Prince Harry (usage of ‘Harry, Duke of Sussex’ doesn’t start until Spring, right?) attended a dinner for supporters of Sentebale in London tonight, January 19, at which he gave a speech explaining in his own words what has happened over the last couple weeks.
Harry’s speech is half about the exit drama and half about Sentebale, but I’m only going to quote the part about him and Meghan stepping back – you can read the full transcript at T&C.
Good evening, and thank you for being here for Sentebale, a charity me and Prince Seeiso created back in 2006 to honor my mother’s legacy in supporting those affected by HIV and AIDS. Before I begin, I must say that I can only imagine what you may have heard or perhaps read over the last 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 that many of you have watched grow up over the last 35 years—but with a clearer perspective.
The UK is my home and a place that I love. That will never change. I have grown up feeling support 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 had hoped for all my life. Finally, the second son of Diana got hitched, hurray!
I also know 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. 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.
What I want to make clear is 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 to 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.
I was born into this life, and it is a great honor to serve my country and the Queen. 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 just us.
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, and to feel your excitement for our son Archie, who saw snow for the first time the other day and thought it was bloody brilliant!
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.
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. And 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 me the courage to take this next step.T&C
I think this speech (or rather, this part of this speech) is an excellent example of needing people around who question what the royals say. People get so caught up in if the press is lying about the royals that we like, that we take for granted that the royals are telling us the truth. They may not be. It’s important for people to question what the royals tell us, even, and especially, the royals we like.
Because Harry here is claiming that he and Meghan wanted to continue their royal duties minus the public funding because reasons but that ^just^ wasn’t possible, without mentioning that the reason they wanted to remove the public funding is so that they could “earn a professional income”. Their request not to receive public funding wasn’t some benevolent request, it was a selfish one. But Harry didn’t mention that here.
Instead, Harry makes it sound like all he wants is a more private life because “the media is a powerful force” and he wants to “take a step forward into what I hope can be a more peaceful life”. He makes it sound like the negative media coverage is the driving force behind his decision, but if we look at what Harry is saying, that doesn’t add up.
Removing the public funding but still performing royal duties would not have lessoned the media scrutiny. The media, and negative media coverage, would have still been a huge problem for Harry and Meghan because they would have still been out there doing royal duties and representing the crown – removing the royal rota wouldn’t have stopped the mainstream British press from reporting on their activities. So how would not taking public funding have created that “more peaceful life” Harry mentioned? It wouldn’t. Because it’s not just the media that drove Harry to this decision, there are other reasons involved. But Harry doesn’t want you to focus on those, so he didn’t mention them here.
Harry said he “want[ed] you to hear the truth from me”, but conveniently left out the parts of the truth that he didn’t want us to know. If any public figure is left to only reveal the parts of the truth they want the public to know, they leave open so much room for corruption. That’s why the press, and a general questioning attitude, is needed when discussing the royals. And that’s why the “half in, half out” model Harry and Meghan proposed wouldn’t have worked, and why they had to step back from royal duties completely.
Anyway, that’s my hot take on this speech. I hope Harry finds the peace he’s clearly been wanting.
Here is the full video of the speech from SussexRoyal IG.