Prince Harry delivers brutally honest speech on Megxit
Prince Harry has spoken publicly about his bombshell decision to quit the royal family, telling guests at a charity dinner he wanted to deliver "the truth from me", while pleading for them to trust that "my wife upholds the same values as I do".
In his speech, delivered at the Sentebale fundraiser at The Ivy in London on Sunday night and shared on Twitter via royal reporter Omid Scobie, the Duke of Sussex spoke frankly about the tumultuous period his family was experiencing.
"I can only imagine what you may have heard or perhaps read over the last few weeks," Harry told the crowd.
"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.
"... 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!
“What I want to make clear is we’re not walking away, and we certainly aren’t walking away from you . . . We will continue to lead a life of service, so in that respect, nothing changes.”— Omid Scobie (@scobie) January 19, 2020
Full video via #SussexRoyal: https://t.co/q7tLxLFBpP pic.twitter.com/8WlW083SGv
"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."
Harry went on to admit he was disappointed that what he had hoped to achieve in the royal family with Meghan Markle had ended like this.
"Once Meghan and I were married, we were excited, we were hopeful, and we were here to serve," he explained.
"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 really was no other option."
During the speech, Harry insisted that the couple's decision to quit their roles within the royal family and live as private citizens wasn't them "walking away" from their duties.
"What I want to make clear is we're not walking away... Our hope was to continue serving the Queen, the commonwealth, and my military associations, but without public funding. Unfortunately, this wasn't possible," he explained.
"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 had to 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.
"... We are taking a leap of faith - thank you for giving me the courage to take this next step."
During a lighter moment in his speech, Harry also candidly shared a sweet story about his eight-month-old son, Archie, who he said "saw snow for the first time the other day and thought it was bloody brilliant".
The Duke of Sussex was wearing a grey blazer, black pants and blue suede shoes as he walked into the up-market Chelsea venue on Sunday night with longtime confidante Mark Dyer, who was recently revealed as one of Archie's godparents.
He was at the venue to host an evening for his charity Sentebale, which supports the mental health of children affected by HIV in Lesotho and Botswana.
On Friday, Harry dined with seven friends at Brook House Pub in Fulham, where the group was reportedly "laughing and joking" for around three hours.
A witness told the Daily Mail: "He seemed very happy, relaxed. He seems like he was just a normal guy enjoying a few beers and a meal with his pals."
Harry certainly had every reason to celebrate. On Saturday evening, the details of the Megxit deal were finally revealed by the Queen, clearing the path for his and wife Meghan's new life as largely private citizens.
While the Queen pulled no punches with the hardline deal and denied many of the couple's early requests, they still managed to pull off their historic bid for freedom.
Harry and Meghan will no longer represent the royal family on official duties including military duties and "wish" to repay the AU$4.5 million of taxpayer money they used to refurbish Frogmore Cottage. However the property will remain their home while in the UK.
They will also no longer use their HRH titles or receive any public money.
Announcing the formalities of Megxit in a statement Sunday morning, the Queen said she was "particularly proud of how Meghan has so quickly become one of the family".
"It is my whole family's hope that today's agreement allows them to start building a happy and peaceful new life," the Queen said.
The couple said they would "continue to uphold the values of Her Majesty."
The palace did not comment on the details regarding Harry and Meghan's security arrangements, but said there "are well established independent processes to determine the need for publicly-funded security".