Merchandise depicting Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, are seen on display in a souvenir shop near Buckingham Palace in London, Britain, January 19, 2020. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s Prince Harry said on Sunday it brought him great sadness that he had to leave his royal duties after agreeing with Queen Elizabeth that he and his wife Meghan would step down from official roles to seek an independent future.
Buckingham Palace and the queen announced on Saturday that Harry and Meghan would not longer use their “royal highness” titles nor receive any public funding as part of a deal to end a crisis the couple sparked by announcing they wanted to reduce their duties and spend more time in North America.
In a speech to the Sentebale charity, a clearly upset Harry said the final outcome was not want he had wanted.
“Our hope was to continue serving the queen, the Commonwealth and my military associations without public funding. Sadly that wasn’t possible,” the prince, the sixth-in-line to the throne, said.
“I’ve accepted this knowing it doesn’t change who I am, or how committed I am. But I hope that helps you understand what it had come to, that I would step back from all I have ever known to take a step forward into what I hope can be a more peaceful life.”
Under the arrangement, Harry will remain a prince and the couple will keep their titles of Duke and Duchess of Sussex as they begin a new life split between North America and Britain, but they will not take part in any future ceremonial events or royal tours.
“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,” Harry said.
“The UK is my home and a place that I love. That will never change.”
He added: “It brings me great sadness that it has come to this.”
Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Guy Faulconbridge