Cape Town – Prince Harry on Sunday night, at an event for his African-based charity Sentebale, broke his silence for the first time since announcing his split from the royal family.
The Duke of Sussex started his speech for the evening with: "I can only imagine what you may have heard or read of 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 you’ve watched growing up over the last 35 years, but now with a clearer perspective."
He added: "The UK is my home and a place that I love. That will never change. I’ve grown up feeling supported from 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’ve hoped for all my life. Finally, the second son of Diana got hitched. Hooray."
Harry continued his speech saying that after his marriage to Meghan they were both hopeful and "here to serve" and added "for those reasons it brings me great sadness that it has come to this".
According to Harry he made the decision for himself and Meghan to step back and it was not one he made lightly.
"There were so many months of talks after so many years of challenges. I know I haven’t always gotten it right, but as far as this goes there really wasn’t any other option. What I want to make clear is we’re not walking away, and we certainly aren’t walking away from you."
Harry expressed that both him and Meghan had hoped to continue serving the queen but without public funding. However, the queen on Saturday announced that both Harry and Meghan would have to step out of their royal roles completely, give up their HRH titles, and Harry his military titles as well.
"I’ve accepted this. Knowing it doesn’t change who I am or how committed I am. But I hope that makes you understand what it had come to. That I would step my family back and 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. When I lost my mom 23 years ago you took me under your wing. You looked out for me for so long. But the media is a powerful force," Harry said.
During his serious speech Harry broke the tension by sharing a story of Archie seeing snow for the first time and called it "bloody brilliant".
The prince then thanked his family: "I will always have the utmost respect for my grandmother — my commander in chief — and I’m 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 ended the personal part of his speech with a deep sigh and said: "We are taking a leap of faith, but thank you for giving me the courage to take this next step."
WATCH THE FULL SPEECH HERE: