On Sunday night, Prince Harry has made his first speech since announcing that he and Meghan will be stepping back from being senior royals.
During a fundraiser dinner for his charity Sentebale, Harry revealed that he and Meghan were standing down with “great sadness”, but there was “no other option”. He didn’t exactly say why the couple decided to step back and split their time between Canada and Britain. However, there was a small detail in his emotional speech that hints that Harry was the one who made the decision, despite all the rumours that Meghan separated him from the family.
“The decision that I have made for my wife and I to step back is not one I made lightly,” the Prince 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. “
According to HELLO!’s Emily Nash, a royal editor: “Much has been made of Meghan’s influence on the decision, but it understandable that Harry would want to protect his wife and son however he can. And I suspect he has been weighing up this move since long before they even met. On a tour of New Zealand five years ago, he told me how his decade of service in the army began as a job, but became ‘an opportunity for me to escape the limelight.’
“And when I asked whether he had ever considered opting out of public life, his response spoke volumes: “One of the reasons I love Africa is because I can be there and mix in amongst communities and people who do not care who I am. Whereas somewhere like here, it simply wouldn’t work.”
Harry’s speech comes just a day after the Queen announced the final decision. The couple will no longer use their HRH titles and will no longer accept public funds. They’ll also pay back the taxpayer money used on Frogmore Cottage renovations. Harry and Meghan will continue with their private patronages but can now pursue work outside of their royal duties.
Prince Harry added that he has the “utmost respect” for his grandmother and that he is “incredibly grateful” to his family for support during this time.
“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 stated.