At a private event for Sentebale this evening, Harry, Duke of Sussex spoke briefly on the recent developments in his life, and the decision to step back from public duties.
The video for Harry’s speech is at the end of the article.
Prince Harry was at The Ivy Chelsea Club, west London, for a dinner for the charity, which he founded back in 2006 in Lesotho. Sentebale helps the AIDS-afflicted communities of the small mountainous kingdom, and the former-Royal holds a special place in his heart for the organisation and its people.
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He made it clear that he wanted to set the record straight with the people involved with Sentebale. Although this was a private event, the Duke’s words were passed to the press by official channels.
“I want you to hear the truth from me,” he said, “as much as I can share. Not as a prince or a Duke – as Harry, the same person that many of you have watched grow up over the last 35 years, but with a clearer perspective.”
Harry, who is expected to join wife Meghan in Canada in the coming day, reassured guests that the UK is his home.
“The UK is my home and a place that I love. That will never change.”
“You welcomed Meghan with open arms,” he explained, adding they knew him well enough to “trust that the woman I chose to be my wife upholds the same values as I do”.
“We both do everything we can to fly the flag and carry out our roles for this country with pride. 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,” Harry said, describing the decision to step back as ‘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 gotten it right, but as far as this goes, there really is no other option.”
“What I want to make clear is we’re not walking away, and we certainly aren’t walking away from you,” the Duke of Sussex said to supporters. “Our hope was to continue serving The Queen, the commonwealth, and my military associations, but without public funding. Unfortunately, that wasn’t possible.”
Yesterday’s announcement told us that Harry and Meghan would be relinquishing their official patronages, but would carry on with some in a private capacity, military appointments, and stop using their HRH status.
Harry said he hoped the plans would help him have a more ‘peaceful’ life. “I’ve accepted this, knowing that it doesn’t change who I am or how committed I am. 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.
“I was born into this life and it is a great honour to serve my country and The Queen. It has been our privilege to serve you, and we will continue to lead a life of service.”
The Duke of Sussex also revealed that his son Archie, saw snow for the first time a few days ago in Canada, thinking it ‘bloody brilliant’.
“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.
“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.
“We are taking a leap of faith – thank you for giving me the courage to take the next step.”
The audience then applauded, before he went on to discuss more about the charity and its recent and future work.
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