Duke and Duchess of Sussex, and Harry will remain a prince, since he was born one.
The couple said they will spend some time in Canada before deciding where to settle down.
Watch the video below.
Images: TPG/Click Photos
When news broke that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, also known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, would step down from being senior members of the British royalty and work towards becoming financially independent, it shocked everyone—including the Queen and Prince William.
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“After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution. We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen. It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment. We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages. This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity. We look forward to sharing the full details of this exciting next step in due course, as we continue to collaborate with Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and all relevant parties. Until then, please accept our deepest thanks for your continued support.” – The Duke and Duchess of Sussex For more information, please visit sussexroyal.com (link in bio) Image © PA
Harry had reportedly been in talks with Prince Charles about their decision, but was told to wait while they had further discussions before making the announcement. Harry went ahead with it, resulting in a royal crisis summit earlier this week.
After the summit, the Queen says the royals “respect and understand” Harry’s decision, and that there will be a transition period in which Harry and Meghan would spend time in Canada, where they are planning to emigrate to, and the UK.
“These are complex matters for my family to resolve, and there is some more work to be done, but I have asked for final decisions to be reached in the coming days.”
A few hours ago, it seems a decision has been reached, as the Royal Communications released a statement from the Queen, which said: “Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,” she said. “I recognise the challenges they have experienced as a result of intense scrutiny over the last two years and support their wish for a more independent life.”
According to BBC, Harry and Meghan will repay the £2.4m ($4.2m) of taxpayers’ money they spent renovating the Frogmore Cottage, which will still be their home in the UK.
Harry will also step down from his military appointments, and the two will stop using the titles HRH (His/Her Royal Highness). However, they have “have made clear that everything they do will continue to uphold the values of Her Majesty.”
The couple made the decision following the scrutiny they have had to endure since they announced their engagement in 2017. They got married in 2018.
In a documentary last year, Harry voiced his concern over the media hounding his wife and Meghan ending up like his mother, Diana.
“Every time I see a camera, every time I hear a click, every time I see a flash, it takes me straight back,” he said, recalling her fatal car crash in which she was trying to get away from the paparazzi.
He continued, “I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces.”
The arrangement will come into effect in spring.
Images: TPG/Click Photos