In his first public remarks since stepping down as a senior member of the British Royal family, Duke of Sussex Prince Harry on Sunday expressed sadness and said he had taken a “leap of faith”, The Guardian reported.
“Our hope was to continue serving the Queen, the Commonwealth, and my military associations without public funding,” Harry said at a private dinner in London for his charity Sentebale. “Unfortunately that wasn’t possible.”
Both Harry and Duchess Meghan Markle, his wife, will not use their “His or Her Royal Highness” titles and will not receive public funds for royal duties. These were part of the settlement that the couple reached with Queen Elizabeth II. The couple, who earlier this month announced their decision to become financially independent, will also no longer formally represent the Queen, and will try to repay £2.4 million taxpayer money used to refurbish Frogmore Cottage, which will remain their family home in the United Kingdom.
At Sunday’s dinner, Harry said he had not taken the decision lightly. There was “no other option”, he added. Harry said he had found the “love and happiness I had hoped for all my life” with Markle, adding that he was speaking “not as a prince, or a duke, but as Harry”.
“I know that you have 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,” he added. “And she does.”
Harry said he had accepted the change “knowing that it doesn’t change who I am or how committed I am”. He added: “But I hope that helps you understand what it had to 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.”
The prince said both he and his wife had done everything they could to play their roles for the country and fly the flag. “For those reasons, it brings me great sadness that it has come to this,” he added.
The prince insinuated that the media glare on his family was responsible for this move, saying the media was “a powerful force”. Last week, Harry and his brother Prince William had jointly condemned media speculation about their relationship as “offensive and potentially harmful”. Though they did not mention which newspaper report they were referring to, it was most probably an article published by The Times. The report claimed that Harry and Markle were unhappy with William’s “bullying” attitude. An unidentified person close to the couple reportedly said William did not welcome Markle sufficiently when she started dating Harry.
Harry and Markle will now split their time between the UK and Canada during the transition period. The prince, who is expected to fly out of the country soon, said the United Kingdom was his home “and a place that I love”.
Harry said he and his wife would continue to “lead a life of service”. He also expressed gratitude to the Queen and the rest of the family for their support. “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,” he added.