Prince Harry has delivered an honest and open speech about his and his wife, Meghan Markle's decision to step back from the royal family and the candid speech revealed some key details about their surprise move.
The Duke of Sussex addressed guests at a reception for his charity, Sentebale, and discussed the couple’s plans moving forward.
Harry’s words came just 24 hours after the Queen released a statement in which she confirmed he and Meghan would no longer be publicly funded or using their HRH titles.
From how the couple's decision has impacted other royals, to how he really feels about the decision to step back, here’s everything we learned from Harry's candid speech.
It was mainly his decision to step back
Following the shock announcement that the couple were choosing to relinquish their roles as senior royals, much of the narrative has involved rumours that Meghan was behind the decision.
Indeed, even the fact that the move was quickly nicknamed ‘Megxit’ suggested blame had been laid at Meghan’s door, but in his speech Harry attempted to set the record straight by claiming it was his choice.
“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 got it right, but as far as this goes, there really was no other option.”
Harry feels sad to be stepping away from royal life
Though his speech revealed it was Harry’s choice for the couple to step down as senior royals, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t feel sad about leaving royal life behind.
“We both do everything we can to fly the flag and carry out our roles for this country with pride,” Harry revealed.
“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.”
No doubt the Duke is looking forward to what he hopes will be a more private and peaceful family life, but it will also bring sadness about moving away from the only life he’s ever known, particularly as he also revealed that the couple were left with “no other option.”
There is some disappointment about their new roles
Both in their original announcement and in the details they released on their new Sussex Royal website, Harry and Meghan said they would be taking up “progressive new roles” within the royal family and hoped to be “financially independent.”
But following the statement that Buckingham Palace released on Saturday revealing the terms surrounding the couple’s move, it became apparent that there was a slight mismatch, which Harry touched on in his speech, hinting he didn’t want to give up his duties and military roles.
“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 suggest he would continue his involvement in projects such as the Invictus Games: “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.”
Over the weekend it was revealed that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle would be losing their “royal highness” titles under a new agreement with the Queen.
They will also give up public funding and pay back the £2.4 million of taxpayer money that funding renovations on their home, Frogmore Cottage.
Harry’s love for his wife is just as strong
There’s no doubt the last few months must have been tricky for the couple to navigate, but in his heartfelt speech Harry issued a sweet nod to his wife and what she means to him.
After saying he appreciated the public’s support since finding the “love and happiness” he’d hoped for all his life and joking that “the second son of Diana had finally got hitched,” he went on to reiterate that Meghan shares the same values as he does.
“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,” he said.
“And she does, and she's the same woman I fell in love with.”
The couple feel supported by other royals
Despite speculation about ‘feuding’ between Harry and his brother Prince William, which the pair have strenuously denied, the Duke made it clear the royal family are supportive of their decision to step back.
“I will always have the utmost respect for my grandmother, my commander in chief, and I am incredibly grateful to her and the rest of my family for the support they have shown Meghan and I over the last few months,” Harry said.
Their relationship with the media is a work in progress
There’s no doubt the couple have a complicated relationship with the press, which seems to have intensified since the birth of their son, Archie last year.
Harry has often referenced the media impact on his late mother, Diana, Princess of Wales’ life and last year he issued an emotional statement statement addressing the treatment of him and his wife by certain media outlets in the British press.
The couple are also in the process of suing The Mail On Sunday for publishing one of Meghan’s private letters to her father, Thomas Markle.
But in his speech yesterday the Duke hinted that he hoped they could eventually find a way to work together.
“You've looked out for 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,” he said.
Archie has hit another first
Let's end on something happy during what must have been a stressful 10 days for Harry, Meghan and the whole royal family.
While most of the Duke of Sussex’s speech focused on the couple’s decision to step back as senior royals, Harry also took the opportunity to reveal some sweet insight about baby Archie's latest milestone.
“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!” he told guests at the event.
Archie had accompanied his parents to Canada for their six-week break from royal duties, where it is believed he experienced his first snow.
In a photo shared to the Sussex Royal account, little Archie can be seen snuggled up in his dad's arms, wearing a cute, hat to keep him warm.