Prince Harry has revealed he and Meghan felt they had no option but to stand down from their royal family duties.
In a speech to supporters of his Sentebale charity at a dinner in London on Sunday evening, he insisted he and Meghan are ‘not walking away’ but felt ‘great sadness’ over the new arrangement.
The Prince admitted he hasn’t ‘always got it right’ in the past but had not taken the decision to step back from public duties lightly.
Over a week of negotiations between the couple and the Queen have led to their stepping back from public duties in exchange for repaying millions in taxpayer funds and limiting how they can use their titles.
But Harry also appeared to claim talks over his and Meghan’s role in the monarchy have been going on for ‘months’.
He said: ‘Before I begin, I must say I can only imagine what you may have heard and perhaps read over the past 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 who many of you have watched grow up over the last 35 years but now with a clearer perspective.’
‘The UK 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 me find the love and happiness that I had hoped for all my life. ‘Finally, the second son of Diana got hitched. Hurray.’
‘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. ‘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.’
His emotional comments came as reports emerged that the couple’s deal with the Queen over their future commercial projects will be subject to an annual review.
Their apparent hopes for a ‘half-in, half-out’ role in the monarchy were dashed last night as Buckingham Palace said they ‘can no longer formally represent’ the Queen after stepping back from public duties.