Prince Harry Says He Had ‘No Other Option’ Than to Step Down in Candid Speech

Prince Harry took a moment to shed light on his and Meghan Markle’s decision to step back from their roles as senior royals this weekend—not in a formal statement but in an earnest speech that came from the heart.

At a private reception in London for the charity he founded with Prince Seeiso in 2006, Sentebale, the 35-year-old Duke of Sussex set the record straight and explained that he had “no other option.” He offered those who weren’t in attendance the opportunity to listen in by sharing a video of his speech on his @SussexRoyal Instagram account.

Before speaking about the amazing work Sentebale has been doing to help young people affected by HIV and AIDS, Prince Harry addressed the flurry of news that’s surrounded himself and his family over the last several weeks: “I must say that I can only imagine what you may have heard or perhaps read over the last 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 last 35 years—but with a clearer perspective.”

He noted that the United Kingdom will always be his “home and a place that I love” despite the circumstances and expressed gratitude for the support he’s received over the years.

“I have grown up feeling support 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 had hoped for all my life. Finally, the second son of Diana got hitched, hurray!” he joked. “I also know 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.”

Prince Harry went on to detail his and Markle’s courtship, expressing that they hoped to carry on their roles as royals “with pride.” In addition, he said the scrutiny and difficulties they have encountered led them to experience “great sadness.”

He said, ultimately, he was the one who opted to resign from their royal roles: “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 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,” he continued. “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.”

The duke went on to thank the public and Queen Elizabeth for their unending support and to praise his native country. He concluded, “We are taking a leap of faith. Thank you for giving me the courage to take this next step.”

Well said, Harry. Well said.

Lex Goodman

Cat mom, yogi, brunch enthusiast

Lex is an LA native who's deeply obsessed with picnics, Slim Aarons, rosé, Hollywood history and Joan Didion. She joined PureWow in early 2017.
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