The Duke of Sussex was at a formal private dinner at the Ivy, in Chelsea, for vulnerable children’s charity Sentebale, where he gave an emotional speech:
“Good evening everyone and thank you very much for being here for Sentebale charity, that myself and Prince Seeiso created all the way back in 2006 to honour our mothers’ 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 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 heard grow up for the last 35 years, but now with a clearer perspective.
Finally, the second son of Diana got hitched… hurray! I also know that you’ve come to know me well enough over these past years to trust that the woman I chose as my wife upholds the same values as I do – and she does. And she is the same woman I fell in love with.
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.
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 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 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 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. 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 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 ever have imagined.
We are taking a leap of faith – so thank you for giving me the courage to take this next step.”