A day after Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were stripped off their HRH titles and asked to return UK tax-payers money spent by them, the Duke of Sussex expressed 'great sadness' over his and the duchess' decision to take a 'step back'.
According to the new terms of the agreement, in spite of being recognized as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Harry and Meghan will neither represent the British monarch nor receive any money from the Sovereign grant. The Duke of Sussex will no longer hold his honorary military appointments and forgo his status as a Commonwealth youth ambassador.
The couple has also been asked to repay 2.4 million-pound ($3.1 million) spent on renovating Frogmore Cottage, their official residence, from the UK taxpayers fund.
Harry says they were left with no other option but to 'step back'
Speaking for the first time since the 'megxit saga' sprung upâafter the couple expressed their desire to step down as royals to lead a more private and financially independent lifeâHarry said that they were forced to take the decision after being left with no other option.
"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. 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," said the Duke.
Without public funding it isn't possible to serve the Queen -- Prince Harry
In an emotional speech during a fundraiser in London for Sentebale, a charity founded in 2006 in honor of Harry's late mother Princess Diana offering support to HIV infected young people, Harry spoke about the incident that exposed the fissures in the royal family.
"What I want to make clear is that we're not walking away, and we certainly aren't walking away from you. Our hope was to continue serving the Queen, the commonwealth, and my military associations, but without public funding. Unfortunately, that wasn't possible.
"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 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."
Harry blames media for their decision
Harry who had a fallout with the British media following their coverage of his wife Meghan, said that continuous scrutiny from the media played a major role in their decision.
Addressing the gathering he said: "When I lost my mum 23 years ago, you took me under your wing. You've looked out for me for so long, but the media is a powerful force, and my hope is one day our collective support for each other can be more powerful, because this is so much bigger than us."
Harry gets emotional talking about Meghan
Speaking about his wife, currently in Canada with their son Archie, Harry said that Meghan gave him the love and happiness that he had hoped for all his life. "I also know that you've come to know me well enough over all these years to trust that the woman I chose as my wife upholds the same values as I do. And she does, and she's the same woman I fell in love with. We both do everything we can to fly the flag and carry out our roles for this country with pride.
"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," he added.