Prince Harry speaks out on royal exit: 'I want you to hear the truth from me'

Prince Harry (pictured with Meghan Markle in October) addressed his royal exit during a charity dinner Sunday. (Photo: Toby Melville - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

A day after his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II announced that he and wife Meghan Markle would give up their HRH titles and pay back the millions spent on having their home at Windsor renovated, Prince Harry has addressed the couple’s decision to step back as senior members of the royal family.

Speaking a dinner for the Sentebale charity, which he founded, on Sunday night, the royal reassured supporters of his love for his home country but explained some of the reasoning behind distancing himself from his official duties.

Royal correspondents report that Harry expressed the “utmost respect” for the queen and spoke of the support he’s received from his family. According to ITV’s Chris Ship, he joked about “finally” getting “hitched” to Meghan in 2018, while the Daily Mail’s Rebecca English reports that he referred to the duchess as “the same woman I fell in love with.”

Both correspondents noted that the prince added that “it brings me great sadness that it has come to this” in reference to the royal exit.

In video footage shared by Ship, the younger son of Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana spoke of the controversy surrounding his decision to move his family to North America.

Related Video: Prince Harry, Meghan to Give Up Royal Titles

“I can only imagine what you may have heard or perhaps read over the past few weeks,” he said. “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 add that his decision was “not made lightly,” sharing that he had hoped to stay on as a senior royal without public funding, a proposal that didn’t pan out.

“It was so many months of talks, after so many years of challenges,” he continued. “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 had ever known to take a step forward into what I hope can be a more peaceful life.”

The father to 8-month-old Archie went on to reference the media scrutiny his family has received,” calling it a “powerful force.”

“I was born into this life, and it is 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’ve looked out for me for so long, but the media is a powerful force.”

He added that he and Meghan plan to continue to “lead a life of service,” and said that the couple considered it a “privilege” to receive support from the public.

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