Prince Harry gave his first speech about leaving the royal family at a HIV charity event

Prince Harry speaking into two microphones

Prince Harry addressed his and his wife Meghan’s decision to step back from royal duties at a reception for the HIV charity Sentebale.

The Duke of Sussex said that it brought him and Meghan “great sadness” to stand down from being working members of the royal family.

“The UK is my home and a place that I love. That will never change,” he said at the Sentebale reception.

“Once Meghan and I were married, we were excited, we were hopeful, and we were here to serve.

“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 got it right, but as far as this goes, there really was no other option.”

Prince Harry remains committed to HIV work after royal split.

Prince Harry made his remarks at a private reception for Sentebale, which he set up with Prince Seeiso of Lesotho in 2006 to support the mental health and wellbeing of young people affected by HIV in Lesotho and Botswana.

He told attendees that he wanted to “make it clear” that he and Meghan were “not walking away” from Britain nor from their philanthropic work.

“We certainly aren’t walking away from you,” he said.

“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.”

Prince Harry has followed in the footsteps of his mother, Diana, in fighting the stigma surrounding HIV, and told the Sentebale reception how important this work has been to him.

“Together, you have given me an education about living,” he said.

“And this role has taught me more about what is right and just than I could have ever imagined.”

Prince Harry and Meghan to step back from royal duties.

Prince Harry and Meghan announced on January 8 that they planned to step down from being “senior member” of the royal family following months of unhappiness in the face of negative press attention.

The announcement was followed by crisis talks with the Queen and Prince Charles, with the monarch announcing on January 18 that Harry and Meghan would give up their HRH titles and split their time between North America and the UK.

They plan to undertake commercial projects – with reports suggesting that Meghan has already begun recording voiceovers for Disney – and will continue to serve as patrons for various charities.