Prince Harry has kicked off his new life after stepping down from his royal role, with an uncharacteristically candid reflection on his marriage to Meghan Markle, saying she ‘is still the woman I married’.
The Duke of Sussex shocked the world on Sunday evening when he addressed the recent Megxit controversy with a detailed speech reflecting on the outcome, fallout and ultimate compromise of the past few weeks.
Within the speech, which revealed the Duke’s dissatisfaction, but ultimate acceptance of the Queen’s decision, he reflected on his relationship with Meghan, staunchly defending his wife who has in large part shouldered the bulk of the criticism around the pair’s shocking step down.
Harry opened up about the change in sentiment towards Meghan since the pair tied the knot in 2018, reflecting on his heartbreak as the initial enthusiasm quickly soured.
"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!” he joked.
“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.”
Harry also shared a bittersweet reflection on their time as royals.
“Once Meghan and I were married, we were excited, we were hopeful, and we were here to serve,” he said.
"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.”
The defence of Meghan’s character echoes comments included in the pair’s statement on their decision to sue The Mail Online in October 2019.
“They (tabloid media) have been able to create lie after lie at her expense simply because she has not been visible while on maternity leave,” Harry said in the statement at the time.
“She is the same woman she was a year ago on our wedding day, just as she is the same woman you’ve seen on this Africa tour.”
Speaking at the event on Sunday evening Harry painted a picture of a couple backed into a corner, insisting their decision was ‘the only option’.
“I know I haven’t always gotten it right, but as far as this goes, there really was no other option,” he said.
Unexpected addition to charity evening
Harry was attending the charity evening for Sentebale in London’s Ivy Chelsea when he made the unexpected speech.
Harry was there to introduce Glaswegian pop star Lewis Capaldi, who he later posed for photographs with.
Sentebale is a charity founded by Harry and Prince Seeiso of Lesotho to help children impacted by the AIDS crisis in Southern Africa.
“Sentebale works with local grassroots organisations to help these children – the victims of extreme poverty and the HIV/AIDS epidemic,” the organisation’s mission statement reads.
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