Europe

Prince Harry breaks silence, speaks of 'sadness' over stepping back from royal life

Prince Harry speaks out about his decision to step down as a senior royal. Source: Supplied

The Duke of Sussex has spoken about his great sadness in stepping back from royal life, saying the outcome is not what he had hoped for.

Prince Harry has set the record straight on his bombshell decision to step down as a senior royal, saying there was "no other option".

The Duke of Sussex broke his silence after Buckingham Palace announced the couple would no longer be working members of Britain’s monarchy, no longer use their “Royal Highness” titles and would now pay their own way in life, freeing them to forge new careers.

0:00

At a fundraising event for HIV charity Sentebale on Sunday night he said he wanted people to "hear the truth".

“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 UK is my home and a place that I love. That will never change.” 

"Our hope was to continue serving the Queen, the Commonwealth and my military associations but without public funding. Unfortunately, that wasn’t possible."

The couple will repay just over four and a half million dollars of taxpayer money spent renovating Frogmore Cottage, and will withdraw from their royal duties, including all military appointments.

“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 couple’s decision to step away comes after months of media scrutiny, much of it focussed on his wife Meghan.

“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 I do”

“She’s the same woman I fell in love with,” he said.

Headlines report on the news Prince Harry and his wife Meghan plan to step back as senior royals
UK daily newspapers headlines reporting on the news that Prince Harry and his wife Meghan plan to step back as 'senior' members of the Royal Family.
AFP

“It has been our privilege to serve you and we will continue to lead a life of service, so in that respect, nothing changes.”

Prince Harry is expected to join Meghan and their son Archie on a resort island near the Canadian city of Vancouver this week.

Read the highlights from Prince Harry's speech

Good evening, and thank you for being here for Sentebale, a charity me and Prince Seeiso created back in 2006 to honour my mother's legacy in supporting those affected by HIV and Aids.

Before I begin, I must say that 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 now with a clearer perspective.

The UK is my home and a place that I love. That will never change.

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.

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 got 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 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.

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."

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch