By now you've likely heard the news that Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, are officially stepping back as senior members of the royal family. And you've likely heard plenty of rumors as to why they made that decision. But now Prince Harry is setting the record straight, calling their decision to step down the only option.
On Sunday he addressed the crowd at a dinner in honor of the Sentebale charity in London. Harry started his speech by stating, "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."
He continued, "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." He added, with a slight chuckle, "Finally, the second son of Diana got hitched, hooray!"
In the speech Harry explained that he and Meghan had the same values, beliefs, and hopes for the future and serving the queen. However, it quickly became apparent to the duo postmarriage that their life in the public eye would soon cause a strain that made it too hard to continue with life as is.
"The decision that I have made for my wife and I to step back is not one I made lightly," he said. "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."
Harry then noted the couple hoped to continue their work serving the monarchy without the assistance of public funds, something the couple has been clear they would like to do in the future. "Unfortunately, that wasn't possible," he said. "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."
He closed his speech by stating he remains committed to his grandmother's work, for whom he has the "utmost respect," and "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," Harry said, "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."
Earlier this month Harry and Meghan shocked the world by announcing their decision via social media.
"After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution. We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen. It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment," the Sussexes penned on Instagram.
The couple also explained their plan to split their time in the future between the U.K. and North America.
At the time, it seemed Buckingham Palace was not aligned with the pair on their decision, prompting the queen to call for an emergency family summit to help determine the logistics behind Harry and Meghan's move. On January 18, Queen Elizabeth released a statement saying they had come to an agreement that while Harry and Meghan could continue to hold their royal titles, they would no longer use HRH nor would they receive any public funding. It was also revealed that Harry and Meghan would, at their own request, pay back the funds used to renovate their U.K. home, Frogmore Cottage, and would pay rent on the residence in the future. Harry will also forfeit the official military appointments he was given as a senior royal.
"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 our family," the queen's statement read.
Originally Appeared on Glamour