Prince Harry has made an emotional speech today, saying that the decision to "step back" from his royal duties has brought him "great sadness".

The remarks were delivered at a dinner to support the Sentebale charity, as Harry took aim at the media as a "powerful force" and promised to be the "same man who holds his country dear" as he moves into the next phase of his life.

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He told onlookers he could only imagine what they had heard or read in the media about the situation over the past few weeks.

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"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 past 35 years."

He said the UK was his home and "a place that I love".

"That will never change."

Harry praised his wife Meghan, saying that she "upholds the same values I do" and that the pair "both do everything we can to fly the flag and carry out our roles for this country with pride".

He thanked his audience for "welcoming Meghan with open arms".

"You saw me find the love and happiness that I'd hoped for all my life."

Reflecting on the couple's ambitions, Harry said they were "excited" and "hopeful" to serve the Commonwealth after their marriage.

"For those reasons, it brings me great sadness that it has come to this."

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"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 option.

in his speech, Harry thanked his grandmother the Queen and called her his
in his speech, Harry thanked his grandmother the Queen and called her his "commander in chief." Photo / File

"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 honour 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 live a life of service."

Harry said it had also been a privilege to meet so many of their supporters.

"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," he told a chuckling audience.

Harry went on to say that he still retained the "utmost respect" for his grandmother the Queen, who he dubbed his "commander in chief" and thanked her for the support she has shown Meghan.

"We are taking a leap of faith, so thank you for giving me the courage to take this next step."