In an emotional speech at Sunday's dinner for supporters of Sentebale in London, the Duke of Sussex broke his silence on his and Meghan Markle's exit from the royal family, attempting to offer clarity to those shocked and saddened by the big news.
Queen Elizabeth II released a statement on Saturday announcing the conclusion of discussions about Harry and Meghan's wishes to step down as senior members of the royal family, become financially independent and spend their time between North America and the U.K. In her message, the queen fully supported Harry and Meghan's decision -- which means they will no longer use their royal titles and repay money they used to refurbish their Frogmore home.
Read Harry's full speech below:
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 watched grow up over the past 35 years, but now with a clearer perspective.
The U.K. is my home and a place that I love. That will never change. I have grown up feeling supported by so many of you, and I watched as you welcomed Meghan with open arms, as you saw the love and happiness that I had hoped for all my life. Finally, the second son of Diana got hitched, hooray!
I also know that 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 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 it doesn't change who I am or how committed I am, but I hope it 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 honor to serve my country and the queen. When I lost my mum 23 years ago, you took me under your wing. You looked after 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'm 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.
"The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are grateful to Her Majesty and the Royal Family for their ongoing support as they embark on the next chapter of their lives. As agreed in this new arrangement, they understand that they are required to step back from Royal duties, including official military appointments. They will no longer receive public funds for Royal duties," the statement read. "With The Queen’s blessing, the Sussexes will continue to maintain their private patronages and associations. While they can no longer formally represent The Queen, the Sussexes have made clear that everything they do will continue to uphold the values of Her Majesty."
"The Sussexes will not use their HRH titles as they are no longer working members of the Royal Family," the palace noted. "The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have shared their wish to repay Sovereign Grant expenditure for the refurbishment of Frogmore Cottage, which will remain their U.K. family home. Buckingham Palace does not comment on the details of security arrangements. There are well established independent processes to determine the need for publicly-funded security."
See more on Meghan and Harry's exit in the video below.