Prince Harry
Prince Harry

London: Prince Harry has said he and his wife Meghan Markle had "really no other option" but to step back as senior royals after "many years of challenges", even as he expressed "great sadness" after being stripped of their royal titles.

In his first personal statement on Sunday night after a formal split from the royal family was finalised by Queen Elizabeth II over the weekend, the 35-year-old Duke of Sussex said when he and his American actress wife were married they were "excited" and "hopeful".

He spoke of his "great sadness" at a decision which he said was not taken lightly and that the UK would always be his home even as the couple divide their time between Canada and Britain.

"The decision that I have made for my wife and I to step back, is not one I made lightly," the Prince said in a speech at a dinner event for charity Sentebale, co-founded by him in 2006 to support those affected by HIV in Lesotho and Botswana in southern Africa.

"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. What I want to make clear is we're not walking away, and we certainly aren't walking away from you," he said.

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