Prince Harry finally addressed the Sussexes’ controversial decision to step back from their senior royal duties. He didn’t get into too much detail, but he made it clear that it was the only way to live a “peaceful life.”
The Duke of Sussex delivered a speech at a dinner for Sentebale, the HIV/AIDS organization he co-founded in 2006, where he thanked the UK citizens who have supported him from his childhood to his marriage to Meghan Markle. He said that he married Markle because she “upholds the same values” as he does and that the decision to step back from their royal duties “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,” said Prince Harry. He also mentioned that “the media is a powerful force,” possibly hinting at how unforgiving British tabloids have been toward Markle.
Many have also speculated that the controversies surrounding Prince Andrew, the Queen’s son and an alleged sex offender because of his connection to Jeffrey Epstein, were a factor. Although the Duke of York “voluntarily” stepped back from his royal duties (reports say his mother allegedly fired him), some are suspicious that the Royal Family is covering up Prince Andrew’s actions.
Now that the Duke and Duchess have decided to step back, this means that they will be financially independent and will no longer hold their HRH titles (as per the Buckingham Palace’s official statement). However, they will still balance their time between the United Kingdom and North America to continue to “honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages.”
Prince Harry concluded his Sentebale speech by promising to uphold his duties and thanking everyone for allowing him to take the next step. “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.”
“Together, you have given me an education about living. [This] role has taught me more about what is right and just than I could have ever imagined. We are taking a leap of faith—thank you for giving the courage to take this next step,” he said.