In his first public statement since news came out that he and Meghan Markle reached a deal with Queen Elizabeth where they would be stepping back from their royal duties, Prince Harry explained the "great sadness" he has about how everything arriving to where it is now. The couple's growing separation among the royal family has been well documented over the past year.
View this post on Instagram
It reached its pinnacle on Saturday during the announcement and later during his speech at the Ivy Chelsea Garden during a private fundraiser.
"It brings me great sadness that it has come to this," he explained. "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 gotten it right, but as far as this goes, there really was no other option. What I want to make clear is we're not walking away, and we certainly aren't walking away from you."
Amid the separation, he is expected to head to Canada along with Markle and their son, Archie. In his address, he said the two had always "hoped" to serve the royal family but things ended up going differently. He told the crowd that "the U.K. is my home and a place I love. That will never change."
In her statement, Queen Elizabeth spoke in great length about the decision to go away from the royal family, and she explained how she respects their decision to go independent.
"Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family," the statement said. "I recognize the challenges they have experienced as a result of intense scrutiny over the last two years and support their wish for a more independent life."
"I want to thank them for all their dedicated work across this country, the Commonwealth and beyond, and am particularly proud of how Meghan has so quickly become one of the family," the queen wrote. "It is my whole family's hope that today's agreement allows them to start building a happy and peaceful new life."
In his wrap-up to his speech, Harry made sure to thank everyone for their support and let it be known he appreciated serving all of them in his home country. "It has been our privilege to serve you, and we will continue to lead a life of service. It has also been a privilege to meet so many of you," he concluded.
Photo credit: Getty Images