Prince Harry expresses 'great sadness', says did not want royal split

“The UK is my home and a place that I love. That will never change": Harry

01:13 PM | 22 Jan, 2020
Prince Harry expresses 'great sadness', says did not want royal split
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LONDON - Britain’s Prince Harry expressed his sadness at being forced to give up his royal duties in a deal with Queen Elizabeth and senior Windsors that will see him and Meghan exit official roles to seek an independent future.

Last week, Buckingham Palace and the queen announced that Harry and Meghan would no longer be working members of Britain’s monarchy, no longer use their “Royal Highness” titles and would now pay their own way in life, freeing them to forge new careers.

In a speech to the Sentebale charity on Sunday, a clearly upset Harry said the final outcome was not what he and Meghan 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 Britain and North America where they will spend the majority of their time. But they will not take part in any future ceremonial events or royal tours.

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Royal commentators said it amounted to an “abdication” from the “firm” — as the royals are known — and showed that, under the warm words in which she said Harry and Meghan were much loved, the queen had taken a firm and decisive line by insisting on a clean break.

“It brings me great sadness that it has come to this,” said Harry. He said the decision to step back had followed months of talks and had not been a decision he had come to light. They were not walking away, he explained.

“As far as this goes, there really was no other option,” he added.

He told the audience at the charity he founded to help children with HIV in Africa that he wanted them to hear the truth from him “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”.

Meghan is currently in Canada with their son Archie and Harry is expected to join her soon. The couple’s plans for independence, announced after a long break over the Christmas period in Canada, caught the rest of the royal family by surprise earlier this month and left the queen and other senior members hurt and disappointed, according to royal sources.

Buckingham Palace has said the couple would no longer receive public money and that they would repay the cost of refurbishing their cottage in Windsor, which official figures show amounted to $3.1 million.

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But certain details, such as their future security arrangements or whether the couple could continue to use the “Sussex Royal” title for their website and branding, have either not been finalised or publicly revealed.

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