Video: Prince Harry Blames Media for Megxit, Says, 'We Aren't Walking Away'
The Duke of Sussex gave a deeply personal speech at a Sunday dinner in London in support of Sentebale, the charity he and Lesotho's Prince Seeiso founded in 2006, a speech in which he spoke explictly about his and his wife Meghan's decision to step down as senior royals.
After thanking everyone for attending the fundraiser "to honor our mother's legacy in supporting those affected by HIV and AIDS," Harry said, "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 last 35 years, but now with a clearer perspective."
He went on to state emphatically, "The UK is my home and a place that I love — that will never change."
"I've grown up feeling supported 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'd hoped for all my life," he said, joking, "Finally, the second son of Diana got hitched... hooray."
Sticking up for Meghan, who has been attacked for her role in their decision, Harry went on to say, "You've come to know me well enough... 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."
He also said firmly, "There really was no other option."
"What I want to make clear is we're not walking away," Harry stressed.
Shedding some light into the behind-the-scenes talks that led to the couple's forfeiting of their HRH titles, Harry said, "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."
He pointed the finger at the media in explaining his discomfort with his role, saying, "When I lost my mom 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 one day our collective support for each other can be more powerful because this is so much bigger than just us."
Check out Harry's entire speech, which was uploaded to the official @sussexroyal Instagram account:
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Queen Elizabeth had recently announced she had come to an agreement with Harry and Meghan regarding their desires, saying in a statement, "Following many months of conversations and more recent discussions, I am pleased that together we have found a constructive and supportive way forward for my grandson and his family. Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family. 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. I want to thank them for all their dedicated work across this country, the Commonwealth and beyond, and am 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."